robust GPS device

Mitja Kleider mitja at
Sun Mar 7 04:12:06 EST 2010


I just talked to some people about open GPS hardware.

You may know the OpenStreetMap project (it just received the Linux New
Media award in the category "Most Innovative Open Source Project" at
CeBIT2010), most of the contributors have an open source background and
know the spirit.

Sadly there is no open GPS hardware available at all. Most people buy
Garmin devices because there is some hacky way to install custom maps,
but no way to change the firmware.

Of course there are microcontrollers and GPS chips out there, but a
little electronics project can not reach the quality of a Garmin device.

The requirements are:
- long battery time (32h with 2xAA battery [2])
- water proof (fell into the river while canoeing, was still working
under water)
- accessories like bike mount, hiking backpack clip (bike mount fits the
clip on the bottom of the device and is more stable than other mounts)
- SDHC slot (remember water proof)
- GPS chip
- b/w or color screen (no touchscreen, just a few buttons)
- possibility to write software for this device

The Garmin devices meet all of the requirements except for the last one.
The Openmoko Freerunner does not meet all requirements either.


Do you think Qi hardware is able to provide a GPS device of such quality
for similar prices (below EUR200)?
Possible customers would be OpenStreetMap contributors, Geocachers and
all kinds of outdoor sports guys. If you tell people they can get
working maps and routing for free, their faces usually light up.

We could provide much more functionality (like custom rendering, profile
routing for speed bikers, mountain bikers, landscape bikers,
hikers, ...). Maybe you could even get contracts with tourism industry
for "electronic tour guides".

Kind regards,
Mitja Kleider

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