Chris Troutner edited this page Apr 18, 2017 · 25 revisions


The RPi-Tracker software combines a Raspberry Pi and a BU-353 USB GPS to create a simple but highly accurate tracking device. This can run as a stand-alone tracking device that produces log files in GeoJSON, GPX, and KML formats. It can also automatically sync with the Crumb Share service for easy uploading and sharing of track data. The RPi-Tracker was developed in conjunction with Crumb Share in order to make it easy for travelers to share their adventures.


The RPi-Tracker software is designed to make the Raspberry Pi mimic a wireless hotpot or Access Point (AP). This allows the RPi to communicate directly with a cell phone, notebook, or laptop. The user interface is a webpage served by the RPi. Simply connect to the RPi as you would to any wireless hotspot and bring up this URL in your browser:

The RPi-Tracker can be used as a stand-alone tracking device, but it was designed to work with Crumb Share. Files can be uploaded to your Crumb Share account manually or the device can sync up automatically. In order to sync automatically, the tracker needs to connect to the internet. The easiest way to do that is to switch the RPi's WiFi from access point (AP) mode back into a normal wireless client mode to connect it to a local WiFi hotspot.

Switching between AP mode to wireless client mode and back is complicated and can lead to connectivity issues. This guide walks though several ways to import data into your Crumb Share account and how to recover if your device becomes 'stuck' in WiFi client mode.

Connecting to the RPi-Tracker

By default the RPi-Tracker will be configured as a WiFi access point. The hotspot will have the name (SSID) of Pi_AP with a password of raspberry. You can connect a cell phone, tablet, or computer to it just as you would any other WiFi hotspot.

Once connected, open a web browser on your device and navigate to this URL:

The RPi-Tracker will serve the User Interface as a page within the browser. You can now configure your device settings, download log files, and monitor the debug window to ensure the device is working normally. When connected, you won't have any internet access as the the RPi-Tracker is acting as a router, but does not have any internet connectivity.

RPi-Tracker User Interface Tabs

The user interface is composed of four tabs: Log Files, Settings, WiFi, and Debug. The Log Files tab allows you to download the log files the RPi-Tracker stored on its local disk. The Settings tab allows you to configure the various device settings. The WiFi tab allows you to control the devices WiFi settings. The Debug tab displays the devices debug log. This tab is refreshed every 10 seconds and displays the last 50 lines of the devices debug log. If you have trouble with your device, this is the first place to check for error messages.

Manually Uploading Files

The best way to ensure the RPi's WiFi never gets 'stuck' is to leave it in AP mode, manually download your log files from the device, and then manually upload those files to your Crumb Share account. You can always fall back to this method if the RPi has trouble connecting to your local WiFi hotspot.

Downloading log files from the RPi-Tracker

With the RPi-Tracker WiFi configured for AP mode, open the user interface in your browser. The Log Files tab allows you to manually download your log files. All data for each calendar date is stored in a separate file. Select the date you wish to download and choose the GeoJSON Point with Timestamp format option. Finally, click the Download button to download the log file.

RPi-Tracker UI - Log Files Tab

Uploading Log Files to Crumb Share

With the GeoJSON Point with Timestamp file downloaded to your computer or phone, log into your Crumb Share account. Navigate to the Data Files view. Click on the Upload Log File button in order to upload your log file. Once uploaded, the file will appear in your Data File Library.

Crumb Share Data Library

Managing data files

All of the daily data files uploaded to your Crumb Share account are listed in the Data File Library. Clicking on the date link for a log file will bring up a Google Map and overlay the data stored in that log file. This provides a quick, easy way to view the data stored in each daily log file.

You can also download log files in various file formats or delete log files you no longer want.

Exporting Log File to Google Maps

Weather or not you choose to use the Crumb Share service, it's possible to upload your breadcrumb trails to Google Maps using their create map feature. Google Maps works with KML format data files. You can download log files in KML Line String format from your Crumb Share Data Library or directly from the RPi-Tracker device.

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