Articles | Volume 9, issue 2
Research article
05 Nov 2020
Research article |  | 05 Nov 2020

Easy to build low-power GPS drifters with local storage and a cellular modem made from off-the-shelf components

Rolf Hut, Thanda Thatoe Nwe Win, and Thom Bogaard

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Cited articles

Arduino: Arduino – Home, available at: (last access: 8 September 2020), 2018. a
Austin, J. and Atkinson, S.: The Design and Testing of Small, Low-Cost GPS-Tracked Surface Drifters, Estuaries, 27, 1026–1029,, 2004. a
Bakker, T.: Dispersion in the Ayeyarwady: A Description of the Mixing of Tracers in the Area of the Ayeyarwady River–Chindwin River Confluence, available at: (last access: 2 November 2020), 2017. a, b, c
Banzi, M. and Shiloh, M.: Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform, Maker Media, Inc., Make Community, LLC, ISBN-13: 978-1449363338, 2014. a
Cadena, A., Vera, S., and Moreira, M.: A Low-Cost Lagrangian Drifter Based on Open-Source Hardware and Software Platform, in: 2018 4th International Conference on Control, Automation and Robotics (ICCAR), 218–221,, 2018. a
Short summary
GPS drifters that float down rivers are important tools in studying rivers, but they can be expensive. Recently, both GPS receivers and cellular modems have become available at lower prices to tinkering scientists due to the rise of open hardware and the Arduino. We provide detailed instructions on how to build a low-power GPS drifter with local storage and a cellular model that we tested in a fieldwork in Myanmar. These instructions allow fellow geoscientists to recreate the device.