GPS fun

You know a something’s really fun to play with when it makes you go jogging, after weeks of (exercise) inactivity.

I’ve been playing with the GPS function of my new phone for quite a few days now, initially just to locate myself on the Singapore map, but more recently with turn-by-turn voice navigation, albeit with simple familiar routes. That in itself was already rather entertaining – perhaps it was just the novelty of it all, but I do think voice navigation is pretty useful, especially for someone who’s really bad with directions (such as myself). After all, why bother researching how to go somewhere if you don’t go there often?

The fun factor really scaled up, however, upon discovering Nokia Sports Tracker. I was trying to figure out how to chart the path covered using GPS, which struck me as a relatively simple thing to do – the program just needed to keep a log of the calculated location as it changed. The default navigation program wasn’t able to do that, though, and I later found one that was.

Yesterday afternoon, I decided to take a test walk around my neighbourhood, making a trip to Novena Square before turning around and heading home. The data collated was easily uploaded for analysis and easy sharing (click here to see what the interface looks like). Pretty nifty! Now I really wanted to play with it a little more.

So about half an hour later I was out for a run. I wanted to replicate the route I’d used to run before NIE started, since I’ve been curious what the exact distance covered was, and to more thoroughly test the various features of the program.

Sadly, it wasn’t particularly successful. As you can see, although I was out for about 45 minutes, somehow the program stopped gathering data at about 20 minutes. The photos I’d taken along the way (all after 20 minutes) were supposed to be automatically tagged to the map, but as a consequence are all registered as being taken at the last location recorded. I suspect it’s because of the version I was using (changes for the experimental v1.82 include “Fixed a problem with GPS sometimes turning off in the middle of exercise.” – d’oh!)

Strangely enough, the location data is accurate when I examined the photos on my phone, so I assume duplicate (erroneous) copies were created for the program. I managed to upload the geotagged pictures to Picasa (and have their location automatically registered). You can take a quick look at the album (and observe the mapped locations at the right of the picture) – among other things I managed to capture somebody riding a Segway (in Singapore? Seriously?)

CJC running route

I really wish I’d had this capability back in my university days, it’d have been great to chart my running routes in the UK and Japan. Or even my holiday travels. The possibilities are not limited to sports alone – I’ve even read some online comments on people trying it on their airplane flights!

I’ll be trying to map the route of the night cycling event my GESL group has organised tonight, hopefully there’re no glitches this time and my battery somehow manages to last the night!


Posted on November 25, 2008, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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