Build your own GPS data logger

The tech geek in our family, Engadget, posted a neat little tutorial over the weekend on how to build your very own GPS data logger. What is it, and why do you care? Well, a GPS (Global Positioning System) data logger is a small device that receives location information via satellite, and records that data as points on the earth at a specific, consistent interval of time. That means you can throw this sucker in your backpack as you travel and it will keep an exact record of where you’ve been. When you get back home, pull the data out of it and put it into an application like Google Earth and you’ve got yourself a fancy map detailing the path you took (just like in the picture to the right).

If you’re cheap and lazy like me, I’ve got some good news and bad news. The good news is you can build this for about $20; the bad news: this isn’t the easiest thing in the world to build. There are words in the tutorial I’ve never even heard of! For example, one step says you have to program the “PIC with the Tiny PIC Bootloader (tinybld16F88_i8MHz _19200.HEX) so that the PIC would run at 8MHz using its internal oscillator.” Yeah, I don’t know either. If you’re adventurous enough, and can speak robot language, give it a shot.

But if you’re just lazy and don’t mind spending the extra money on a pre-built one, has plenty to choose from.