Top 5 Arduino GPS logger shields

You know when you download Google Earth and, out of the thousands of streets you can go to from the comfort of your chair, you choose to check out your home. Now you could do that automatically, just connect your GPS shield to your Arduino and, point it to the sky. Your home coordinates will appear on your computer, plug that into Google Earth and there it is your home. That’s what you could do with nothing but a GPS Arduino shield, imagine owning an Arduino GPS logger shield.

Using that bad boy you could take your Arduino GPS logger for a walk, plug the data into Google Earth and see your exact route. You could check out this amazing project here.

First, what is an Arduino GPS logger? Well, the Arduino GPS logger shield is basically a 2 in 1 shield. It has the GPS shield with an SD card slot to log the GPS data onto, combining those 2 functions in 1 shield, gives us the mighty Arduino GPS logger.

Today we’re bringing you the top 5 Arduino GPS logger shields and comparing them in terms of price and functionality.

1- SparkFun Arduino GPS logger ($44.95)

This is the first Arduino GPS logger we have for today, it’s an amazing shield. It might require some soldering to stack it on top of the Arduino. It features a GPS module with very high sensitivity, as well as an SD card slot and a battery socket. The battery socket is used to operate the RTC on the GPS module.

This shield could communicate with Arduino using the UART pins (pins 0 and 1 on the Arduino) or any other two pins and the SoftwareSerial library. You could switch between these two modes using a tiny switch on the shield.

One important aspect to consider when dealing with a shield that could use both SoftwareSerial and the Arduino’s UART is the UART switch.  It should always be on the SoftwareSerial side when uploading the sketch to ensure that the sketch is uploaded correctly. You can then move the switch back to the HW-UART side after uploading the code. This applies to every shield that could use both SW-UART and HW-UART.

For accurate readings, you have to place the GPS module outdoors with a clear view of the sky.

This is inconvenient if you want your project to fit inside a box, which is a shortcoming in this shield.

Make sure to check SparkFun’s hook up guide here, to get all your projects up and running in no time.

2- Adafruit Ultimate Arduino GPS Logger Shield ($44.95)

This is one of the most amazing shields in this guide. I personally think that the guys at Adafruit call it the ultimate shield for a reason. It is sold at the same price as SparkFun’s shield. It uses a GPS module that has the same sensitivity and almost the same power consumption, pretty similar right? Absolutely not, the Ultimate GPS logger has much more to offer.

First of all, it comes with a coin battery included. This is pretty convenient given that it’s sold at the same price of SparkFun’s shield which comes without the battery. Second, it has a uFL/SMA connector, which is not rocket science by the way. This is a connector next to the GPS module that allows you to connect an external antenna. Thus allowing you to put your project in a box and making it portable, unlike SparkFun’s shield. This antenna is not included with the shield of course but could be a great addition to an advanced project.

Check out this amazing project from Adafruit to track your treats on the Halloween.

3- 1Sheeld Arduino GPS Logger ($54.94)

 

Enter 1Sheeld the Lord of all Arduino Shields. 1Sheeld really packs a punch. At almost the same price of SparkFun and Adafruit, you get more than 45 shields at once. As I mentioned before the GPS logger is a combination of 2 shields. The Arduino GPS shield and the data logger shield.

To use the Arduino GPS logger, simply choose the GPS shield and the data logger shield from the shields list. Moreover, you log the data onto the Smartphone’s memory directly so you don’t need to buy an extra SD card.

1Sheeld’s slogan is “1 Line of Code”. We’ve really lived up to this slogan with one of the easiest libraries to use. These libraries make dealing with such complex shields like the GPS and the data logger as easy as pie.

And don’t forget to check the Arduino GPS Logger Shield functions Explainer.

4- TinySine Arduino GPS Logger Shield V2 ($34.50)

At this low price, this shield looks like a bargain, but that’s not it. This shield combines this low price with the amazing external antenna feature of the Adafruit shield and goes even beyond.

This shield does not require a battery for the GPS module. It uses a capacitor for the RTC of the GPS instead. It also uses the same GPS module as SparkFun’s shield, which shows how much of a bargain this shield is.

Moreover, this shield uses the same library as the Adafruit shield, check out the library and the shield here. There aren’t many reviews when it comes to this shield neither on the company’s website nor on eBay, but at this price, I’m willing to give it a try.

 

5- SparkFun Mini GPS Shield ($12.95)

So here we are, back to where it all started, SparkFun, our last shield for today. This shield is completely different from the all the other shields in this guide. As a matter of fact, it’s not even compatible with Arduino UNO. It is only compatible with the Arduino Mini board, hence the name. Wait a second, is that shield really for 12.95$? The short answer is no.

 

The long answer is that this shield is sold without the GPS module to remain “Mini” as the name suggests. However, it has a set of pins that you can connect to a GPS module via a connector.  The GPS module supported by this shield is different from the others. It has almost the same sensitivity and more power consumption. On the other hand, it has a much higher update rate 10 times more than any other module. Thus, it could handle much faster applications a quadcopter, for example.

The GPS module is sold for 39.95$ add to that the cost of the SD card making this shield the most expensive on this list.

Check out the hookup guide for this shield here and below is a video giving you a quick start on this tiny yet mighty shield

That’s all the Arduino GPS logger shields we have for today and if you have other shields in your mind, please share them with me down in the comments.

Disclaimer| 1Sheeld’s GPS Shield is one of 1Sheeld’s +45 virtual shields.




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