An open-source hardware GPS data logger for wildlife movement studies


January 5, 2020

Location: World Congress of Herpetology, New Zealand (location TBD)
Time: 9-4

*Limit of 20 people
Cost: $150

Global Positioning System (GPS) technology has been a boon to animal spatial ecology studies, allowing researchers to obtain vast quantities of data, even for cryptic organisms. Oftentimes, the main limitation to wide-spread application of this technology is the cost, which can dictate the number of individuals outfitted with GPS technology, thereby limiting sample sizes. Here, we discuss the use of Arduino in developing a low-cost, customizable, open-source hardware GPS logger for use in animal movement studies. We also present results from field tests with eastern box turtles (Terrapene carolina) in northwestern Ohio. These GPS loggers have the potential to augment existing projects and facilitate studies that would be otherwise cost-prohibitive.

This workshop will introduce attendees to the basic concepts of open-source, do-it-yourself technology and some of its applications. Attendees will learn how to assemble a GPS data logger through a guided exercise, and will be able to take home their creation. Sessions will include a brief lecture, basics of soldering tutorial (via a customized LED exercise), guided GPS unit construction, field testing, downloading and visualization of data, casing and attachment options, customization options, and future projects.

Attendees are asked to bring their own laptop with Google Earth and the Arduino IDE ( installed.

*Seating is limited and attendees must register in advance at the link below.

Register Here

Questions? Contact us here.


9:00 a.m. Intro/background
30 minutes
9:30 a.m. Soldering exercise
~ 1.5 hours
11:00 a.m. Break
15 minutes
11:15 a.m. Build GPS loggers
~ 1.5 hours
1:00 p.m. Lunch + GPS logger test (data collection)
2:00 p.m. Data download and visualization, and troubleshooting
3:00 p.m. Casing options and expanded memory version demonstration
4:00 p.m. Questions, feedback, troubleshooting

Organizers: Matthew D. Cross1 and Patrick W. Cain1,2
1Toledo Zoo and Aquarium, Toledo, OH, 2Georgia Gwinnet College, Lawrenceville, GA