Real World Use Cases

As an option wifi and a web interface would be great for a base station or in my case a raft where bringing a 20,000mAh battery pack isn’t a concern. Quick math 150mA power draw is about 5.5 days of runtime on a 20,000mAh battery.

I know there has been mention in this thread of using Meshtastic at festivals, a basecamp unit plugged into a a big battery or running off a solar panel might be of use enabling new users use of join in while out of cell range.

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Festivals for me too. Even SMS can be delayed a long time when there’s 20k people in a rural location. Plus with meshtastic you dont need the other parties to respond to find where they are, quite often people aren’t looking at their phones much is they are squeezed in watching a band, even if they do, you only get a vague idea of location. Quite a few festivals cancelled this year, so I’ll have to wait to test it out.

If you know someone at Garmin it would be cool if you could get Meshtastic working with Garmin GroupTrack feature. I imagine an experience like shown in the youtube video below, except using Meshtastic rather than phones and cellular networks.

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I am a sheep breeder. I have a herd of sheep and I have to spend a lot of time to graze them.
With the help of Meshtastic, I plan to significantly save my time.

Yesterday I ordered two NEO-M8N LILYGO®TTGO T-Beam V1.0 ESP32 (433) boards. I will attach one without a screen to the sheep’s collar. The second will be with me and through bluetooth connected to the Android application. Then I also plan to buy a third board in order to attach a solar panel to it. I will fix it on the top of the rock and it will act as a repeater.

By the way, for my third node (repeater) of the Meshtastic network, it would be nice to be able to remotely download the updated program.

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btw - before you put it on your sheep let me know. I think there are some better settings we should put into these devices (via the app) for nodes that need to run a long time between recharging (a few weeks?).

What an epic use case!

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I intend to use it on rescue and sporting dogs once confirmed to behave stable.

For that I will need to have full history of GPS available to track back while the dog went “offline” (some SD card log in GPX or whatever format).

The guys from Slovakian dog rescue brigade (https://www.kzzsr.sk/mvdr-peter-smrco-phd/) inspired me in this work and this project seems that could solve the MESH issue I was trying to solve in my design.

And detailed GPS log is part of analysis needed for headquarters steering the rescue mission and navigating the squads in bad terrain. The intended workflow is that dog collar detects it’s peer in range of bluetooth and sends the offline data via BT or WiFi/WiFiDirect to Android phone that will ASAP send it to rescue mission headquarters.

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hi Slavino. My project is same as yours :slight_smile: I’m thinking with few modifications this project will be perfect fit not to start development from the ground up.
What type of collar do you use for dog? Our dogs almost never wear collars when searching, due to possibility to get stuck somewhere. So in first phase I plan to track just personnel.

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I have been testing only Garmin devices but there are few more worth mentioning as ready made solution. The LoRa is in play with Dogtrace (https://www.dogtrace.com/cs/m-11-gps-obojky who use 868Mhz) and after some communication they offered to sell me few enclosures for their devices - which would mean own PCB design to match their proprietary “box”. I believe that Dogtra Pathfinder (https://www.dogtra.com/pathfinder) is also a LoRa device. In addition there are non-LoRa devices and GSM based devices (https://tracker.fi/en/frontpage/ - NB-IoT/2G,3G,4G). Each of them as collar on a sporting dog being put to difficult/dangerous situations. These collars have been danger only until you weren’t able to find your dog (or other animal) if it got stuck somewhere.

Other than that I started to communicate with custom enclosures company who deal with prototyping but they simply requested CAD drawing to start with 3D prinouts and testing that design - which is entirely new field to me and I couldn’t solve that myself.

In addition to that issue :slight_smile: (yes - why not make a robust solution) I decided to deliver a failsafe solution. So in case of loss of LoRa connectivity it would utilize GSM coverage if available (inspired by tracker.fi) and that GSM part wouldn’t be hardwired but rather would serve as backup via bluetooth. Which again was before TTGO introduced their more fancy board https://github.com/Xinyuan-LilyGO/LilyGO-T-SIM7000G :slight_smile:

Back to the main topic - per missing enclosures I only performed few field tests where I also (shortly before COVID-19) tested the LoRaWAN coverage around the woods here and to my surprise the coverage isn’t as bad as I expected :slight_smile: My TTGO devices running on 433MHz with this aftermarket antenna https://www.tme.eu/sk/details/ant-433-cw-qw-sma/anteny-rf/linx-technologies/ show extraordinary results even in bad terrain and thick woods (house was my base station - around 5km reach for clean data transfer). With clean sight I would expect over 10km with literally zero issues.

If you search for some important stuff then here in Slovakia you can use flying objects up to 70 m above ground level so a drone, helium balloon or simple kite :slight_smile: solves the coverage within few seconds for very wide area and those make the sport/rescue coordination easier if the weather conditions allow it.

PS: For LoRa frequencies I found few articles about antennas that show that low above the terrain is vertical antenna placement a much better option than the horizontal one.

…and lots more :slight_smile:
slavomir.hustaty@gmail.com

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Garmin built up own ecosystem and doesn’t want to have such open API integrated as they would be loosing business. They don’t even reply to emails - give it a try yourself and you will see :slight_smile:

My use case is for a car event we have four times a year. There is no cell coverage and no way to communicate problems on the road or with vehicles. With the addition of a repeater mode, coverage along the route could be made even more reliable.

My problem right now is that the car community is split between Android and iPhone devices. Until there is a viable iPhone app, it’s a non-starter for this particular use.

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Hi,

I have a use case for this to be used for my group at Burning Man.

We have a about a half dozen mutant vehicles, a few art support vehicles and a base camp.

What I’d like to see is a Mestastic device on each mutant vehicle and art support vehicle so we can always see their location on a map centralized map within our base camp.

If we need to communicate with them, we can – but communication should be done without the requirement of a dedicated mobile application. We have roughly 300 people in our group and while we’re on location, there’s no internet connection available.

It’d be best if someone can scan a QR code to authenticate with a wifi access point and immediately get chatting with just a web browser.

Agreed that Wifi takes more power than bluetooth, but for us we have access to both a 125kw generator for our camp and our art vehicles each has more than enough power.

At the basecamp, I’d like to have a map of all our art vehicles so we can visualize where they are at all times. This will help if they need assistance or anything else. At the same terminal, it’d also be nice if we can chat with the art vehicles.

An additional use case would be that, unfortunately, bicycle thefts are a real thing out there. I’d like to be able to attach a GPS-enabled meshtastic onto our bicycles so we can relocate bicycles that have been stolen or “misplaced”. Then with the help of the meshtastic devices in the art vehicles, we can retrieve the bicycle.

The real trick here is we can’t rely on bluetooth and a mobile app. There’s too many people and too many devices with no internet at all. Yes, there’s no cellphone coverage either.

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Delivery drones in Africa, to provide simple Comms base to base and independently track in the air with, if Kevin can magic the beans an occasional FLARM/OGN message on 868 to let any suitably equipped aircraft/UTM network to see the track.

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I live off-grid in Alaska in an area with no cell coverage. The nearest road is an hour or six away, depending on mode of travel. Most of my travel (when the river isn’t frozen) is by boat. Boats break down, weather happens, and there’s no normal comms here. It’s not uncommon to travel up/down a river system and be gone for a week. In winter, it’s kinda the same thing, but by snowmobile. At home, we have satellite Internet with a small wifi footprint.

I have friends/neighbors with cabins a mile away, 4 miles away, and expanding outward. Some of these folks are very poor and/or elderly, and can’t afford satellite comms, and are effectively cut off. So part of my life includes checking in on them. That’s fine, not complaining. But it would be nice if they had the ability to message me. It would be great if my partner, buddies, and neighbors could send simple texts when something goes sideways, even if it’s just to cancel dinner plans.

Currently, I’m using InReach, and that allows connecting with a small group of people, including whoever is within the WiFi range of my cabin. But it’s limited, expensive, and unreliable. I currently keep it at the minimum plan, which is about $12/mo for a handful of messages. Then when I know I’m going to be gone longer, I raise it to the $45/mo unlimited plan. It’s great compared to nothing, but it’s not great. The Bluetooth connection sucks (often doesn’t transfer messages from the device to the phone), the service sucks (messages sometimes show up never or months later), and they don’t seem interested in doing many updates.

So basically, I’d rather put my money toward buying and assembling $30 radios that I can pass out to people. Everyone I get one to makes the network more robust, and everyone wins.

The next phase is people in the nearest villages. Many have horrible cell service with about 1/4 mile radius. So when those people leave the town bubble, they’re in the same position as me when I leave my cabin’s WiFi bubble.

In other words, my use case is replacing phone service in rural areas,. Even if it’s only “SMS”, it’s a link between people who are currently isolated.

An ideal scenario for me would be radios with bigger antennas I could mount on boat and machines, smaller devices people could carry in their pockets, and base stations on a few hills.

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Not off-grid in Alaska but on-grid in Europe. Still cell coverage in my area is very bad (if present at all). It’s a rural, mounty area and I have no way to connect with the neighbours just 1km away.

Actually I have a very similar use case building a little infrastructure around with little effort and little investment to have a communication channel available :pager:

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First of all I would like to say thank you to @geeksville and the community for this project and for the enthusiasm, I have been looking at building something like this but it has been a daunting prospect as I have limited programming experience (I usually cobble together code snippets from others to suit my own purposes). I looked at other projects such as Armachat and SnapOnAir but this is the best documented and most active community as far as I could see.
I am in a similar situation to that which @Xanuman and others here describe :
I own a stretch of land which is pretty large and it has no cell signal, other than on a few mountain tops. The area is used for some limited logging, hunting & fishing, and for a flock of sheep that are on pasture in the summer months. For each of these aspects I have a need for long-range, low power consumption mobile communication.

  1. For logging, the need to have an emergency button in case of an accident is clear and has already been described
  2. For sheep herding, a “necklace” that can send the location of the sheep, both once a day as general info, but also on demand, when one needs to corall them at the end of the season. In addition, if a sheep has been completely immobile for 3 hours or more, an alert could be sent to indicate that it may have been killed by a predator (which is relatively common). There are commercial offerings for this, but they run via cell network, or satellite, have limited battery capacity, and the capital expense is so high that they in many cases exceed the sales value of the sheep. In addition there are the running costs for cell or satellite comms. Companies like nofence even use a virtual fence to keep the animals within a specified area, but I think this is power hungry.
  3. For hunting it is desireable to know where the other hunters are, both for safety, but also to guide them to their post. Guiding a group of guest hunters is otherwise challenging. Writing a message is sometimes also better than using radio comms to avoid spooking game. An app that can display detailed free topographic maps in e.g. 1:50000 scale would be extremely useful. The link shows maps in garmins fileformat gmapsupp.img that are frequently updated and available for free, there are a number of other sites that also generate these files from publicly available data provided by the mapping authorities in the various countries. So far this is the best format/resource for free high rez topo maps I have found, and it would be great if the format could be read by the iOS/Android app.
  4. Finally, the system can be used to track stolen items such as outboard engines or alert if there is a break-in in a remote location.

To be truly useful one would have to have solar powered nodes to complete the network in areas where there is no line-of-sight, as has already been discussed, but also a node to link LORA to the 4G network where possible, to connect to the “real world”. I have been looking at this module from RAK which has a built in LTE module in a waterproof housing. I have previously built a remote switch with a SIM900, but 2G is being phased out in many places and if one were to buy all parts of the RAK module separately as components, one would quickly hit the same pricepoint. Any ideas or feedback on this would be welcome. I am waiting for my TTGO T-beams at the moment and hope to be able to try this out soon.

Summary of main points/questions:
  1. Great effort, thank you!!
  2. Is it possible to include support for free .gmap topo map files in the iOS/Android app, visualising the position of other nodes in the network?
  3. What is the most robust and convenient way to connect the Meshtastic network to LTE? Has anyone tried this?
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@Nanovitruvius, welcome! On demand positions should be easily doable (for an average coder). Offline maps, including .gmap support, has been discussed here:

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Regarding the use of Meshtastic for sheep control.
My sheep sleep at home. In a place where predators are not afraid of them.
Therefore, I came to the conclusion that for such a mode, you should not reduce the frequency of sending coordinates.
Why?
I live in the foothills of the Caucasus. And we have a lot of jackals here. Wolves also come in sometimes, but very rarely. Jackals can hunt young sheep. If appear wolves, they can immediately cut a few dozen sheep.

Since the sheep graze freely at a distance of 10-15 minutes on foot, the parameter Acceleration of the herd is important to me.

When a flock of sheep discovered a predator, they leave this place with great speed.
If the coordinates are updated often enough, I can understand where they were attacked by a predator. And later find this place, explore it and take retaliatory measures.
If coordinates are rarely sent, then there is no informational content.

In addition, sheep prefer to hide in the woods in the heat. And in autumn and winter, they often find food in the forest and may not go out of the forest for a long time. And there the GPS signal passes very poorly.

Another important point for using Meshtastic in grazing.
It would be nice to build daily tracks and collect daily statistics. Know how many kilometers per day the sheep traveled. Based on these data, it is possible to indirectly draw conclusions about the quality of their life and nutrition.

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My use is search & rescue.

The task forces need the location tracking to know, what area has been searched and to better coordinate in real-time. They usually operate in remote area without a mobile network coverage. They can usually communicate over handheld radios but those can’t display their location on the map. So I’m looking for a possibility to create an ad-hoc network to connect them, so they can share their GPS and see each other on their smartphones. Mesh concept is ideal because there is no need for an existing infrastructure.

  • am I thinking right that this technology would be applicable to this use case?
  • would anyone know, what could be the tracking frequency and range? (At what max. distance can the users be so the data is still relied considering a forest environment?)
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cheapest Android device capable of dealing with BLE and API level of the app must be dirt cheap if you compare the investment to LoRa devices, time to develop this SW and other related things :slight_smile: iPhone user in general can make this step to cover signal loss and some level of emergency backup…no worries

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