I'm extremely new to hardware/raspberry pi. I brought a 100$ gps tracking device which does the following -

Once SIM card is inserted into the device,it gets the gps co-ordinates and transferred to a specific ipaddress/server via GPRS.

Is it possible to replicate such functionality with raspberry bi? Or another alternate solution is available? I would like keep the device expense in the range of 100-150$ . Please let me know hardwares which i need to buy.

[there are other gps device i can get for this amount, but problem is vendor lock-in or no warranty]

3 Answers 3


Sounds possible: get a GPS receiver and some network connection, add software to read the position and send it over the network. For the GPS receiver, USB devices are available. Both full GPS devices with a screen and a USB connection, and USB dongles with only the USB port. There are also GPS modules, which can be connected to a serial port - in this case to the GPIO pins on the Pi. Perhaps some shield designed for the Arduino would serve.

The network connection could be a USB WiFi stick or a USB GSM modem, both have been successfully used with the Pi. You might need a powered USB hub, at least the early Pis can not supply enough power through the USB connection for a GSM modem.


You can use a USB GRPS/EDGE/3G/4G modem like this one. Most of them have Linux specific drivers and easy to setup. ( You can easily get on on eBay auctions for under £10 but they are usually locked to a network )

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You can also search for GPRS Modems, there are a variety out there, some use Serial comands, others USB, etc.

GPRS would work wherever there is at least 2 bars (30%) signal and uses very little power compared to Edge or 3G. If you go below 2 bars you can always dial in using V.90 @ 56k - You can also set to use GPRS only on 3G modems. So if the lot need to work of a battery you can try and optimize everything for efficiency. GPRS is more than enough to transmit GPS coordinates without problem. I would recommend sending it JSON Encoded as that compresses well and is already optimized for quick web data transmitting.

All this cone be easily done with the Pi. Integrating it all together and choosing how you going to get the code to work without crashing is more challenging.


I think a Raspberry Pi would be a bit too much for this task (regarding computing power), you could start with an Arduino Uno (~ 20€/27$), there are combined GSM/GPRS shields which can be directly attached on top.


It's a very compact setup (you only need batteries as a power supply) and once programmed, you can even replace the Arduino with a cheaper standalone microcontroller.

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