Is your project related to Asset Tracker?

That’s not entirely true, is it? Google maps has to load all the maps, which is what’s eating up your data. Assuming you’re not using the electron data plan to display anything, the only thing that it has to transmit are the GPS coordinates. Going from the ~20000 messages mentioned in the Kickstarter, you should be able to get a reasonable resolution.
Assuming you drive 4 hours every day, you should be able to update the coordinates every 30 seconds. That might be a bit too optimistic since I didn’t account for data size and whatnot, but simply took the 20000 messages estimate.

Depending on what the use case is, you could perhaps toggle the ‘live display’, and save it to an SD cards for times when you don’t need a live view.

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@Moors7 is correct about the maps but the transmission of GPS coordinates still applies. You will need to decide what “real time” means to you. The question I have to ask is, if the Electron is sending out GPS coordinates in real time, where are they being displayed?


I guess that you can start by applying an algorithm that incorporates a minimum movement requirement, and if the coordinates haven’t changed enough, skip sending for X number of normal sends.
So for example, if you have not moved 100 meters, don’t send until (a) you move more than 100 meters, or (b) every 10th measurement even if you have not moved. That would cut down transmissions considerably if accounting for traffic lights, traffic jams, urban driving. And would start to account for parking, where you still want to know the position of the vehicle so power needs to be ‘on’ all the time. You could incorporate a further backoff time so when not moving, it just sends a heartbeat measurement every 15 minutes to tell you that the system has not been removed.


Still can’t get how data SIM will be used in google map…

Can’t I just obtain the information about coordinates and use that information in the application that will use an internet from different source?


Simply put, yes. Obtain the GPS coordinates, and transfer those to wherever it need to be. That receiving end will then be able to display the data any way you see fit, without having to use the SIM data, which is limited. Since that data is limited, you don’t want to send out data every second for example, since you’ll blow through your data rather quickly.
The methods described by @awake should help limit data usage considerably.

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Really there are two completely separate pieces to this puzzle, and they are COMPLETELY separate.
The first is to write software for the device that sends data at the required rate via a cellular connection. That is all that the Particle hardware and software should be involved in. The device figures out where it is, and sends it to a server upon request or on a particular predetermined schedule.
The second piece of the puzzle is much more complex. It is receiving, storing and displaying the data. A database of some sort is needed to store the data, and a method to choose and display the data is required. Google has extensive APIs that allow you to do that, but it will take extensive HTML, Android or IOS app programming to do that. But there are commercial Apps and programs that you can buy.

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This topic contains code for interacting with a GPS sensor, as well as an HTML demo with Google maps, showing those coordinates. Might be helpful :smile:


Can you please list up some popular ones?

(Though I’m more interested to learn and write by myself…)

Just to confirm, no matter what way I go with, Electron (or the whole Asset Tracker?) is what I’ll need anyway, correct?

I mean the GPS sensor.

Yes, that’s about the minimum you need: An electron, a GPS sensor, and a power source (there’s a battery included). If you’re planning on a permanent placement in a car, you might want to look for options to hook it up to the car battery in some way.

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Yes, I’m planning to place permanently. The option you mean they’re not sold in the store, as I understand…

Correct. You’ll need a couple of different items. Mostly something to get your car’s voltage down to 5v. I would suggest a Car USB adapter.

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Here I posted internet traffic related post Is it possible to use a pocket wifi with Photon?

I also wonder there should be already available solutions for GPS tracking out there, so what’s the good in creating on my own, except I play with particle products as a hobby in this particular case?

I’m not sure it’s be even cheaper with particle products.

Asset Tracker kit costs $119, I think you can find ready solution for this amount…

What data would I want to take from a car’s computer for asset tracking?

You get to do anything you like with it. You can program your own logic, make maps the way you want it. Integrate it with other services. It’d be an IoT tracker, whereas the commercial ones I’ve seen were pretty ‘dumb’. You have to text them, and then they’ll respond with GPS coordinates, and things like that.
If you go with the Particle route, you’re in full control of everything, which may, or may not, be desirable. You can customize everything to your pleasing.

This site has a list of some of the things you can read from your car, which might be interesting.


You get to do anything you like with it. You can program your own logic, make maps the way you want it. Integrate it with other services. It’d be an IoT tracker, whereas the commercial ones I’ve seen were pretty ‘dumb’. You have to text them, and then they’ll respond with GPS coordinates.

Just received my Asset Tracker package in the mail and wish to place this in my car and do exactly what you’re describing, test and be done with it. Any idea what needs to be done? I’m not a programmer just wanted to have this because Spark Electron does quite the sales pitch on their Kickstarter page.

Hey @user01, maybe you want to check out this nifty OBD-II adapter: Connect to your car with Carloop

tl;dr lets you connect a photon, core, or electron directly to your car.

If you push the GPS and OBD2 data over the Electron to Ubidots they have a really easy to use live MAP location widget that will allow you to view your vehicles location updates live on Google maps. And you can send and view all your vehicle diagnostics data also and display it via a widget anyway you want. is free so no reason not to try it out.

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Hey @user01, if you still need help with the text-to-receive-GPS-coordinates project PM me and we can discuss.