LoRa Tracking (real-time)

With the rapid expansion and adoption of LoRa (Long Range) technology [e.g. Meshtastic (open souce) and goTenna (proprietary)], our Search and Rescue team would like to be able to do real-time tracking of these devices.  While we can/will certainly use for humans, our intention is to use these in place of the Garmin collars for K9.  The complexity and challenges (and failure) we've faced trying to get the Garmins to track real-time, we're shifting our research and testing to LoRa.

Given the open source nature of Meshtastic, I would think this may be the strongest candidate.  Even though there are set frequencies on which all vendors are constrained, I'm guessing (like Garmin) the proprietary vendors would obfuscate the encoding and the ability of you to ingest that info.  The open-source standard should give your developers a lot of room to work and leverage.  

Beyond our SAR needs, I think this  close-proximity tracking would be ideal for many other scenarios.

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Comments

6 comments

  • Comment author
    Marc Chauvin

    Thomas,

    Thanks for the question. Good news Meshtastic does work with CalTopo, using our local APRS system through the Desktop Instance. Here is some documentation from Meshtastic
    https://meshtastic.org/docs/software/integrations/integrations-caltopo

    There is only one mistake that I found in the docs. There is no need to check the Your Track checkbox. 

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  • Comment author
    CLMRG Cash

    I would also like this to be better implemented. I was on a mission this last weekend and neither the CP nor the field teams had internet. if I could have hooked up a Meshtastic T-Beam to the computer and input the serial straight (ish) into a computer I had, that would have been a huge boon. I would also like to push markers to them via the mesh, so a way for the Caltopo app to accept serial input from a Bluetooth connection would be great! 

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  • Comment author
    joosty

    @Thomas; what range/distance you feel is adequat for your K9 team?

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  • Comment author
    Matthew Griffin

    You mean like this? https://meshtastic.org/docs/software/integrations/integrations-caltopo

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  • Comment author
    CLMRG Cash

    Matthew Griffin, 

    While that does work, it is not a great solution. The APRS still requires internet and only allows internet-connected devices to see the locations on caltopo. We really need something that would work offline, and preferably on the mobile units so teams can see each other and new markers. 

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  • Comment author
    Matthew Griffin

    APRS can be used offline without internet. A few teams in here in New Mexico have been experimenting with it during trainings, and it works fairly well as long as your RX antenna is decently high. It also looks like the CalTopo team has been experimenting with it as well.

    Local APRS with Desktop | CalTopo Training

    Location Integrations | CalTopo Training

     

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