USB GPS module from USB specialists FTDI

September 19, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Enables integration of navigation functions and location-based services

Employing its advanced USB technology in next-generation electronic designs, FTDI's FT-X-GPS allows precision positioning data to be derived - so that a computing platform (such as a laptop, tablet, or embedded PC) to which it has been connected, via its USB port, can benefit from this precise data to enable location-based services and applications that continue to emerge as mobility increases.

Running off a 5V supply from a USB A port, this power-efficient module is based on the company’s FT230XQ USB-to-UART bridge IC (part of the X-Chip series). Supporting USB2.0 Full Speed operation, it can handle data rates of 3 Mbits/sec. The built-in location sensing mechanism outputs data in a NMEA0183 v.3.01 format, in order to allow pinpoint accuracy. This can then be incorporated into a variety of software applications found on the connected computing platform.

The enclosure is designed in a thumb drive format, with dimensions 60.3 × 20.3 × 12.3 mm with an LED to indicate operational use. It has a temperature range that spans -40°C to 85°C and sensitivity as low as -163 dBm, enabling it to be utilised in a broad cross section of industrial, as well as consumer, application scenarios. FT-X-GPS has a single unit price of $49.00.

A complete application note describing the module, circuitry, and software support has been created; AN_216 - Using the FT230X to Design a GPS Dongle - available at: