Thingsee: Weatherproof Streaming GPS & Environment Sensor

An Introduction to Thingsee

Working with electronics and getting your project streaming data is so fun and rewarding. But what about when you want to put it outside? Or don’t have access to WiFi? Or, heaven forbid, don’t want to struggle through debugging code and one-off solutions?

Well have no fear because the Thingsee One is here.


Slightly larger than a Raspberry Pi, the Thingsee One comes with built-in temperature, humidity, pressure, and luminosity sensors in addition to an accelerometer and magnetometer. GPS and WiFi are conveniently built-in, but the best part is that the device can also take a SIM card for cellular connectivity.


Looking at the device, you can also tell that it’s made to take a beating and still function. The Thingsee One is weatherproof (take that, Water, feared adversary of electronics!), impact-tested, and has killer battery life.

The Thingsee platform, Thingsee Creator, lets you connect to and program your device just by plugging it into your computer. Once you’ve got the wireless settings setup, you can program your device from anywhere! The “programming” is also done in a very nice GUI environment that still lets you get to the code if you really want to.


Thingsee Creator organizes your devices and then allows you to create or use sample “Purposes”. These can be things like a speeding alert, a temperature logger, or a theft alarm when something leaves a geofence. You then save these purposes to your device and either log the events to the device or to the Thingsee cloud.

We’re telling you about the Thingsee today, though, because they’ve partnered with Initial State to bring you a complete IoT solution for rapid prototyping and large-scale implementation. Smart Hardware + an Intuitive Dashboard = Win.


Image credit: Thingsee by Haltian

Connecting the Thingsee One to Initial State

Now the Thingsee One by itself is a weatherproof GPS and environment sensor that can port data to local storage or the Thingsee cloud. But the Thingsee One with Initial State becomes a real-time dashboard that also provides access to historical data and powerful analytics tools. Plus, we have a cool map.


The first thing we need to do is create an Initial State bucket to send our Thingsee data to. Just go to Thingsee’s Initial State dashboard page, using your device’s serial number to login, and look at the top of the bucket shelf on the left side of the page. Click the +cloud icon to create a new streaming bucket.
Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 3.33.56 PM

Check the “Configure Endpoint Keys” checkbox as shown above to expose all of the options. Name your bucket whatever you’d like – the important parameter here is the Bucket Key. Copy this key for later and click “Create” at the bottom of the shelf.

Note: If you ever need to look at your Bucket Key again, just click on the “settings” link underneath your bucket’s name in the shelf

Now for configuring your Thingsee device. Currently this must be done manually – in the future, this will be possible using Thingsee Creator.

In order to initially edit your Thingsee, you need to plug the device into your computer’s USB port. So go through the cool unboxing process, plug the Thingsee in, and look for it in your devices.


If you’re using WiFi to connect, you don’t need to do anything further. If you are planning on using a cellular connection, you’ll need to follow these instructions to install your SIM card.

The Thingsee uses 3 important files: device.jsn, cloud.jsn, and profile.jsn. The device.jsn file is used for associating your device with the Thingsee cloud (done through their platform). The cloud.jsn file is used to specify connection settings like WiFi and cellular. The profile.jsn file is used to tell the device what sensors to read and how often. Both the cloud.jsn and profile.jsn files are usually created by using Thingsee Creator’s visual coding, but seeing as the current integration with Initial State is in Beta, we will be editing them manually.


Copy-paste the file below into a text editor:

We need to make a few changes to this file:

  • On line 10, replace YOUR-BUCKET-KEY with the Bucket Key from the bucket you created earlier.
  • On line 13, replace YOUR-ACCESS-KEY with the Access Key that appears at the bottom of your bucket’s settings page. You can also find your Access Key at the bottom of your “Manage My Account” page.
  • On line 24, replace YOUR-OPERATORS-APN with your SIM card’s APN. If you are using WiFi, replace lines 22-27 with this instead:

    "wifiConnections": [
     "ssid": "YOUR-NETWORK-SSID",
     "encryption": "wpa2",
     "password": "YOUR-NETWORK-PASSWORD",
     "connectionId": 1

    And replace YOUR-NETWORK-SSID and YOUR-NETWORK-PASSWORD with the WiFi name and password.

Save this edited file to your Thingsee device as cloud.jsn (and, yes, we want to overwrite the previous cloud.jsn file).


This file can be still generated and downloaded in Thingsee Creator so that you are measuring what you want. The only sensor ID that is not currently available in the Creator, is the combined latitude and longitude reading with sensor ID 0x00010700 (this format is required to work inside of Initial State’s maps tile).

Below is an example profile.jsn file that measures everything except for impact at an interval of 10 seconds:

You’ll probably want to increase the polling interval (measured in milliseconds) to something more like every minute or every 5 minutes.

Save this edited file to your Thingsee device as profile.jsn.

Update Thingsee Software

In order to update your Thingsee software version, you need to save this file to your device:

Click to download update.oci file

Now eject your Thingsee device. You should see it start creating a backup and updating.

Once it’s finished, you’ll be streaming!

Viewing your Thingsee One Data

The super fun part about this project is that the Thingsee is super mobile and easy to turn on and off.

The first thing I did was stick it on the dashboard in my car while I drove from Asheville, NC, back to Nashville, TN:

I changed the polling interval from every 10 seconds to every minute (60000 ms). You can see that over 2 and a half hours of driving, the battery level only went down 10%.

Ground speed is measured in m/s, so if you do the conversion, I was going 70-80mph for most of the trip. That little dip in the middle is when I stopped for gas!

The temperature (in C) is a bit high, but I think it’s because I had the device on the dashboard up by my windshield.

To get some better data, I actually attached the Thingsee to my license plate…


It worked like a champ, and the temperature came out much more accurately. I drove around for a little bit with it streaming every 5 minutes.

I used Initial State’s Waves view to convert my speed from m/s to mph – you can see looking at the bumps in the sparkline that I was doing a lot of stop-and-go driving because it was rush hour and the traffic was awful.

I used Stats to check out my average drive speed. Surprisingly the average was still 42mph! I guess the traffic wasn’t as bad as it felt while I was in it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

If you want to try out the Thingsee + Initial State integration, you can read more and sign up here!

Visualize GPS & Environment Data from the Thingsee

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