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GPS Receiver No Cell Network Tracking Service Needed ? Answered

Is it possible to buy a GPS Receiver that can transmit its coordinates directly to a smart phone with special software without using a Cell Network service ? No data logging is needed. No SIM Card since not using Cell Network.




I'm way out of date to help with the answers you were asking for, but it may be of some use to others at another time..

I hope I've understood your ultimate objective correctly, I was wanting something similar a few years ago & although GPS proved to be the best choice, I had the problem of powering it & retrieving it after the task was completed..not to mention the possibility of losing it..

I wanted to place some form of locator on various items ranging from, power tools, to the family pet, so looked at several 'people' type trackers, but each seemed a bit heavy & all needed recharging at various times..

I finally struck upon the idea of using a simple RFID tag & despite its short range, it helped me get out of a short term jam & showed me a new direction to start looking & thinking..

Hope you were able to resolve your problem & find what you needed..

We certainly live in a wonderful time, new toys are being created every day, so if you can't find what you need today, wait a few days & it'll appear..


You can try a SPOT gps module -- built into the cost is the ability to access the device remotely to track it - it can ping back its location to email and sms clients.

Otherwise - as others say, there is no magic box that transmits itself without a network, nor is there a cel phone app that can track an object that doesn't tell the phone where it is...via a network.

Thanks frollard.

But what about traditional transmitter/receiver applications like kid using a remote control to communicate with the toy car ? Even though the car is not transmitting its location like a GPS Receiver does it still is able to communicate with the remote without using a cell network ? I don't know if this example makes any sense.


Yes a device can transmit it's GPS cords over a radio signal like a remote control car uses but your still limited in range like you are using Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. If your looking to be kilometers or miles away from the thing being tracked you won't be able to use a conventional radio to transmit the info. At least not without a special licence to operate such a powerful transmitter. Which would also add considerable size to the GPS module.

Thanks mpilchfamily for your helpful reply. Yes the distance would be under 1000m and more likely in the range of 500m or less. Can you suggest how such a tiny receiver would be powered by ? Can it operate using Waste RF Energy ? How much power would such a simple GPS Receiver/Transmitter use to operate ? Would it be 10mW or less possibly or would it be a lot more ?


You would need to power the device with a battery of some sort which would need to be replaced often. How much power is needed will depend on the GPS and transmitter used. The further the transmitter has to transmit the signal the more power it uses.

For 500m a WiFi transmitter could be a good option.

If your looking for a device like you see in movies that's only the size of a small flip phone that can track from 500 meters away and last for more than a few hours your out of luck. While the technology can be made that small or smaller powering it is always an issue.

Thanks again for the reply. Makes sense. But as far as the actual GPS Receiver/Transmitter goes how tiny can it be made ? Can it be smaller then the U-Blox AMY 5M ?

No. The Amy 5M is the smallest GPS receiver made. But it still needs supporting hardware to make use of the data it receives. So you would need something like an ATTiny to utilize that data, battery to power it all and whatever transmitter you end up using. With time, money, and the right engineers working it and a manufacture to produce it you could get it the size of an Altoids tin. Like most GPS data logging devices on the market.

You seem like you want movie grade spy gear here. Is that what your going for? Do you intend to track people without there knowledge? ;)

Yes this application is being targeting spy shops and what not.

It works in a range of about 20-50 feet, and is a one way transmission, from controller to the toy.

Because the antenna is omni-directional, the toy can't differentiate where the controller is, and the controller certainly can't tell where the toy is.

Thanks again frollard. That makes good sense and thanks for the information. Sorry for the delay in responding everyone.

Only if the device and the phone are within Bluetooth or wifi range.

Smart phobes *are* cell phones - they cannot communicate over mord than a few metres without connecting to the cell network.

Thank Kiteman.

Could you comment a little more how that technology will work ? The device I gather is the GPS Tracker correct ? So if they are within Bluetooth range the device can be tracked without using the cell network yes ? So does this mean that the device and the smart phone could possibly use the bluetooth protocol to communicate ? I don't see why this cannot be done since there are many transmitter/receive applications that exist today that do not use the cell network correct ?


Correct, they would use the bluetooth protocol to communicate, but bluetooth is short range, effectively only useful within the same room.

If you want the devicd and phone to communicate over more than a few metres, then bluetooth won't work.

Why do you want to avoid the cell network? Is it just the cost of using a sim?

Sorry for my late reply. Due to health reasons I was not able to participate with this discussion. The reason why I had stated no cell network is to reduce the size of the GPS Transmitter/Receiver.

Hope the above makes sense.

Thanks for your reply.

Yes there are GPS modules you can get that are for adding GPS capability to a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled device such as a smart phone.

I suspect your not wanting to add GPS functionality to a device. I suspect you want to actually track things from a distance correct? If that is the case those typically use a satellite or cell network to transmit it's location then you can look up that info from a web page.

Other options include USB trackers that will log where they have been and you can retrieve the device and data at a later date.

Yes you are correct I do not wish add GPS functionality to a device. Yes I would like to know if it is possible to track an object whether a car or person or pet from a distance.


Yes it's doable but if you want real time or near real time positioning of that object the GPS tracker needs to transmit to a network of some sort that can relay the data back to the device of your choice. Otherwise you are limited to the short range of whatever transmitter and receiver combo you use.

I think the best you could do is get a GpS module that connects to a micro controller. Buy a set of 5 mile range 2 way radios and connect one to the controller so the controller can transmit the GPS data over the radio. Then you will need another micro controller tied to the other radio and a means to display the information. Then you can get real technical and have that info input into a map program on a tablet or laptop to display the location. But that sort of thing will take a lot of time, money, know how and effort.

Your commercial offerings send the data over a cell network or through a direct satellite uplink so it can be viewed through an internet connection. Or you settle for a tracker that logs the data and forcing you to retrieve the tracker from time to time and upload the date into a computer to view.

Pretty much anything you can do to work around your limitations will leave you with a rather large device that will be very difficult to conceal or have a person/animal carry easily.