Posts Tagged ‘gps’

MyMotion – GPS Tracking in Action

July 30, 2008 2 comments

Well, I put MyMotion through a decent workout on Sunday – tracking my team’s position along a 60 mile bike ride from London to Cambridge. And as you can see, it did pretty well.

Where have you been?!?

Where have you been?!?

I chose to export the routes to KML for now – included in the KMLs are the route – which thanks to my Kaiser’s GPS receiver, seem pretty accurate – and also pushpins for the distance and time intervals I set, which were 0.5km and every 90 seconds. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get more of the instantaneous speed information out by exporting to a more ‘purist’ GPS format, but for now, it’s quite cool being able to retrace the route we took the other day… and it was clear and sunny then, as well.

As for the stability – this has always been a problem, since running reliably for hours on end in the background isn’t something anyone who knows Windows Mobile would expect to happen. For this reason I saved and restarted the logging 3 times. And – two of the runs completed successfully. The middle route stopped half-way through, meaning I lost around 15 miles of the 60 in the middle of the route. Still – not as bad as you would expect. Turning off the Auto-Start/Auto-Stop settings on MyMotion seems to help as well.

WMMiniGPS Review – tryout

June 23, 2008 Leave a comment

Windows Mobile Mini GPS ScreenshotI’ve been looking for a way to standardise the way I record my training runs. I’ve used, and for the London Marathon a few years back I used my wristwatch, checking off mile markers that I’d identified previously on Google Maps.

They both worked reasonably well, but in this age of mobile-phone-does-everything-ness, couldn’t I use my Windows Mobile HTC TYTN II with in-built GPS to track my runs?

Well – yes, and no. I’ve found a great app to datalog the GPS data as I travel – basically, exactly what’s needed. WMMiniGPS is a satisfyingly lightweight app that just logs your GPS feed – that’s all you need, and that’s all it does. It also exports to .GPX and .KML for Google Earth, which is really useful. The screen shows real-time GPS info, including speed and position. Fantastic.

And here’s my run on Google Earth. Looks good, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, it’s just a track – I can’t see any way of drilling down into the data points to read speed and position – I suspect the export simplifies it to just Lat/Long coordinates, and loses the rest. So – my hopes of harnessing whatever statistical analysis tools that are out there for measuring average speed, speed over distance, etc. could be dashed. I’ll have to investigate further.

The other thing is that, of course, you need to leave your mobile on while you’re logging the course – so a change of settings to disable my auto sleep mode, and lock the touchscreen before setting off, were necessary.

Still – potentially, a very useful, simple app; simple, effective, DoesWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Try it out!

TYTN II is still here

March 20, 2008 Leave a comment

Well, this one’s a keeper!

A couple of months after getting my TYTN II, it’s still gracing (rather than “bulging from”) my pocket. It’s not a huge step up from the TYTN – indeed, it’s not really worth upgrading, unless the few hundred quid you’ll spend is worth it for these bonuses:

That 128MB does make the difference! I’m having the strange kind of experience I used to have on my P910i, where I’d check my running tasks, and find some big app (like Opera Mini, or the web browser), happy sat in the background, and I hadn’t even realised. On the TYTN I, having more than 2 large apps would lead to out-of-memory problems, but the TYTN II now seems comfortable enough to let you get on with things, without micro-managing.

Again – is actually useful. Not that taking out a separate Bluetooth GPS and switching it on was that big a deal, but there was often the “Oh, it’s unpaired; Ah, there’s some COM port error; Eek, the battery’s flat”. With the TYTN II, you select GPS in the app, and it just works. “Nice!”

Keyboard works during calls
Yes, you read correctly! Or maybe you never even noticed.. But the TYTN I would only allow numeric characters to be typed on the keypad during calls – making it useless for writing notes while on a Bluetooth headset. All OK in the TYTN II.

I never thought I’d say it, but it is a small bonus: resting the phone on your desk/breakfast table, and tilting the screen up to read. I never thought it’d be useful, but it is. And it does allow 2-4 fingered typing; I’m not yet as fast as when using my thumbs blackberry-style, but it is an alternative.

Genuinely better than the TYTN – and I’m not talking about just having ‘Sharpness’ turned off in the camera settings. The picture is still a little sharp, with flat colours, but it is better than the TYTN. However, due to the terrible frame rate, with the blurry, jerky image on the pre-photo ‘viewfinder’ screen, it’s always a pleasant surprise to see that the photo isn’t as bad as the preview was. It also works surprisingly well in low light – I mean, really surprisingly not bad for something that is basically a pocket computer with a camera as an afterthought.

And on the downside? Simple:

It’s on the wrong side! Really, it is… for a right-hander. Unless you’re one of the 10% that the TYTN II seems to have been designed for, you’ll have to fumble the stylus from one hand to the other, somehow. Two months later, and I’ve still not found it to be as easy as the TYTN I

As before… except now the case is sleek enough that I don’t want to bolt a 3000mAh brick onto the back of my phone. So it lives on the end of my laptop or a pocket USB charger whenever possible.

Those people talking about the slow drivers? They’ve got a point… the view you see on the viewfinder screen will be nothing like the photo that’s actually taken. (Fortunately, the photo itself is usually better!)

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