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GPS for DS

I have connected a Lassen iQ GPS module to my serial interface.

Maps are downloaded from Google Maps servers with a small script. Google maps consist of 128×128 pixel tiles.  You have to specify your address, so that map tiles around your area are downloaded. There is also a parameter for number of tiles you want. Zoom levels are possible but require to have a few tile-sets, one for each zoom level.

EDIT: Note that maps are downloaded to the CF card using the computer. DS WiFi is not reverse engineered yet. 

GBAMP (GBA Movie Player) is used to store the program and data on a CompactFlash card (special thanks to chishm and DarkFader). Number of tiles is only limited by memory size of CF card.

gps-whole.jpg gps-screens.jpg

Here is the CF folder for a map around my area consisting of 64 google tiles. I used this for testing. As you see, tiles are just ordinary GIF images.


If you are wondering, there is a formula to go from latitude and longitude (which are provided by GPS) to Google tile number.

Code will be published later after a few things are cleaned up a bit :)

94 Responses to “GPS for DS”

  1. AndrewNeo Says:

    Wow, this stuff is just amazing. It’s making me regret the fact I went for wifime instead of a PassMe.. I have a USB 2.0 802.11g adapter, and seeing how you got the bluetooth to work, I wouldn’t be suprised if the same could be achieved with 802.11..

  2. Alan Gerow Says:

    This is precisely what I was waiting for. I’m anxiously awaiting for more info.

  3. parrot Says:

    The fact that you can connect almost anything to DS rocks 😀 When will the library be ready so we can make our own applications to access things like GPS.

  4. Sniper Says:

    You’ve outdone yourself yet again, good work. All we need now is a way of connecting a phone line to it for use as a tone phone 😛 (just an idea)

  5. Mr. Picklesworth Says:

    The PassMe is a very worthwhile invention :)
    It’s turned out to be a good thing that Nintendo made homebrew developers have to do this, because otherwise this wouldn’t have ever happened so quickly…

    This is amazing. Keep up the good work!
    How much do those gps modules cost, anyway?

  6. Darth_tater Says:

    i like the idea of useing it as a tone phone but that would require a lot of excess hardware 2 limit the voltages (when the phone rings the line voltage is almost 110v ac!)

    but y not use the wifi and a port of skype ( i think that would be better!

  7. Sniper Says:

    Well Darth, first you would have to get the wifi to work… and that in itself would be a challange and a half… which is why there is a $1700 bounty on it 😛

    Also, 110V AC is a little extream, i believe normal current is around 2v and jumps to around 6v when it rings… There is no way those copper lines would support such high voltages.

  8. fabrizio Says:

    very interesting project, I am interested in the google map download script and in using google maps for GPS application. please if someone is interested in that, contact me at
    PS Dovoto, please contact me !

  9. Darth_tater Says:

    autualy google the voltages and you will see that it is 90-110 ONLY when it rings
    around 6 when a conversation is taking place

    and i know there is a large bounty on the wifi..this was another thing for developers 2 get thinking about… maby another bounty? or increase the expectations for the wifi bounty or add another catagory 2 the bounty…

    maby a bounty on the first one 2 sned a text/ audio message over the internet (pictochat with audio over the internet)

    befire i get any flaming email/posts here i know this is a VERY LARGE feat
    just saying…wouldnt it be cool

  10. Sniper Says:

    I guess i stand corrected on the phone voltages. Cheers.

  11. dboi Says:

    Way cool! Natrium you can also use it to update the real time clock!

  12. 4 color rebellion » DS GPS Says:

    […] t. Zoom levels are possible but require to have a few tile-sets, one for each zoom level. Natrium42’s Site Submitter: lstr Nick – 08.04.05 | […]

  13. Command-Tab Says:

    GPS Goodies

    If you’re interested in developing applications which make use of GPS hardware, be sure to cehck out Sparkfun. They sell all sorts of parts, including tiny GPS receivers, cellular and Bluetooth communications modules, development boards, LCDs, …

  14. DScene » GPS para NDS Says:

    […] GPS para NDS

    Agosto 4th, 2005

    Natrium nos cuenta en su weblog que ha conseguido conectar un GPS a través del dispositivo serie que creó hace un tiempo usando l […]

  15. The N Project: » Archive » Never get lost again: GPS for the DS Says:

    […] are on a great moment and the projects will just keep on growing hopefully. Now we have a GPS for the DS. It uses Google Maps to get the information and images of the adress you want. It has some lim […]

  16. Bio XD » Archivo » GPS para el DS Says:

    […] salir juegos que aprovechen esta característica y pueden analizar como funciona. Link | Natrium 42 Vía | The N Project No se encontraron temas de interes relacionados […]

  17. liquitt Says:

    Natrium, this one definetly rocks! Hope this will get big so it can be used via WiFi or a cartridge that features e.g. whole Europe, this would be stunning :)

  18. Morpeth Says:

    Good one! I posted about it here:

    I’d be interested in you contacting me – head over to my blog and look for the contact info section – my email is there. I think we’re in the same city and I wouldn’t mind checking this out for myself! :)

    Morpeth – over at Google Maps Mania. :)

  19. derek Says:

    This is way over my head, but it’s still amazing.

    Can you actually assign the DS buttons and or touch screen to act as a pan/zoom function for the GPS?

    That would be wicked.

  20. Coockie Says:

    Wow, Its Is INCRIBLE!
    But, Im dont have a DS… :(

  21. neon Says:


  22. cause TIC » GPS over DS Says:

    […] 8/8/2005 GPS over DS Classé dans: General — site admin @ 1:09 pm Un hack pas si idiot que cela: un module GPS connecté à une DS gavée de données google map et voici une n […]

  23. HtheB Says:


    I REALLY NEED ONE 😀 hehehe :)

    can it be so, that he can find gps devices with bluetooth? (offcourse you will need a bluetooth chip in it 😉 )

    but is it be possible? 😀

  24. Wilkins Says:

    Yo that junk is so freakin hot i need one of those

  25. Aaron Says:

    You should talk with this guy I have a GBA Movie player, but I don’t want to make a JTAG or buy a passme. I have a bunch of GBA link cables laying around, so if you two could “merge” these two projects, that would be awesome.

  26. natrium42 Says:

    Aaron, I already sent this guy my site.
    DS doesn’t have a serial port like the GBA does, so no hardware can be shared.
    I also don’t see that his software does anything more than what I have.

  27. Aaron Says:

    I realize that the DS doesn’t have a serial port, I was just wonting your GPS connection solution (I have a Pharos GPS-360) with the Google maps and GBA movie player that he is using.

  28. natrium42 Says:

    Any GPS receiver can be connected as long as it has a serial port with NMEA output. If the serial port uses RS232 levels, a level converter is needed.

    EDIT: Actually I looked at Mikhails site again, and the Pharaos has internal CMOS-level serial port, so no level converter is needed.

  29. Aaron Says:

    so will your software work on the GBA (so I don’t have to make the Passme/Serial Adapter)?

  30. parrot Says:

    No I don’t think it will. I mean it uses both screens :p

  31. natrium42 Says:

    Aaron, it’s possible to port. Right now I read files from CF card, but it could use GBFS instead and run in GBA mode. Also, the screen mode has to be changed since I use mode 5 with 16-bit color.

    When I opensource it, somebody could definitely port it… It’s not a whole lot of code to go through.

  32. jens Says:

    Awesome :)

  33. Aaron Says:

    This is what happens when you are doing too many things at once. After reading back on my posts I realized that I mistyped a few things. What I meant to say was I was just wanting HIS GPS connection solution (GPS to the GBA Link connector) with the Google maps and GBA movie player solution that YOU are using.

    I guess I will just wait on a port to GBA… or I may break down and get a Passme card and a serial connector (or go all out and go Bluetooth)

  34. Haja Says:

    Where can i buy it?

  35. Ethos Says:

    lol, thought I recognized the spot in the map.

    Ole ‘Loo

  36. Mat Says:

    Are you intending to sell prebuilt GPS things to put in the DS slot?

  37. kenny Says:

    How thick is the passme?
    need this info to make one my own.
    p.s. info need precise!
    p.p.s. if theres any spelling mistakes sorry i’m danish.

  38. Pixel y Dixel » Un GPS en tu DS Says:

    […] de nunca acabar. Cada día, descubrimos más y más utilidades, curiosidades o experimentos. Alexei Karpenko, ha desarrollado un doble hack, por un lado un script capaz de descargar los mapas de Google […]

  39. nick Says:


  40. nick Says:

    hey yall thsi looks pretty ghetto fabulous so i just wanted to say that my brother conor is totally awesome

  41. tuxtux Says:

    i think it can’t work n but it’s usable

  42. NEILYOUNG Says:


  43. natrium42 Says:

    It’s possible with some code modification. But you would have to rewrite the whole GBA flashcart each time you want to add or replace map tiles.

  44. Leo Says:

    Will you publish the code soon please, I want to play around with this :)

  45. Rohan Says:

    wow im very impressed with this hack i have been doing similar stuff but didnt get it to work cant wait to see your code and get this up and running on my DS

  46. Steve Says:

    Hey, very impressive work, yet again. Keep up the good work, i hope to have a little play around with some of this when i get time.

  47. Bananers Says:

    Hey Can my linksys work for wifi, im not reallly bright and some more info is its a 802.11b wireless router that i need help knowing if itll work

  48. Yohanz Says:

    Good job man

  49. fabrizio Says:

    when do you think you will release the source of your code running on GBAMP? can you please point me to some example of similar code for the GBAMP.

  50. x2l2 Says:

    please, can you post the script? i think is very useful get google maps to my gp32 or any pda , etc…

  51. Karpenko Alexey Says:

    Hi all. I’m 12 years.I live in Ukraine
    It is interesting and the durability it GPS of the device is great?
    Because if to go прогулятся with it there is a probability to fall and as a result khan GPS.

  52. Karpenko Alexey Says:

    I’m sorry.
    прогулятся – to walk

  53. Karpenko Alexey Says:


  54. TecnoBló Says:

    […] am | Por Navi | En Consolas y Videojuegos | | TrackBack Según leemos en Natrium42, han conseguido conectar un módulo GPS y usar mapas de google maps guardados en una c […]

  55. swimgod Says:

    hello, this project is very intresting and when looking at it i thought a great idea(in my oppion)
    why use google maps? when you have a better way to get map data
    and sat. imagery
    NASA World Wind
    it uses basic jpeg online in a huge data base and maps it on sphere
    (like google earth, but has the abillity to access raw image data files)
    with nasa’s data we can actually map a ball inside the DS
    and pin point your position on THE WORLD
    and even rotate the world and zoom in
    also makes more sense to lower the zoom levels and have the ds resize images instead

    well anyway lot of ideas that can be used in these great inventions combined
    maybe you can sell a pass me mod to make it easy to attach use the gps moddule(i would buy it ;))


  56. Digitalnived Says:

    Hello! I am very interested in all homebrew gaming and hardware hacks. I’ve searched on google and found lots of websites but then the articles confuse me because they just assume you know things. Can someone please give me links to some beginner homebrew and hack sites I don’t care what system or what hardware I’m just trying to learn about programming and circuit boards. Please email me at Thank you.

  57. Bob Says:

    I have windowes xp on my ds

  58. hi・ジェームズの日記 » Blog Archive » WOW Says:

    […] . « Year of the Dogg WOW From Mike: GPS on DS This entry was posted on Saturday, January 28th, 2006 at 10 […]

  59. hi・ジェームズの日記 » Blog Archive » WOW Says:

    […] . « Year of the Dogg WOW From Mike: GPS on DS This entry was posted on Saturday, January 28t […]

  60. SSJGOKU24 Says:

    Where Can i get files to do this, I would like to make my own, Thanks

  61. Java Says:

    please, can you post the script? i think is very useful get google maps to my gp32 or any pda , etc…

  62. Xanax Says:

    I have windowes xp on my ds

  63. justin fentress Says:


  64. M0DeSTix Says:

    It is certainly interesting!
    Типа интересно мне, что же дальше?

  65. loro Says:

    i got a ds but psp kick ass

  66. Laarven Says:

    Windows XP ? o0 could u explay more plz… the way awesome stuff natrium42^^

  67. surfeur Says:

    oué cool je veu le méme but,imdont have a DS :( sniffffff

  68. surfeur Says:

    😉 :) :

  69. woorant Says:

    Hi! can you post your source code plz? i’m very interested!

    Thx a lot!

  70. tom Says:


  71. pgblr Says:

    I have published source code and schematics for a GBA GPS using the Trimble Lassen iQ module – it uses Trimble’s proprietary TSIP binary protocol at 9600baud to communicate with the GPS module.

    check out

  72. Danald Says:

    Realmente tengo gusto de este Web site. Usted todo ha hecho un buen trabajo.

  73. Savien Says:

    Very interesting, I have a DS Lite and I am very interested in putting GPS on it.
    This system looks like a very good one. Do you have details on exactly how to make this system and have you finalized the source code?
    I appreciate and help, thanks again.

  74. DS rocks(screen name) Karl(real name) Says:

    I think youve out done your self again. All the DS needs now is an internet so you can go to web sites. Your a genius

  75. Everyone Says:

    Any more updates or software releases, instructions….etc….???

  76. Jesse Says:

    Haha Grey Silo Golf Course. RIM park!

  77. nemol Says:

    This is interesting natrium has not made any other mention to this gps thing how ever someone did make a real gps for gba…which i think natrium got that idea. from him.

  78. natrium42 Says:

    Your point being?

    Please use real sentences…

  79. 2faraway from anywere Says:

    i want to upgrade my ds but have only little money

  80. dubmachine Says:

    Any news when your serial adapter will be available? GPS would be awesome.

  81. Gwech Says:

    The original post is more than a year old.
    Is there any update on this GPS hack?
    A finished product would be great but just access to the projet would be good :)

  82. Fan of Don Lapre Says:

    I don’t have any problem till now…and yours a good job indeed….that made think about ours one…..

    Fan of Don Lapre

  83. Nino Small Says:

    Hi all
    Please use real sentences…

  84. ummm Says:

    So…, has this code been published anywhere yet?

    I want to build a gps for my ds lite, but i have two questions:
    a) Where/ When will we have acces to the code (if ever)?
    b) How do i download the individual tiles from google maps?


  85. joseph Says:

    i want to build a gps for my ds lite!
    how can i do?
    how components and software may i use?

  86. VALENTINE Says:


  87. MunkeY_MaN Says:

    How do i get the maps on the CFC.
    And when i do what do i do with it

  88. james Says:

    i got this great idea there is this great tracking device used for tracking a person kind of small kind of range limired if we put these 2 technologies together the possibilities are endless

  89. Mark Says:

    how do you get the maps? are they images or does a program runs them?

  90. Romano Says:

    Any news about this?

  91. GPS blog Says:

    Sir,any news about GPS?

  92. gps hobby Says:

    GPS Mice, aka “Smart Antennas”, are complete GPS receivers without a user-interface. They are also connected to your pocketPC by a cable and get their power from the pocketPC, but you can not use them independently, without the pocketPC.

  93. Ryan Says:

    I have been doing a bit of research into this, and I was wondering if it is possible to connect a Trimble Copernicus GPS module into the Slot-2 of the DS (the Trimble Copernicus is the same brand as the one you are using above).

    This would be really good because it would allow all those people who have a slot-1 flash card to run GPS software with a gps in slot 2.

    It would also give you more room to put a GPS unit in (the Trimble Copernicus is only 2cm by 2cm by 2.5 mm), allowing a closed unit to be made, and therefore expanding the practicallity of this project.

    Also, are you planning to release your source code for the GPS app? If so is it possible to integrate DLDI so it can be used with a slot-1 card?

  94. Kev Says:

    Can’t you see he’s never going to post the code?

    Come on. More than 3 years have passed. Wi-Fi is cracked. A new DS, the DS-i has been made. GIVE UP, HE’S NOT RELEASING THE CODE!!!!!!!

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