Weekly Project: Noggin Logger--A Wearable GPS Data Logger

Picture of Weekly Project: Noggin Logger--A Wearable GPS Data Logger

Where have you been? And, where did you go today? While words can aptly describe your daily activities, a picture can communicate around a thousand words, or something like that. Better yet, take that picture and wrap it around a fistful of GPS data and now you're really talking.

The GPS Logger V1.1 kit from Spark Fun Electronics (#GPS-00671) is a complete plug-n-go solution for logging every step you take during a day, a week, or, even almost, a month (in KML logging mode). Just pop in some batteries, flick the teensy switch, and within a couple of minutes you'll know exactly where you're standing when you flicked that teensy switch.

Based on the Lassen iQ GPS module by Trimble, roughly every second is recorded with the Spark Fun Electronics GPS Logger V1.1. You can select between The National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) data or Keyhole Markup Language (KML) data. The latter has been uniquely massaged for assimilation directly into Google Earth coordinates format.

If you're a data miser, though, you'll probably opt for logging the NMEA data. As such, your GPS plate will be full; very, very full of data. Specifically, there are two lines of GPS data recorded every second with the GPS Logger V1.1:




  • $GPGGA-Global Positioning System Fix Data
  • 220536.00-Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
  • 3024.9664,N-Latitude
  • 08849.1198,W-Longitude
  • 1-GPS Fix
  • 04-number of satellites being tracked
  • 3.70-horizontal dilution of position
  • 00023,M-altitude above mean sea level in meters
  • 026,M-altitude of mean sea level in meters
  • *52-checksum
  • $GPVTG-velocity/track made good
  • 236.3,T-heading in degrees
  • 235.2,M-magnetic heading in degrees
  • 000,0,N-ground speed in knots
  • 000.0,K-ground speed in kilometers per hour
  • *21-checksum

Armed with your prodigious pile of GPS data, you can view your whereabouts inside Google Earth. But getting the raw data into a brag-worthy picture could take longer than the trip you just logged. Some deft fingered text manipulation with an industrial-strength text editor (e.g., BBEdit) and Microsoft Word can convert your NMEA data into useable KML coordinates in a matter of minutes.

So where can you carry this fancy GPS logger? Well, use your head, man; literally. The GPS Logger V1.1 will easily fit inside the top peak of a baseball cap. Just route the embedded antenna out through one of the cap's ventilation holes and you'll be loggin' in no time.

Ja, das ist der Noggin Logger.

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cgrrty1 year ago
Good job ,and i think smartphone has gps can do that too.
mrmodest4 years ago
USM... im in the CET department
um is there a "for dummies" version of this?
kh3194 years ago
Nice to see some fellow south Mississipians
Warholm5 years ago
How were you travling for the trip shown?
Light aircraft? ballon?

Or is the path just not visible on Goole earth...
And what about when you get to the sea ???

Warholm Warholm5 years ago
OK on closer inspection
the actual route end points are offset from the stated endpoints :-( 

chris.brent6 years ago
#GPS-00671 Doesn't seem to exist at sparkfun anymore. Did they replace it, I can't see anything similar?
royalestel7 years ago
Now how can we make one of these out of an old cellphone? . . . . . . . . still thinking . . . .
I was under the impression that most cell phones have to communicate with the network to get GPS readout (something to do with outsourcing the computations and increased accuracy with cell tower triangulation) so I don't think old cell phones are the way to go. I want someone to come up with a gps device that is the size of my thumb, has orientation sensors and a timelapse camera. Now that would be interesting to put in your hat. Wouldn't that be the ultimate webcam blog. Might be a little dull most of the time though. Handy for writing your memoirs.
Look up the bike-cam. It's built out of a newer nokia phone that has GPS already built in, and is pretty much just a java applet, but it essentially automatically uploads pictures to flicker with the GPS data. they they wrote a custom applet for google maps that shows your pictures in relation to the location on the map... pretty awesome but expensive stuff...
Advocat7 years ago
Can I use an old gps reciever from ebay?
jongscx Advocat6 years ago
you COULD... but you'd have to find a way to harvest the NIMAE data, translate it into some format, store said format onto a storage medium, and have it do that per set time interval... If you didn't know the above already... it's cheaper to buy the kit...
ongissim7 years ago
You should waterproof the cap, just in case you get stuck in the rain! ;-)
ironsmiter7 years ago
Nice... expensive, but nice :-) Now, you need to make a google sketchup avatar, and place it in your favorite "permanent location" say, standing outside the instructables webhost building? Just tell google maps that you're an outbuilding :-)