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Traccar, a free GPS tracking system

After having heard about a DIY tracking system for hikes made by a member of a dutch boy scouts group, I started looking on the internet for readily available solutions. The DIY gear was not really expensive but factory made trackers, as they are called, were so cheap (about 30 euro) that DIY was more than twice as expensive... Same applies for the web application to actually follow the tracker device. Ample research showed the Traccar project by Anton Tananaev. It has support for hundreds of types of trackers (clients) and has a web UI to see and follow the position of the tracker on a map. The Traccar server is written in Java and may be installed on Windows (as a service) or Linux. There is a Traccar client for portable devices.

Server installation

Just folllow the installation instructions on the official Traccar site. The Windows service worked without any problem on W1indows 10. The Linux version needs a version 8 Java Run Environment. Ubuntu 16.04.1 seems to install a version 9 JRE but Traccar is only tested with version 8. Make sure that the right JRE is referenced. OpenJDK will do fine but do use a version 8 flavour. Changes to the symlinks in /etc/alternatives may be needed. YMMV. The UI can be accessed on <server-ip>:8082. The clients communicate on ports in the 5000-50xx range, depending on the protocol spoken by the client.

The site runs on the server called Ubuntu. Start/stop as a service:

service traccar start
service traccar stop


Android client installation

The Android Traccar client can be found in the Play Store. Set the configuration for traccar server-ip and port and switch on. Config on my Moto G:

Server status: off

Toestel ID: 150004
Serverpoort: 5055
Versleuteling: uit
Frequentie: 30 seconden
Afstand: 0 meter
Hoek: 0 graden
Locatie Provider: GPS

Server status On om de client te starten.

China TK106

This cheap tracker uses the XeXun protocol. Atleast, the traccar server decodes what comes in on port 5006. The TK106 is configured via SMS:

123456begin, to reset to factory standards

123456apn, to configure KPN APN  

123456adminip 5006, to set address and port of traccar server

123456gprsdata 1, do not send base station (unclear what is means but the HEX message is cleaner)

123456t030s***n, start transmitting each 30 seconds (030), forever (***). Use upto 999 to limit the number of transmissions.

After this sequence, the tracker is active. To stop transmissions send:

123456tmno to stop transmissions

To configure an authorized telephone number use:

123456admin +316xxxxxxxx, to set an authorized telephone number. Password is not needed anymore
123456password 654321 to set another password

123456monitor call the tracker with voice call to open the line

123456tracker to resume tracker operation



Out of the box, the Traccar server uses an H2 database, which is fine for a small number of clients. For more reliable and scalable storage, MySQL or another DB-engine is advised. Instructions can be found in the documetation.

Alternative UI

There is a fork of Traccar with an enhanced web UI by Vitaly Litvak. This requires some changes in the Taccar server config. All information can be found on these pages.