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On the extreme end, if you live in the countryside you can replace GPS entirely using celestial navigation/star tracking. This is commonly used for rockets and satellites but right now if you own a truck or pickup you can easily go completely off-grid by mounting a lens on the rooftop. E.g. http://nova.astrometry.net/

For implementing the system on an embedded device e.g. toy drone, raspberry pi etc., the main data structure you want is a k-d tree together with some sort of evergreen star chart (it doesn't have to be extremely evergreen, current astronomy libraries can easily predict orbits for a couple decades without significant skew/deviation unless you are are aiming for centimeter level geolocation accuracy).

For the hardware you can either use existing consumer-grade stuff followed by a ton of image processing with ML as suggested above or you can use a industrial grade tracker which easily exceeds 4 figures.


It's a pretty fun weekend project. Here are some links to get started:

https://github.com/mrhooray/kdtree-rs https://github.com/astronexus/HYG-Database/blob/master/READM...

Instead of jacking up your truck, add celestial nav to it. Nothing screams freedom and independence more than cutting dependency on state-funded satellite systems. Caveats: needs more signal processing during daytime, fallback to inertia navigation when it is cloudy.

Rockets and LEO satellites often use GPS these days because it's easier, but, I am impressed by this diy startracker.

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