Arduino GPS Shield Functions Explainer

Today I’ll be explaining the functions of the Arduino GPS shield in 1Sheeld and how to use it to get longitude and latitude locations.

The Arduino GPS shield in 1Sheeld allows you to use your smartphone as a GPS receiver to be able to track your Arduino project wherever it is, using the GPS sensor on your smartphone.

If it’s the first time to hear of 1Sheeld board or didn’t use it before then it will be nice of you to check 1Sheeld’s getting started tutorial and then get back here.

First, it is important to understand how the GPS sensor works. GPS stands for Global Positioning System, and a GPS system is a receiver with an antenna that uses a network of 24 satellites covering Earth’s orbit. They provide position, timing and velocity information. Based on that, you can determine a single point of intersection between the longitude and latitude lines.

                                                                     BBC illustration of longitude and latitude lines

Now that we know how a GPS sensor works, let’s use the Arduino GPS shield by downloading 1Sheeld library, to access its functions.

1Sheeld Arduino GPS shield functions

  • getLatitude
  • getLongitude
  • isInRange
  • getDistance
  • radian
  • setOnValueChange

The first 2 functions: getLatitude and getLongitude

These are the 2 main functions of the Arduino GPS shield, they get the latitude and longitude data f the smartphone, so you are able to get its location.

From the description of the functions, you realize it has no parameters and 1 return value which is the latitude and the longitude. The values are returned as a float.

The syntax for these functions are:



A good use of these functions is the GPS car tracking device project by Mohammed Selim, where he put an Arduino, a 1Sheeld and a smartphone inside his car. The Arduino GPS shield in 1Sheeld gets the longitude and latitude of the car and the Arduino sends him an SMS containing the coordinates of the car.

isInRange function

Assume that you are building a project to know if your car is stolen or not. So, you put an Arduino GPS system in your car, you set a specific coordinates ranging 20 meters away from home, and you want to know if your car gets out of this range or not.

This is exactly what the isInRange function does. Form the description, you get to know that you need to feed this function the following parameters:

  • A certain latitude
  • A certain longitude
  • The maximum range of meters you would specify

The return would be a yes or no, which means a boolean return.

The syntax for this function is:


Example of this function:


This function returns a distance between a given latitude and longitude, and the smartphone in your Arduino GPS project. The distance is returned in the form of a float representing the distance in meters.

To do that, you have to send 2 parameters which are the latitude and the longitude of the specific location you want to measure the distance between it and the Arduino GPS project.The syntax for this function is:

float GPS.getDistance(fixedLatitude,fixedLongitude);


This is a helper function that converts the value of a GPS latitude or longitude reading from degree to radian. The default values from the Arduino GPS s come in a degrees format, but in some calculations, you’ll need to use the value in radian.

The function takes a float parameter in degrees and returns a float parameter in radians.

The syntax for this function is:


Finally, the setOnValueChange function

This is a default function in all 1Sheeld Arduino shields, it indicates a change in any of the values of a certain sensor shield, which in this case: The Arduino GPS shield.

This function triggers a function written by the user to run once there is a change in the latitude or longitude value.The syntax for this function is:


An example of this function is:

At the end, I hope I have covered all the Arduino GPS Shield functions very clearly and if you have any queries please share them with me down in the comments.
And of course, don’t forget to check out lots of Arduino Projects made using 1Sheeld especially, that many of them have used the Arduino GPS shield.

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