I'd like to build a simple GPS system. It should be very little. For the software side, I will build an API, so from my PC/smartphone/whatever else I could ask the GPS system where it is located (I think Google provides this kind of feature).

How can I do this? My main problem is the GPS and the its building. I'd like to build the smallest thing possible, because I have to hide it. My idea is to hide this GPS system in my bike: I'd like to locate my bike if someone stole it. As you can see, internet is a problem.

I'm not asking to design anything. I would only know what I need to build a basic GPS system that has just the feature described. What do I need? Is it possible to do it? Does GPS require Internet connection? I would know if I could make it or not without internet access.

  • I reopened this and cleared out the comments. FYI just be as clear as you can next time :) Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 13:35
  • "I'd like to build the smallest thing possible, because I have to hide it." ... check out dx.com or similar sources for e.g. "GSM/GPRS/GPS Tracker". I bet building something like this yourself will cost much more and will end in a much bigger size.
    – gone
    Commented Sep 7, 2014 at 14:54

1 Answer 1


"Is it possible to do it?"

Well... everything is possible :-)

"Does GPS require Internet connection?"

GPS doesn't require internet. A GPS receiver (e.g. http://www.modulestek.com/prodts/GPS/Mars740-mini/Mars740-mini_SPEC.pdf) is connected to the reading unit via USB or a RS232 interface. The protocol is very simple. However it only provides latitude and longitude. If you want to have an address, map data is required (for this you would need internet - or a large memory).

And of course such a system requires good signals from the GPS satellites.

"What do I need?"

First you need a GPS receiver (see above).

Second, you need a microcontroller unit which runs your application and does all the control of the external units.

Third, you need a GSM module (e.g. http://www.exp-tech.de/Shields/Wireless/GSM-GPRS/adafruit-fona-mini-cellular-gsm-breakout-sma.html) to send a message. Don't forget the antenna for connection to the mobile communication network.

Fourth, you need a power supply. Ideally it has a battery which can be reloaded when driving.

As you may see, if you put all this together you are far from the "smallest thing possible".

Actually any modern smartphone could be enough. Mount it "invisible" under your saddle, connect it to a bike charger, find the proper App and that's it - although it might not be the smallest solution.

I don't know any, but I'm sure there are products off the shelf that fulfil your requirements, designed and developed by experienced engineers, and thus smaller and maybe cheaper than what you ever could achieve on your own.

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