Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

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Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Rob Nickerson
Hi All,

I have been updating the wiki pages about recording, converting and uploading GPS tracks. My aim is to have these 3 pages (record, convert, upload) acting as a nice guide.

== Progress so far ==
1. I updated the "Upload" page [1] to bring it up to date with the fact that GPS data is just one part of the picture. The original page was from a time when aerial imagery and other data sources were not available. I also moved FAQ questions to this page.

2. I rewrote the "Making GPX Tracks" tool to include the fantastic online conversion tool at GPSVisualizer.com (no need to confuse people with GPSBabel software). A simple "how to" for conversion is now prominent at the top of the page. Technical details at the bottom.

== Current project - Where I need your help ==
3. I have started to update the page on recording GPS tracks [3]. This is where I need your help. There are some obvious questions that should be addressed on this page:

* Can I use a iPhone / Android phone? What is the accuracy like? Which Apps are best?
* Where should I record tacks? If the answer is anywhere, then where would you recommend I focus my attention (e.g. rural roads)? Is this the same globally?

What should the page say in regard to these questions? All thoughts welcome.

== Future ==
Really the page titles should be updated to "Recording GPS traces", "Converting GPS traces" and "Uploading GPS traces". How do I move the pages without messing up the language stuff? Is it possible to mass move all translations at the same time?

Regards,
RobJN


[1] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Upload
[2] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Making_GPX_Tracks
[3] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Recording_GPS_tracks

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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Dudley Ibbett
Hi Rob

As a UK countryside mapper using a Blumax and Garmin 62s and JOSM I'd make the following comments:

At this time my personal answer would be almost anywhere (path, tracks, roads etc. etc.).  I also understand that the accuracy of the GPS trace will vary with time due to the position of the satellites (particularly when you're in a valley or on the side of a slope and I guess the same goes for when your in an urban environment.) so recording the same route repeatedly at different times would also be helpful.   When editing having more gps traces certainly gives you greater confidence when drawing and/or adjusting elements.  I suspect the answer to the use of phones, tablets etc is it depends on where/when you're mapping and how good the reception and therefore accuracy is.  I always assumed the 62s would have better accuracy with an external aerial but experience shows that this isn't always the case and sometimes the Blumax, with its internal aerial is better.

My suggestion would be just to encourage people to record and upload gps tracks rather than make any recommendations.

I would also add that the section on PDOP is rather technical for a newbie.  Perhaps this could be moved to a separate wiki page and the answer to the question changed to be more general.   If your GPS has a display then this is more likely to be given as a distance.  I must admit I never bother with this and generally leave determining the accuracy to when I use the traces for editing.  However this only works if you already have map features of other gps traces.  If the trace looks awful in the editor then I also wouldn't upload it.  This work with JOSM but I don't know how this practice would fit with other editors. The section in http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Accuracy is a much better answer to this question but even this could do with some diagrams to go with the text.  I don't know what the rules are about moving or duplicating content on the wiki but as a newbie this is much more useful that PDOP.  I get the impression that satellite numbers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ConstellationGPS.gif) and positioning in the sky is a bigger issue than multipath reflection but might be wrong.  Apparently the latter is less of an issue when moving quickly in a car.  Something to be added to the section on the in vehicles section?

I use the BT747 (http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/BT747) application for talking to the Blumax and converting traces to GPX format. 

Hopefully others will comment as it is good to see these pages being updated and make more user friendly for newbies.

Kind Regards

Dudley




Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2013 13:54:16 +0000
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]; [hidden email]
Subject: [OSM-newbies] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Hi All,

I have been updating the wiki pages about recording, converting and uploading GPS tracks. My aim is to have these 3 pages (record, convert, upload) acting as a nice guide.

== Progress so far ==
1. I updated the "Upload" page [1] to bring it up to date with the fact that GPS data is just one part of the picture. The original page was from a time when aerial imagery and other data sources were not available. I also moved FAQ questions to this page.

2. I rewrote the "Making GPX Tracks" tool to include the fantastic online conversion tool at GPSVisualizer.com (no need to confuse people with GPSBabel software). A simple "how to" for conversion is now prominent at the top of the page. Technical details at the bottom.

== Current project - Where I need your help ==
3. I have started to update the page on recording GPS tracks [3]. This is where I need your help. There are some obvious questions that should be addressed on this page:

* Can I use a iPhone / Android phone? What is the accuracy like? Which Apps are best?
* Where should I record tacks? If the answer is anywhere, then where would you recommend I focus my attention (e.g. rural roads)? Is this the same globally?

What should the page say in regard to these questions? All thoughts welcome.

== Future ==
Really the page titles should be updated to "Recording GPS traces", "Converting GPS traces" and "Uploading GPS traces". How do I move the pages without messing up the language stuff? Is it possible to mass move all translations at the same time?

Regards,
RobJN


[1] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Upload
[2] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Making_GPX_Tracks
[3] http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Recording_GPS_tracks

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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

SomeoneElse
Dudley Ibbett wrote:

My suggestion would be just to encourage people to record and upload gps tracks rather than make any recommendations.

I'd second that (especially in entry-level documentation).  Due to the nature of the dayjob I've recorded a lot of GPS positions with phones, and even different models from one manufacturer can vary from the surprisingly accurate to the fairly abysmal.  About the only generalisation I'd dare make is that the more radios there are in a smaller package, the less accurate they'll be.

The http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GPS_Reviews page is still linked to, and is always going to struggle not to be hopelessly out of date.  You'll always get a more up to date answer by asking in the #OSM IRC channel!

Should "Notes on GPS reception" on http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Recording_GPS_tracks perhaps mention WAAS / EGNOS where it's available, and perhaps that some newer devices support GLONASS as well as GPS?  Perhaps not, or perhaps not on the main page (to avoid confusing new mappers).

Cheers,
Andy


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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Rob Nickerson
In reply to this post by Rob Nickerson
Thanks both,

Good points all round.

The http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GPS_Reviews page is a beast! It's more a catalogue than an buyers guide which I would rather see. I would imagine most people wanting to give GPS mapping a go will look for a low cost entry into it first - hence my questions about GPS on phones. Perhaps if we can get a buyers guide / top 5 list the  taht would be ideal. Help welcome :-)

I'll see how I get on with updating the wiki page on Recording GPS Tracks first.

Rob

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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Dudley Ibbett
The real split here is probably whether you just want to log data or you want to navigate using a gps, whether it is with a map or just following a gpx route you've loaded up.  I would also stick to dedicated gps devices.  There are to many other reasons as to why people buy a particular smart phone or tablet.  Top 5 things to consider when buying a gps perhaps?  I'll post my list when I've had time to think more.
 
Dudley


Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 19:01:28 +0000
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [OSM-newbies] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Thanks both,

Good points all round.

The http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GPS_Reviews page is a beast! It's more a catalogue than an buyers guide which I would rather see. I would imagine most people wanting to give GPS mapping a go will look for a low cost entry into it first - hence my questions about GPS on phones. Perhaps if we can get a buyers guide / top 5 list the  taht would be ideal. Help welcome :-)

I'll see how I get on with updating the wiki page on Recording GPS Tracks first.

Rob

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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Andrew Salzberg
I think this is a great topic to improve.

When I first got into OSM my question was : why not use my phone? Aside from accuracy or any other issues, the best reason I've come up with not to is simply battery life. My garmin will easily last 12 hours, and a simple GPS logger 24 or more.

So in that sense having an answer up front about smartphones vs. GPS units might be very valuable for a newbie (I know it was my first question). Again - I dont have definite proof of accuracy arguments, but the battery one (+ lower cost if you drop your logger in a lake vs. your iphone) seem to me to be the strongest/clearest arguments in favor of dedicated units.

On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 2:25 PM, Dudley Ibbett <[hidden email]> wrote:
The real split here is probably whether you just want to log data or you want to navigate using a gps, whether it is with a map or just following a gpx route you've loaded up.  I would also stick to dedicated gps devices.  There are to many other reasons as to why people buy a particular smart phone or tablet.  Top 5 things to consider when buying a gps perhaps?  I'll post my list when I've had time to think more.
 
Dudley


Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 19:01:28 +0000
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Re: [OSM-newbies] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions


Thanks both,

Good points all round.

The http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GPS_Reviews page is a beast! It's more a catalogue than an buyers guide which I would rather see. I would imagine most people wanting to give GPS mapping a go will look for a low cost entry into it first - hence my questions about GPS on phones. Perhaps if we can get a buyers guide / top 5 list the  taht would be ideal. Help welcome :-)

I'll see how I get on with updating the wiki page on Recording GPS Tracks first.

Rob

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Re: [OSM-talk] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Richard Weait
In reply to this post by Rob Nickerson
On Sat, Jan 19, 2013 at 8:54 AM, Rob Nickerson <[hidden email]> wrote:
Hi All,

I have been updating the wiki pages about recording, converting and uploading GPS tracks. My aim is to have these 3 pages (record, convert, upload) acting as a nice guide.


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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Neil Taylor
In reply to this post by Andrew Salzberg
To pick up on Andrew's point. The battery life we have seen on lower end smartphones (Samsung Galaxy Pocket) deployed in the field (in Cebu in the Philippines) when using GPS to send regular location traces to a server (not OSM, but would be indicative of battery life of doing this) is 3-4 hrs depending on conditions and intensity of use. This is significantly less than 12 - 24 hrs achievable on dedicated devices and means the phone is also useless for anything else you want to do (email, text, phone, music) until you can charge it.

Having lots of spare batteries can overcome this, but is operationally frustrating when working in the field.

Best regards
Neil

Neil Taylor
Associate
Integrated Transport Planning Ltd.
----- Original Message -----
From:Andrew Salzberg <[hidden email]>
To:"[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
Sent:23/01/2013 4:02
Subject:Re: [OSM-newbies] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions




I think this is a great topic to improve.

When I first got into OSM my question was : why not use my phone? Aside from accuracy or any other issues, the best reason I've come up with not to is simply battery life. My garmin will easily last 12 hours, and a simple GPS logger 24 or more.

So in that sense having an answer up front about smartphones vs. GPS units might be very valuable for a newbie (I know it was my first question). Again - I dont have definite proof of accuracy arguments, but the battery one (+ lower cost if you drop your logger in a lake vs. your iphone) seem to me to be the strongest/clearest arguments in favor of dedicated units.

On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 2:25 PM, Dudley Ibbett <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
The real split here is probably whether you just want to log data or you want to navigate using a gps, whether it is with a map or just following a gpx route you've loaded up.  I would also stick to dedicated gps devices.  There are to many other reasons as to why people buy a particular smart phone or tablet.  Top 5 things to consider when buying a gps perhaps?  I'll post my list when I've had time to think more.

Dudley

________________________________
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 19:01:28 +0000
From: [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
To: [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
Subject: Re: [OSM-newbies] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions


Thanks both,

Good points all round.

The http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GPS_Reviews page is a beast! It's more a catalogue than an buyers guide which I would rather see. I would imagine most people wanting to give GPS mapping a go will look for a low cost entry into it first - hence my questions about GPS on phones. Perhaps if we can get a buyers guide / top 5 list the  taht would be ideal. Help welcome :-)

I'll see how I get on with updating the wiki page on Recording GPS Tracks first.

Rob

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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

SomeoneElse
Neil Taylor wrote:
> To pick up on Andrew's point. The battery life we have seen on lower end smartphones (Samsung Galaxy Pocket) deployed in the field (in Cebu in the Philippines) when using GPS to send regular location traces to a server (not OSM, but would be indicative of battery life of doing this) is 3-4 hrs depending on conditions and intensity of use.
3-4 hours does seem a tad low - In my experience (Blackberry 9700)
continual GPS tracking would reduce the battery life (perhaps from 24
hours to 12), but not be anything like to that extent, and not anything
like as much as if I was keeping an eye on the football or cricket
scores.  Maybe it's the "server access" part that brought life down to
3-4 hours?

How often the software's accessing the GPS (in OSM applications it's
going to be "hot" the whole time, in others perhaps not) and other
servers is going to be key - and obviously phones vary in terms of
battery life anyway - bigger/smaller screens, bigger/smaller batteries,
different OSes etc.

Cheers,
Andy


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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Dudley Ibbett
Hi

Battery life and replaceable batteries are likely to be a debate for anyone purchasing a dedicate handheld gps, phone, tablet or logger.  If you need a device that lasts for the longest time possible in the field then having the capacity to replace the batteries is probably going to be the most important consideration.  I don't think this is an option for a tablet but it will be for all the other devices.  There's nothing more annoying that having a device die on you half way through a mapping survey.  If you have the money then a backup logger is a good idea and will enable you to compare gps signals and asses where reception/accuracy might be poor.

Other issue when choosing a device will be whether it is waterproof/showerproof.  Loggers tend not to be but you can just put them in a plastic bag.  I believe you can get waterproof/showerproof phones but if there anything like cameras, in this respect, you will pay a premium.  Waterproof bags are also available for phones.  Dedicated gps navigation devices (i.e. that support navigation and possibly maps) will generally be waterproof and more robust should you drop them as they intended to be used in all types of weather.   

Software compatibility with your operating system can be problematic.  Older devices may not work on the latest version of MS windows and support for Linux and iOS is likely to be more limited.  Third party software such as BT747 may work but I'd always take at a look at the reviews to see if there is useful information on this.

If you want to use your gps to record information against a waypoint then a gps logger should be avoided as they wont do this. They will however record a waypoint and using a cheap digital camera and photomapping is a very easy and much quicker alternative.

The lightest and smallest devices are likely to be gps loggers.  People attach them to the tops of cycle helmets and put them under caps to get good reception.  The size and weight of other types of devices will vary but they are all designed to be held for extended periods.

I think that determining how accurate a device is in terms of its suitability for mapping is quite difficult.  They're all designed to provide an accurate position and I suspect they will provided this if an adequate number of satellites is in view and the satellites are in a broad geometry.   My original Garmin etrex use to loose the gps signal under trees and in narrow valleys.  My Garmin 62s doesn't do this (it has an external aerial) but I'm not entirely convinced that the recorded position is very accurate in these circumstances when it comes to mapping. 

GPS loggers will the cheapest device to purchase.   When you add in priority maps the cost of the other devices can start to really stack up by comparison.  Which brings me to the last point which must be that if your going to have a gps with a screen that supports maps it must surely support OSM maps!!!

Kind Regards

Dudley
 

 

> Date: Sat, 26 Jan 2013 11:08:30 +0000

> From: [hidden email]
> To: [hidden email]
> Subject: Re: [OSM-newbies] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions
>
> Neil Taylor wrote:
> > To pick up on Andrew's point. The battery life we have seen on lower end smartphones (Samsung Galaxy Pocket) deployed in the field (in Cebu in the Philippines) when using GPS to send regular location traces to a server (not OSM, but would be indicative of battery life of doing this) is 3-4 hrs depending on conditions and intensity of use.
> 3-4 hours does seem a tad low - In my experience (Blackberry 9700)
> continual GPS tracking would reduce the battery life (perhaps from 24
> hours to 12), but not be anything like to that extent, and not anything
> like as much as if I was keeping an eye on the football or cricket
> scores. Maybe it's the "server access" part that brought life down to
> 3-4 hours?
>
> How often the software's accessing the GPS (in OSM applications it's
> going to be "hot" the whole time, in others perhaps not) and other
> servers is going to be key - and obviously phones vary in terms of
> battery life anyway - bigger/smaller screens, bigger/smaller batteries,
> different OSes etc.
>
> Cheers,
> Andy
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> newbies mailing list
> [hidden email]
> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/newbies

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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Clifford Snow
Dudley,
You should convert this post into a wiki article. It is well written and contains much needed information.

--
Clifford

OpenStreetMap: Maps with a human touch

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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Robert Helvie
In reply to this post by Rob Nickerson
A small selections of studies on accuracy ...



http://www.paulzandbergen.com/PUBLICATIONS_files/Zandbergen_TGIS_2009.pdf

jama rek,


 
On Fri, Jan 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM, Gerhardus Geldenhuis
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> That's a shame you feel that way. I can't be happier with my Garmin. That
> being said it uses standard AA batteries and gives me the option of setting
> the type of battery, rechargeable or throwaway. A dedicated device should
> potentially be more accurate. but that is an assumption not a fact.

Well, you can have a hybrid arrangement: my phone has GPS built in,
but will also talk to separate GPS receiver over Bluetooth (I think
this is quite a common arrangement for phones with both GPS and
Bluetooth hardware).

__John


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Re: Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions

Sebastian Arcus
In reply to this post by Neil Taylor
I see battery life mentioned quite often in relation to using phones or
tablets for gps recording. One option for extending battery lives on
these devices (maybe not an ideal option, but an option nevertheless) is
the external battery pack. I have what must be the largest universal
external laptop battery pack - at 155Wh. This will power a small
efficient laptop through 10 hours of continuous real-world use - such as
watching dvd's, browsing the Internet over 3G etc. (plus the internal
battery of the laptop on top of that). It is a monster of a battery, at
close to 2Kgs - but it has USB output as well - so it can be strapped to
a tablet or phone (or the other way around, considering the size) - and
it will surely provide days of power for GPS recording.

Now, the above arrangement is a bit over the top in terms of size and
weight - many might argue - but I just thought I'd mention it as an
extra option.

As a side note, I've done GPS recording in the car and even on foot
using the above battery pack, a small laptop and a usb gps receiver. It
is a bit of weight to carry - but I already had all these pieces of
equipment and didn't want to invest into new stuff at the time. If on
foot, I'd recommend having a cheap SSD fitted in the laptop - walking
around with a laptop writing to the hard-disk didn't prove to be a great
idea in the long term :-)

Sebastian




On 26/01/13 02:35, Neil Taylor wrote:

> To pick up on Andrew's point. The battery life we have seen on lower end smartphones (Samsung Galaxy Pocket) deployed in the field (in Cebu in the Philippines) when using GPS to send regular location traces to a server (not OSM, but would be indicative of battery life of doing this) is 3-4 hrs depending on conditions and intensity of use. This is significantly less than 12 - 24 hrs achievable on dedicated devices and means the phone is also useless for anything else you want to do (email, text, phone, music) until you can charge it.
>
> Having lots of spare batteries can overcome this, but is operationally frustrating when working in the field.
>
> Best regards
> Neil
>
> Neil Taylor
> Associate
> Integrated Transport Planning Ltd.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From:Andrew Salzberg <[hidden email]>
> To:"[hidden email]" <[hidden email]>
> Sent:23/01/2013 4:02
> Subject:Re: [OSM-newbies] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions
>
>
>
>
> I think this is a great topic to improve.
>
> When I first got into OSM my question was : why not use my phone? Aside from accuracy or any other issues, the best reason I've come up with not to is simply battery life. My garmin will easily last 12 hours, and a simple GPS logger 24 or more.
>
> So in that sense having an answer up front about smartphones vs. GPS units might be very valuable for a newbie (I know it was my first question). Again - I dont have definite proof of accuracy arguments, but the battery one (+ lower cost if you drop your logger in a lake vs. your iphone) seem to me to be the strongest/clearest arguments in favor of dedicated units.
>
> On Tue, Jan 22, 2013 at 2:25 PM, Dudley Ibbett <[hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>> wrote:
> The real split here is probably whether you just want to log data or you want to navigate using a gps, whether it is with a map or just following a gpx route you've loaded up.  I would also stick to dedicated gps devices.  There are to many other reasons as to why people buy a particular smart phone or tablet.  Top 5 things to consider when buying a gps perhaps?  I'll post my list when I've had time to think more.
>
> Dudley
>
> ________________________________
> Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2013 19:01:28 +0000
> From: [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
> To: [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
> Subject: Re: [OSM-newbies] Wiki documentation on GPS devices - please help answer some questions
>
>
> Thanks both,
>
> Good points all round.
>
> The http://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/GPS_Reviews page is a beast! It's more a catalogue than an buyers guide which I would rather see. I would imagine most people wanting to give GPS mapping a go will look for a low cost entry into it first - hence my questions about GPS on phones. Perhaps if we can get a buyers guide / top 5 list the  taht would be ideal. Help welcome :-)
>
> I'll see how I get on with updating the wiki page on Recording GPS Tracks first.
>
> Rob
>
> _______________________________________________ newbies mailing list [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]> http://lists.openstreetmap.org/listinfo/newbies
>
> _______________________________________________
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> [hidden email]<mailto:[hidden email]>
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>
>
> This email (and any attachments) contains confidential information and is intended solely for the individual to whom it is addressed. If this email has been misdirected, please notify the author as soon as possible. If you are not the intended recipient you must not disclose, distribute, copy, print or rely on any of the information contained, and all copies must be deleted immediately.
>
> This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by anti-virus software, but Integrated Transport Planning cannot accept liability for any damage caused by receipt of this email.
> Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.
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