If you have ever programmed a microcontroller, you are probably familiar with sending and receiving data over a serial port. A common way to do this is with a serial terminal program (hyperterminal, Arduino serial monitor, etc.). Lets say you want to create your own serial terminal program that displays data from a microcontroller in a meaningful way. For example, graphing temperature over time or displaying GPS position on a map.
There are many different programming methods to do this, one of which is Python. It is free, easy to setup, and has a massive user community with examples, forums, and tutorials.
Showing a trip from SparkFun to Boulder, CO.
Recently, I wanted to create a graphical interface to display GPS position for a high-altitude balloon radio system. I had so much fun and immediate success with Python, I decided to write a follow-along tutorial that helps you install Python, then shows you how to create a simple serial terminal program to send and receive data over a serial port. The tutorial ends by showing you how to run my GPS tracking program. Check it out!