With GPS you are able to know where you are, where you’re going, and how to get there anywhere on Earth within 30 seconds. This means the higher the accuracy the better! GPS Real Time Kinematics (RTK) has mastered dialing in the accuracy on their GPS modules to 25mm, and that’s why we had to put it on this board!
The SparkFun GPS-RTK Board is a powerful breakout board for the NEO-M8P-2 module from u-blox. The NEO-M8P-2 is a top-of-the-line module for high accuracy GNSS and GPS location solutions including RTK. With this board, you will be able to know where you (or any object) are within one inch! The NEO-M8P-2 is unique in that it is capable of both rover and base station operations. Utilizing our handy Qwiic system, no soldering is required to connect it to the rest of your system. However, we still have broken out 0.1"-spaced pins in case you prefer to use a breadboard.
We’ve even included a rechargable backup battery to keep the latest module configuration and satellite data available for up to two weeks. This battery helps ‘warm-start’ the module decreasing the time-to-first-fix dramatically. This module features a survey-in mode allowing the module to become a base station and produce RTCM 3.x correction data (as opposed to the previous version of the module which is not able to produce RTCM data).
The number of configuration options of the NEO-M8P-2 is incredible! Geofencing, variable I2C address, variable update rates, even the high precision RTK solution can be increased to 4Hz. The GPS-RTK even has four communications ports: USB (which enumerates as a COM port), UART (with 3.3V TTL), I2C (via the two Qwiic connnectors or broken out pins), and SPI.
The SparkFun Qwiic Connect System is an ecosystem of I2C sensors, actuators, shields and cables that make prototyping faster and less prone to error. All Qwiic-enabled boards use a common 1mm pitch, 4-pin JST connector. This reduces the amount of required PCB space, and polarized connections mean you can’t hook it up wrong.
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
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I have used u-blox chips for years for surveying purposes. I collect hours of GPS data at a single, fixed position using a good, magnetic-base GPS antenna on a 100 mm ground plane. I then download the same time period of GPS data from a nearby NGS CORS station 6 km away to act as my fixed-position base. The open-source RTKLIB package usually combines these measurements to place my antenna within a 1 cm circle of error. Recently two, consecutive, 24-hour measurements from a fixed antenna on my roof fell within 2 mm of each other.
Previously I had used evaluation kits from u-blox with their earlier chips. I had often run into frustrating software hang-ups with the u-blox u-center control software running on Windows 10 laptop over long integrations. I decided to switch to a real-time Arduino/Sparkfun system with the M8P. The combination of the u-blox software on Windows 10 with the Sparkfun GPS-RTK board has already proven to be a much more reliable system. I’m still building the Arduino control/logging system to eliminate the need for a laptop on site.