Location Tracker With NodeMCU ESP8266

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Are you curious about how your NodeMCU can track your location? It's possible, even without a GPS module and without display. The output will be coordinates where you are located and you will see them in your serial monitor.

The following setup was used for NodeMCU 1.0 (ESP-12E Module) with Arduino IDE.

  • Windows 10
  • Arduino IDE v. 1.8.4

Step 1: What Do You Need

What you need in order to follow this tutorial are the following components:

  • Micro USB cable
  • NodeMCU ESP8266

Furthermore, you will need:

  • LocationAPI (from Unwired Labs)
  • Acces to wifi or a hotspot

Step 2: Go to Unwired Labs

Geolocation comes in very handy because when your GPS is down, you can still use Geolocation to track your location. Our host that provides geolocation, will be https://www.unwiredlabs.com/. Go to that website and sign up (the orange button in the upper right corner).

Step 3: Sign Up to Get API Token

On the sign up page, you have to fill in your name, email (your API token will be send to your email) and use case (for example, personal use). Select your account type. The free version will do just fine, but keep in mind that you're limited and can't track your location 24/7. Let's get started!

Step 4: Check Your Email

Go to your email and you will see your API token. Copy the API token, because you need that for the code we will be using. This is how the email looks like:

Hello!

Thanks for signing up with Unwired Labs LocationAPI! Your API token is 'your API code is here' (without quotes). This will give 100 requests/ day for free - forever.

If you'd like to track 5 devices for free, please respond with the following details and we'll upgrade your account within 12 hours:

1. Deployment type (Hardware/ App/ Other):

2. About your project:

3. Website:

You can login to your dashboard here: https://unwiredlabs.com/dashboard. If you run into trouble or have questions, reply to this email and I'll help you out!

Happy Locating!

Sagar

Unwired Labs

Step 5: Libraries You Will Need

The next step is to open Arduino and go to manage libraries. You need to install the ArduinoJson library. The other libraries are already built in. When you're ready, you can start writing the code.

Step 6: Add Code in Arduino to Connect With LocationAPI

Make a new sketch and add the following code in Arduino. Write your own wifi/hotspot name and your password. Paste the API token you received in the email. Upload your code to your NodeMCU.

#include <ESP8266HTTPClient.h>

#include <ArduinoJson.h>

#include "ESP8266WiFi.h"

// your network SSID (name) & network password char myssid[] = "Your wifi/hotspot name"; char mypass[] = "Your password";

// unwiredlabs Hostname & Geolocation Endpoint url const char* Host = "www.unwiredlabs.com"; String endpoint = "/v2/process.php";

// UnwiredLabs API_Token. Signup here to get a free token https://unwiredlabs.com/trial String token = "d99cccda52ec0b";

String jsonString = "{\n";

// Variables to store unwiredlabs response double latitude = 0.0; double longitude = 0.0; double accuracy = 0.0;

void setup(){ Serial.begin(115200);

// Set WiFi to station mode and disconnect from an AP if it was previously connected WiFi.mode(WIFI_STA); WiFi.disconnect(); Serial.println("Setup done");

// We start by connecting to a WiFi network Serial.print("Connecting to "); Serial.println(myssid); WiFi.begin(myssid, mypass);

while (WiFi.status() != WL_CONNECTED) { delay(500); Serial.print("."); } Serial.println("."); }

void loop() { char bssid[6]; DynamicJsonBuffer jsonBuffer;

// WiFi.scanNetworks will return the number of networks found int n = WiFi.scanNetworks(); Serial.println("scan done");

if (n == 0 ) { Serial.println("No networks available"); } else { Serial.print(n); Serial.println(" networks found"); }

// now build the jsonString... jsonString = "{\n"; jsonString += "\"token\" : \""; jsonString += token; jsonString += "\",\n"; jsonString += "\"id\" : \"saikirandevice01\",\n"; jsonString += "\"wifi\": [\n"; for (int j = 0; j < n; ++j) { jsonString += "{\n"; jsonString += "\"bssid\" : \""; jsonString += (WiFi.BSSIDstr(j)); jsonString += "\",\n"; jsonString += "\"signal\": "; jsonString += WiFi.RSSI(j); jsonString += "\n"; if (j < n - 1) { jsonString += "},\n"; } else { jsonString += "}\n"; } } jsonString += ("]\n"); jsonString += ("}\n"); Serial.println(jsonString);

WiFiClientSecure client;

//Connect to the client and make the api call Serial.println("Requesting URL: https://" + (String)Host + endpoint); if (client.connect(Host, 443)) { Serial.println("Connected"); client.println("POST " + endpoint + " HTTP/1.1"); client.println("Host: " + (String)Host); client.println("Connection: close"); client.println("Content-Type: application/json"); client.println("User-Agent: Arduino/1.0"); client.print("Content-Length: "); client.println(jsonString.length()); client.println(); client.print(jsonString); delay(500); }

//Read and parse all the lines of the reply from server while (client.available()) { String line = client.readStringUntil('\r'); JsonObject& root = jsonBuffer.parseObject(line); if (root.success()) { latitude = root["lat"]; longitude = root["lon"]; accuracy = root["accuracy"];

Serial.println(); Serial.print("Latitude = "); Serial.println(latitude, 6); Serial.print("Longitude = "); Serial.println(longitude, 6); Serial.print("Accuracy = "); Serial.println(accuracy); } }

Serial.println("closing connection"); Serial.println(); client.stop();

delay(5000); }

Step 7: Open the Serial Monitor to See If You're Connected

Go to tools in Arduino and open the serial monitor. To see if you're connected to the internet, you should see the following in the serial monitor:

Setup done
Connecting to (your wifi name)
...
scan done

Step 8: Get the Coordinates

If it worked succesfully, you should see under scan done a whole list of data. The only thing we need is the code under the requesting URL, so we will need the latitude and the longitude. These are the coordinates.

Requesting URL: https://www.unwiredlabs.com/v2/process.php

Connected

Latitude = 52.385259

Longitude = 5.196099

Accuracy = 41.00

closing connection

After 5 seconds the code will constantly update and you will probably see the latitude, longitude and accuracy change. That's because the API is trying it's best to track the location as precisely as possible.

Step 9: Go to Google Maps

Go to https://www.google.com/maps/ and type your coordinates in the search bar. The coordinates need to be written in the following way: 52.385259,5.196099. Google Maps should show where you're located on the map.

Step 10: Send Location to Your Mobile

And... You're done! Therefore, if you want to send the location to your mobile, it's possible. Google Maps will then send an email with your coordinates if you want to.

Happy locating!

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    6 Discussions

    1
    None
    SteenL

    21 days ago

    Well done! On my ESP12F I had to increase delay after connection from 500ms to 800ms to get proper client response to parse.

    3 replies
    0
    None
    PCSnelSteenL

    Reply 20 days ago

    Thank you! Ah, that’s possible. Did you manage to make it succeed?

    0
    None
    SteenLPCSnel

    Reply 20 days ago

    Yes, it succeeded. Not sure where the latency increase was. Also if there is any question on the json string being passed to unwiredlabs.com, there is a nice checker at unwiredlabs.com to make sure the syntax is correct.

    0
    None
    PCSnelSteenL

    Reply 19 days ago

    I’m glad it succeeded. Aha, thanks for the tip!

    0
    None
    PCSnelsagar-unwired

    Reply 20 days ago

    Thank you so much! Are you the one responsible for the API? In case you are, thank you so much for the API. I used it for this and my project (with all the credits to you) and I passed my project! :)