HowTo for a tracking solution wanted ;)

Hello everyone, I am new here and have a few beginner questions. Or rather, I am planning a scenario for which I have not found any suitable instructions or information.
So, I play airsoft with my friends frequently in the ass of the world, without cellular reception. We would like to track us, a command vehicle equipped with tablet and maps see should where the individual troops are on the road. I have bought and flashed 3 T-beams for experimentation. They are currently all on the same Wifi net and I can see the positions of the other nodes via the web interface of one node or with the android app. How do I now get the data to the tablet? Should I open a hotspot on the tablet and connect a T-Beam to this “offline” WLAN? How can I save the coordinates of the individual nodes? Can I hook up a RaspberryPi to the same WLAN and run MQTT there? But what if the nodes are out of range of wifi, MQTT will not work without wifi? What software can then generate a map from the positions (and present it to the tablet via web server)? Sorry, maybe I don’t see the forest for the trees… how can i build such a visual offline solution?
Completely different question: I made a bad purchase and bought a LoRa device with a completely different chip, so I can’t install Meshtastic on it. Can I still have the thing send its location to a Meshtastic T-beam?


very easy:
use the android app.
connect t beams with android app by bluetooth.
put all t-beams on the same lora channel: (channel menu, just enter a channel name for first device, copy the channels qr code , and then at the same menu of android app. use this qr code for the channel setting of other devices…) (or just put all nodes on default channel by reseting channel settings, but like that, other users can see your positions too)
by default, all devices will now send there position to all other devices.
1 device stays connected to android app on tablet, where you can opten the map (within android app) and there it shows actuall or past position of other nodes…

to get a good range for reception…
put the node of command vehicle HIGH above Ground maybe on roof or a mast attaqched to the car.
the tablet can still connect by bluetooth
then you should see the othger nodes position also from a few km away…
the nodes start sending position when they have a gps fix. that may need a few minutes on startup…

no need to use wifi or hotspot or mqtt…

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Thank you very much! :slight_smile:

thanks again for your tips. i have made it so far. two more questions: is there a simple way to save and display the positions for a certain period of time so that you can see a route? Or do I have to transfer the data via MQTT (Wifi) to a Raspberry and generate the map there? If so, is there something ready-made?

EDIT: there was a correction by Garth., the rangetest-file has to be downloaded by WEB-UI ! not from android.

Yes there is a simple way to save “time and positions”
again no need for wifi and stuff, just android app.
that is the Range-test-plugin, already included in the firmware.
this plugin is functional on t-beam devices(what you have). other devices i dont know.
connect android app to t-beam,
go to “module settings”
enable “save csv in storage”
probably reboot.

now this device is saving all message information,
including all received Time/positions data in one file.
this file you can download to your android device by “export rangetest.csv”
it includes all the data you need an can be opened by some mapping programm.
you can use ,make a new map ans import the rangetest file.

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this is wonderful. meshtastic is an awesome project! :slight_smile:
but would also be possible a scenario where you can see the data live and not have to import by hand? :wink:
in my usecase there is no access to google maps because there is no internet.

that i cannot help with.
have to pass this question to someone else :slight_smile:

it would be a nice feature on the android app.
maybe you can write feature requests:

“show past 3-8 positions in map”
“show speed and direction in map.”
as i know, speed and direction can already be included in the trasmitted telemetry data.

other way to get live data would be:
connect by wifi, buetooth or serial to read out the live information…
i d prefer serial connection by USB where u get a lot of information by console. here you would need some device to put these live data in you tactiacal map.
here i dont know any further, maybe there are some apps/programms capable of doing this and using meshtastic console output.

to see the console oputput yourself, go to mehstastic web-flasher, connect to the device by USB and choose “Console” instead of “flash device”…

btw: If i was in the “command vehicle” i would use a printed Paper-map, and i would read live-positions from the andoird app-map and draw these in the paper map by pencil.

The only way to download the actual range test file from the device that is generated when you enable save on the range test plugin is from the web ui. The range test file in android is built from the database of packets on the phone, and on iOS you can download a position log for a node but neither of these files is generated by the range test module.

definitely working on this myself. but on a much larger scale, around 100-200 lora units in mountains.
not sure if meshtastic would be the best as i want to overlay a track map to see where eveyrone is. (i can do this with OBS overlay onto the map software…)

the new heltec gps tracker seems to be a very good candidate but i would need to upgrade the antenna and add passive stackable charging.

At the moment I’m using a Traccar instance together with a Simple Node Red Flow and an MQTT broker.
Traccar takes care of all position history, battery levels, life maps and geo fences for me and has integrated user authorization for individual devices.

this requires internet does it not?

I belife only the mapoverlay requiers Internet.

Honestly if you guys are using airsoft in a serious tactical manner of battlefield small unit tactics I would seriously consider using ATAK (Android Tactical Assault Kit) integrated with your meshtastic transcievers on each team mate and tac vehicle. It is a very powerful battlefield tool. Has so many config allowing static downloads and sat map overlays with gps local for team mates assets targets etc. Will allow you to fully corrdinate as well as each gettimg a complete view of the over all field sitrep.

If your team spends a week getting to know the app and then running some group field training it will beva serious force multipler. You can bring in streaming drone feeds via plugins. Get forearm mounts for you cell phones and you/team have real time field intel of your entire team and objectives. Do a search there are tons of tutorials and how sites dedicated to it. After yrsif us it was a serious handicapp trying to run without training as a civy. I distributed to my group. Then a couple yrs later it got civilian release which is plenty for anything in the civilian ao.