So, I wanted to get a tracking device. As soon as I looked into the market, I realized the prices for one of those things begins at an arm, and goes up to a leg or more! The madness must be stopped! Surely the principles of knowing where something is could be used without paying out the nose for it. After some hair pulling, this idea was born. This took a lot of trial and error before I was able to hammer out what it has become for me today, and for all that, it is just workable enough for my purposes. Therefore, if you can think of a way this concept could be made better, please share! I've built on the shoulders
, and I expect you to do the same. This idea belongs to the people! Information is free! Insert an inspiring slogan here!
The nature of this tracking device is extremely limited and technical, but if you can hack it, this really works -- and that in itself is really exciting. The limitations are at times frustrating:
- The 2-way radios necessitate a linear or nearly linear sight on your tracking device (which in many cases may spoil the whole point anyway).
- You must be closer to the transmitter than the nominal range of your radios.
- The tracker can get bulky (think about it -- you're basically lashing together two electronic devices that were originally meant to work separately).
- This one is the worst limitation: you will need to be able to manually sift through the static garbage that radios usually emit to find the data your GPS is trying to send. If you are a total 1337 h4ck3r, you may be able to write a program that pulls it out automatically and feeds it into Google Earth. (If, incidentally, you do accomplish this, tell me what to do to gain your favor when you take over the world.) Beware! Radio static can get really random, and will even imitate the data you are after, often giving you misleading results.
So far, for all my test runs, this device has about a 60 percent accuracy. Yikes.
To quote, with a slight change, someone who inspired me to think this way: "If you can't modify it, you don't own it!
Building on that, the lesson I have learned and hope to teach others is that something's label should not limit the way we use it.