I’ve never had a GPS device before, but one of the place the i780 got points, was on the GPS as I would like to play with one, and especially do geotagging of my photos.
In this blog I run through the software I’ve tested. Please note that my i780 is unlocked and unbranded. Yours may be locked to a specific set of services making impossible to use other GPS software.
My wants and needs are not for navigation – there’s 14 days trail version of Garmin XT included, which I’m still thinking about buying, but there’s also Google Maps which works flawlessly, but needs to download data. So unless you make it cache data before you go or has a “unlimited” dataplan with your provider you are going to pay as you go. And open street map software is getting better…
What I’m looking for is a simple piece of software that will capture my route and allow me to read it into a program that will syncronize it with the photos that I took while walking that route. This blog will mainly concentrate on the logging software. I’ll look at the PC (windows) side later. I’ve limited the search to software that didn’t require payment.
Okay, one of the first thing you find then you start to investigate this GPS thing is that all gps software seems to log in their own format and that all programs like to read GPX format, except Google Earth which reads in KML format. Some log “track points”, some “way points”.
For that there’s gpsbabel which is mainly a commandline tool for converting between a lot of different gps log file formats, but luckily include a gui in the windows version. Only hard part about this program is that you need to know what you are converting from, but on the other hand the options are nearly endless, as you’ll see later.
Now, the logging programs. I’ll not go into details on what each program can do, I’ll just mention how well it worked for me.
Good: Found the GPS on both COM9 and the GPD1. Can do logging to specified location and the log file is automatically named with todays date. Can disable power saving. Logs to “NMEA 0183 sentences”. Can compress or filter log file. Can also turn your PDA into a bluetooth GPS, that you notebook can connect to!
Bad: Seems to have stability issue, when the i780 goes into standby and back. Not sure what it is. It may be because I’m saving the log on the storage card. Doesn’t save settings, so all log setting and “turn off powersave” have to be set every time I start it.
Bad:Never got it to connect to the GPS. Maybe it was me that missed that one important setting, but the user interface was kind of stange.
Bad: Never got it to connect to the GPS. Not updated since 2005
Good: Found the gps on it’s own. Simple, yet effective interface. Can be set to log at intervals (default 1 sec). Seems to turn of power-save (but there’s no option to control it). Can export from homebrewed format to kml (but not gpx).
Bad: user interface has small issues with the 320×320 of the i780. Logging is to home brewed format unknown by gpsbabel. Can’t control where log is saved or how it’s named (I wish it would put a datetime-stamp in the filename).
To convert with gps babel you need to user the “? character seperated format” with a style file containg this:
DESCRIPTION WMMini from flytrap.it EXTENSION log FIELD_DELIMITER SPACE RECORD_DELIMITER NEWLINE BADCHARS ," PROLOGUE date time StartMsg IFIELD GMT_TIME,"","%d/%m/%Y" IFIELD HMSG_TIME,"","%d.%d.%d %s" IFIELD LAT_DECIMAL, "", "%f" # Latitude IFIELD LON_DECIMAL, "", "%f" # Longitude IFIELD ALT_METERS,"","%.0f"
BSGPSPSA Bad: I could not get this one to talk to the GPS in the i780. Sometimes locked up the pda, demanding a hard reset .
Bad: Couldn’t get this one to connect either.
Bad: Java application which takes quite a bit to launch. Never got it to connect.
Summary: The i780 seems very pick on what programs it want to talk to. I suspect that you need to talk over GPD for it to work. I’ll try and hack some of the programs that doesn’t work to use GPD later.
I’m running GPS2Blue over GPD and I suspect that WMMiniGPS and Google Earth is doing the same (they are both just using the windows mobile gps settings) .
That’s it for now – I’ll add more and screen shots later.