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I'm building camera device which is able to take pictures of paragliders in mid air.

To let the camera know where the glider is I thought about using GPS data from the pilot's smartphone.

My question is: What are possible ways to transmit the GPS data to the groundstation and which can be considered a good solution?

I thought about sending the data to a server via some mobile network, but a direct communication solution would be preferable.

The pilot has mid-air pretty good mobile reception and the maximum distance between pilot and ground station is around 3km.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there 3G? :) You can use the more powerful XBee modules. The ones on 900MHz have a good range. $\endgroup$ – marcv81 Oct 17 '14 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ Are there Xbees for 3G? $\endgroup$ – TobiasK Oct 18 '14 at 17:38
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry if my comment was confusing. I do not believe you would have EDGE/3G/4G airborne, but it would be worth checking. Xbee would be a separate solution to transmit the data instead of relying on the cellular network. It's DIY. $\endgroup$ – marcv81 Oct 18 '14 at 18:55
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I can't comment yet (reputation limitation) so I've had to make a few assumptions... Option one: Write an app for the smartphone that communicates with a server (over mobile data) that the ground station is also in contact with - when the ground station indicates an image has been taken, the server through the app instructs the phone to transmit it's GPS location. Option two: This still requires an app to be written but this time it would pass the gps data to an attached arduino device with an RF module that communicates with the ground station Radio Frequency Module.

There are alternatives to communicating with the ground station but still achieving the same result. An arduino device interfaced with the smartphone logs the gps data with a timestamp which is matched up with the timestamp that the ground station records when it takes an image.

Edit: It should be noted however that options one and two approaches require that a particular camera is assigned to a particular paraglider - as there is no way to know which paraglider the camera took an image of to know which smartphone to retrieve the gps data from.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is clear that i have to make a decision which glider, this is no problem.... I just wondered of there is maybe a possibility to connect the smartphone to the ground via a direct conncetion which may be a native one, but then I guess I will use the external RF modul and some MCUs $\endgroup$ – TobiasK Oct 17 '14 at 10:57

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