Beaglebone Black GPS Tracker LESSON 5: Displaying Data from GPS in Google Earth

Google Earth GPS
Example of GPS Data displayed in Google Earth

In the earlier lessons in this series we learned how to hook the Adafruit Ultimate GPS up to the Beaglebone Black. In these lessons we got the hardware working, got to the point we could take data, and then got the NMEA sentences parsed, so that we could display understandable data for Latitude, Longitude, and Altitude. In this lesson we will show you how to create a GPS tracker, by logging your GPS data to a file on the Beaglebone Black. Then when you get back home, you can load the data into google earth to see an interactive view of where you have been.

The video shows step-by-step how to get the code working, starting with the code we developed in Lesson 3. We end up with the following program:

 This program should create a file on the Beaglebone Black, and track your longitude, latitude and altitude.

In order to view the file on Google Earth, you will want to put a KMZ wrapper on the coordinates. A reasonable KMZ wrapper is below. Simply take your coordinates from the program above, and paste them in the file below, in the area between <coordinates> and </coordinates>


14 thoughts on “Beaglebone Black GPS Tracker LESSON 5: Displaying Data from GPS in Google Earth”

  1. Hi my teacher,
    I want to ask you about high sensitivity GPS receiver (HS GPS), does your receiver used for indoor environment with adapter in order to get signal even if it is weak signal? Do you know the types of HSGPS receivers?
    Thanks in advance my teacher
    Kind regards

    1. The GPS I use will not get a signal indoors. I have not played with any like that. All I have used must have clear view of sky.

  2. Hey Paul,

    I am a starter and would like to ask you few Q’s if the Arduino can help me prototype a device with the next components; program a GPS, where I can use the coordinates to vieuw only the address of the location. Second can I simultaneously plug-in GPS, WiFi, LoRaWAN modules and program it.
    I am looking for a EE. If any of your student is a diehard EE please refer him or her to me. I am looking for a technical co-founder. I can move to the US if i have a partner in the US. Thanks

  3. Hey, this project was awesome and you are an excellent teacher. I want to know if it is posible a “Real time GPS tracker using python and google maps”

  4. Hi Sir!
    i am using a gps unit called MT90, is it posssible for me to make a programme so that i could use this device to track through Google Earth.

  5. could we dislay data in google map in real time ? .. i mean tracking in live not after saving data ..

    1. Yes, but you have to get the data back to your computer, which is the hard part. You would need a GSM type set up where you could message coordinates back to windows. Or do it over WiFi if you had connection.

      1. im not using windows i’m using Linux in my laptop and a raspberry pi and i’m using node-red to get data and send them to my mail and from my mail i dont knew how to display that data … i hope u did understand me :p maby i’m trying something stupid i don’t knew

        1. back to this comment i really need an idea about how to get data by wifi , i could send data to mail but i cant see a way to get data from mail to google map by a script .. if you do have the possible way to do it please help me . thanks

  6. Hello,

    Seth here. I found that the Google Earth download they carry only uses specific file types, e.g. .gpx, .mps, .nmea, .log, and others.

    How could I use, and which software, software to save in these file formats?


  7. Recently got interested in BBB. Thank you for the very informative and organized tutorial. I see they all are about two years old, any new ones coming?
    As i understood BBB have 2 32bit PRU micro-controllers onboard. Can you do a tutorial on how to use them?

  8. Hi,

    A few questions:

    How are you powering your beaglebone when you walk around the building with it?

    Are you ssh’d into the beaglebone the whole time you are walking around the building/ and if so, how?

    How do you ssh into the beaglebone whenever you have sent them up on balloons?

    Thank you so much for these awesome tutorials!


    Gage Russell
    OU Petroleum Engineering Senior

Comments are closed.