Meshtastic is an open-source hiking, pilot, skiing, Signal app-extending GPS mesh communicator.
Meshtastic is a project that lets you use inexpensive ($30 ish) GPS radios as an extensible, super long battery life mesh GPS communicator. These radios are great for hiking, skiing, paragliding - essentially any hobby where you don’t have reliable internet access. Each member of your private mesh can always see the location and distance of all other members and any text messages sent to your group chat.
The radios automatically create a mesh to forward packets as needed, so everyone in the group can receive messages from even the furthest member. The radios will optionally work with your phone, but no phone is required.Our device code is here, our optional Android app is here.
Prebuilt binaries are included on the github sites, but it is quite easy to build from source. Instructions are included in the README. No soldering is required, essentially - buy a $30 radio and go. We'd love to have your help extending the project - it has been super fun to work on. :-)
- Outdoor sports where cellular coverage is limited. (Hiking, Skiing, Boating, Paragliding, Gliders etc..)
- Applications where closed source GPS communicators just won’t cut it (it is easy to add features for glider pilots etc…)
- Secure long-range communication within groups without depending on cellular providers
- Finding your lost kids ;-)
Not all of these features are fully implemented yet - see below. But they should be in by the time we decide to call this project beta (three months?)
- Very long battery life (should be about eight days with the beta software)
- Built in GPS and LoRa radio, but we manage the radio automatically for you
- Long range - a few miles per node but each node will forward packets as needed
- Shows direction and distance to all members of your channel
- Directed or broadcast text messages for channel members
- Open and extensible codebase supporting multiple hardware vendors - no lock in to one vendor
- Communication API for bluetooth devices (such as our Android app) to use the mesh. So if you have some application that needs long range low power networking, this might work for you.
- Eventually (within a couple of months) we should have a modified version of Signal that works with this project.
- Very easy sharing of private secured channels. Just share a special link or QR code with other users and they can join your encrypted mesh
This project is currently in early alpha - if you have questions please join our chat.
This software is 100% open source and developed by a group of hobbyist experimenters. No warranty is provided, if you’d like to improve it - we’d love your help. Please post in the chat.
- 03/06/2020 - too many updates since last update. See our group chat. Android app and device code both pretty solid now.
- 02/25/2020 - 0.0.4 of the Android app is released. This is a very early alpha, see below to join the alpha-testers group.
- 02/23/2020 - 0.0.4 release. Still very bleeding edge but much closer to the final power management, a charged T-BEAM should run for many days with this load. If you’d like to try it, we’d love your feedback. Click here for instructions.
- 02/20/2020 - Our first alpha release (0.0.3) of the radio software is ready for early users.
If you want the bleeding edge app now, we’d love to have your help testing. Three steps to opt-in to the alpha- test:
- Join this Google group with the account you use in Google Play.
- Go to this URL to opt-in to the alpha test.
- If you encounter any problems or have questions, post in our gitter chat and we’ll help.
If you’d like to help with development, the source code is on github.
We currently support two brands of radios. The TTGO T-Beam and the Heltec LoRa 32. Most users should buy the T-Beam and a 18650 battery (total cost less than $35). Make sure to buy the frequency range which is legal for your country. For the USA, you should buy the 915MHz version. Getting a version that include a screen is optional, but highly recommended.
Instructions for installing prebuilt firmware can be found here.
This project is still pretty young but moving at a pretty good pace. Not all features are fully implemented in the current alpha builds.Most of these problems should be solved by the beta release:
- We don’t make these devices and they haven’t been tested by UL or the FCC. If you use them you are experimenting and we can’t promise they won’t burn your house down ;-)
- Encryption is turned off for now
- A number of (straightforward) software work items have to be completed before battery life matches our measurements, currently battery life is about two days. Join us on chat if you want the spreadsheet of power measurements/calculations.
- The current Android GUI is pretty ugly still
- The Android API needs to be documented better
- The Bluetooth API needs to be documented better
- The mesh protocol is turned off for now, currently we only send packets one hop distant
- No one has written an iOS app yet ;-)