How to build your own real time GPS tracking system

Written by rachael smithey
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Real-time GPS tracking systems provide live tracking of people and objects for safety, personal interest and asset management. Real-time GPS tracking systems can be expensive to purchase and difficult to install. You can build your own real-time GPS tracking system by simply using a GPS-enabled cell phone and the InstaMapper free GPS-tracking software.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cell phone with unlimited data plan, built-in GPS and Java MIDP-2.0 application support
  • InstaMapper account and software (free)

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  1. 1

    Create a free InstaMapper account at the Instamapper website (See Resources for link). Click on the e-mailed link to activate your account. Log in to InstaMapper with your user name and password. Click "Devices" > "Add a new device."

  2. 2

    In the Device label text box, and enter an identifying name for your phone. Select "Imperial units." Click the "Add" button.

  3. 3

    In the New Device screen, note the 13-digit device key assigned to your phone. Download and install the GPS Tracker application on your phone, using the link for your phone's make and model.

  4. 4

    Open the GPS Tracker application on your phone. Enter the 13-digit device key. Click "Save."

  5. 5

    Log in to InstaMapper to view markers (waypoints) and segments (tracks) sent by your phone to Google Maps. View Time, Altitude, Speed, Heading, Latitude and Longitude.

  6. 6

    To organise historical data into saved tracks, click "Devices." Click the "Data" link next to the device name. Left-click on the start and end waypoints of your track.

  7. 7

    To embed a map of your current location on a blog, website or Facebook, click "Devices." Click the "Sharing" link next to the device name. At the Enable Sharing for this Device prompt, click "OK."

  8. 8

    On the Location Sharing page, select from the options to send a direct URL, install the Facebook application, or use the wizard to generate the HTML code for embedding a map.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure you have an unlimited data plan, as InstaMapper GPS tracking is data-intensive.
  • InstaMapper requires a reciprocal link If you embed a map on your blog or website.
  • InstaMapper prohibits tracking a person or object without consent.

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