GPS eXchange files vs Tracking apps

In the past, as a software developer, I was participating in a couple of projects regarding GPS tracking. One was a big project for two companies in Denmark who wanted to have installed "vehicle tracking" system in their cars and trucks along with commercial features, loading, communicating, invoicing etc. One was courier with small handheld GPS capable PDA devices and the other transportation company with large trucks equipped with big PC based cockpit computers. These two projects were very exciting for me, lots of good times with, at the time, new technologies, real time testing, listening people in the field for their wishes, complains and new requests.

Anyway, GPS tracking software is now regular part of smartphones and kind of new entertainment for their users. This weekend we wanted to have small breakfast-picnic at the local waterflow resort and I turned it on when Viktor and I stepped out of the house. We were walking about two kilometers on foot and then waited for Cica and continued by car. Resulting GPX file (simple XML file with all recorded GPS data) I used to input in various online tracking software (check the list of the application at the end of the post) and here are the shots and clips:



Reddish line is our foot travel and zero velocity is those 20 minutes when we waited for the Cica and the car. Then we lifted off, as you can see bellow in the clip. :)

Lots of other data GPS are also there. Altitude is not that accurate as it requires many satellites in the same time above the sky, but just to compare this feature here is the elevation charts (it is intresting mainly because the road was pretty curved and uphill-ed):



When I first got my smartphone I also recorded following GPX video. It is also nice as it shows the trip partially done on freeway. In this video I turned on GPS Logging application on our one hour trip to country side, set it to acquire GPS location every minute while the first video took position every 30 meters of movement.


GPX is just one of the file formats showing GPS data, there are others and also converters between them online, but essentially this is just a XML file and here how it shows one recorded point:

<trkpt lat="43.3279" lon="21.9614">
<ele>274</ele>
<time>2011-01-07T11:16:33.000Z</time>
<Speed>100.8</Speed>
<cmt>I(30s) </cmt>
</trkpt>

I used Samsung Wave with BADA's "GPS Logging" application (I am sure there are plenty similar applicaitons for Android and others), Google Earth to run GPX file and FRAPS to create the video.

Fraps:
http://www.fraps.com/
Google Earth:
http://www.google.com/earth/index.html
BADA GPS Logging:
http://tinyurl.com/6gsnajz

It was fun and little bit geeky, but I enjoyed the whole time. I also learned many new things in the process and of course the main goal was about quality family time we had. Viktor, Cica and I enjoyed the whole time and the only downside was a little bit bad weather and lots of curves on the road that can be little bit unpleasant, especially for Viktor after he mixed milk and juice in the same time (it was bad for car's back seat too).


Here are some more useful links I used to generate this post:

GPS Visualizer:
http://www.gpsvisualizer.com/
uTrack:
http://utrack.crempa.net/
GPS eXchange format:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPS_eXchange_Format


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