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Location Tracking

The advent of GPS and RFID has opened up a complete new range of location tracking products from the tagging and tracking of individual product items, through to the now common in-car navigation systems and further to sophisticated global location solutions.

Location tracking covers a range of products but generally refers to the ability to determine and communicate the location of a product or entity. This can be simply done via two different technologies. GPS enables a device to know its geographical location based on communication with multiple satellites, whereas RFID enables a device to be identified as existing in, or being moved from, a specific location. Most commonly we know of a location device as being the navigation unit found in most modern cars.

Bluewater has recently been involved in a number of projects that utilise GPS based location tracking. This board was developed by us and forms part of an advanced vehicle-tracking system including server installations and desktop PC software. Designed to be used in large fleet vehicle environments the unit enables a head office to see the location and movement of its entire fleet. Sitting under the bonnet of a car or truck the main board uses a GPS receiver to determine its location and transmits this via a mobile phone link to a central computer. Other technology such as accelerometers and Bluetooth were also used in the product making it one of the most advanced vehicle tracking devices on the market today.

A key part of this project was to create a design that was compact enough to fit in most modern cars yet would meet the vibration and environmental factors of truck or car. In addition we needed to ensure that a reliable RF operation was achieved with the product using GPS, Bluetooth and GPRS communications.

Once the core design had been confirmed and was in early production we worked with the customer to optimise the hardware design to facilitate a lower cost of manufacture and lower component cost.


  • 200 MHz ARM9 CPU
  • 64 MB SDRAM
  • 1GB NAND flash
  • Ethernet
  • Debug (Bluewater's Squid small size connector which provides serial, JTAG, Ethernet)
  • LEDs
  • Buttons
  • 4x 1A digital outputs with protection
  • 8x protected digital inputs
  • 16x Analogue inputs
  • Quad UART + 3 internal UARTs
  • Temperature sensor
  • Real Time Clock with battery backup
  • 3 axis accelerometer
  • Buses: I2C, SPI, One Wire
  • MicroSD socket
  • Quad band GPRS / GSM
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth
  • Mini USB (host)
  • Software power down and timed wake
  • Automotive power supply input 9-30 volts
  • Linux 2.6 with drivers for all the above


The unit shown is specifically designed for use with fertilizer and spraying equipment. It is designed to fit in the cab of the spray vehicle, tractors, trucks or purpose designed vehicles. It uses a GPS module to monitor the location and movement of these vehicles and combines this location information with detailed data about spray rates, wind drift and vehicle speed to provide contractors and farmers with an accurate representation of where fertiliser or chemical sprays have been applied.