Mobile Phone, J2me, Bluetooth GPS & Openstreetmap #1

Openstreetmap (OSM) is a great project – real “grassroots remapping” of the world, created mainly in response to the restrictive pricing and licencing of mapping companies, such as the Ordnance Survey. People go around with GPS units and basically walk, cycle and drive around, recording where they go, they then upload these tracks to the OSM website and edit them into the map. Here’s a great step by step guide to the whole process.

There are a number of options for capturing GPS tracks. I’m using a GlobalSat BT-308 which is a blue-tooth receiver – it doesn’t store anything on it. Using VisualGPS running on my windows laptop, I can store and record tracks, but lugging that heavy laptop around turns a nice stroll into an arduous hike! So i needed to use my phone.

I’m using a Nokia 6230i, and have looked at two programs so far… (watch this space for more info, as I find more, or get exasperated and do the coding myself!)

1. Spot: from Skylab Mobile Systems.
I tried the demo version of this j2me product – the demo version only runs for 5 mins.
It connected successfully with the GPS unit, displayed nice satellite positions, and location information. However it crashed, and made the whole phone crash and reboot when I tried to save the waypoints (.gpx) to the phones memory card. Sent them an email, will see whats going wrong.

2. GETrack:This looked more like it. The demo version recorded 50 waypoints. Every 5 seconds it tried to record a waypoint from the gps unit, the full version is 2000 units. I went for a walk to the shops and back, and saved a couple of runs. However, there’s no way to save the file to the phones memory, just the option to send via Bluetooth. Sending via bluetooth to the laptop wouldn’t work. nothing happened. An email will be sent (after ive read the manual again!)

EDITS:16 july: got it working, read the manual! Had to set up bluetooth on laptop and mobile to get it to work. Heres a sample, in kml format taken walking around in Headingley, Leeds, UK, and below is image of combined tracks
3+ I’m going to try GPSWatch, and read OSM Mobile



17 thoughts on “Mobile Phone, J2me, Bluetooth GPS & Openstreetmap #1

  1. Thanks Thomas, I’ve just tried this out. Nice application.
    It did show the google maps, but It wouldnt communicate with the bluetooth GPS. I guess it only works with integrated GPS?
    Also, the terms of use/service of the Google maps prohibit people making their own datasets from it. So I would not be able to use this to create my OpenStreetMap maps.
    I’ll write up a second post in few days… cheers

  2. No, it should work with both external GPS and integrated GPS….The only trick is that it your phone have both “JSR179” and bluetooth, you have to go into the parameter setings to “force usage of bluetooth”….

    Regarding GoogleMap, (or Yahoo,, etc..), nothing prevent end user making their own datasets. I think you are talking about modification of the source image (mapping or satellite), which is not the case. If there was such restriction about creating your own dataset, then no mashup would have been possible!
    The only real issue is that such program does not use the “official” GoogleMap API as there is not such API for mobile… I have contacted Google about this, but as expected, wihout any answer….

  3. Whilst its true that we can use our own data with Google’s, its not totally clear that we can create our own dataset from the data that Google maps shows. We are not allowed for example, to digitise over google maps roads and make a separate dataset. Not really modification of the source image, but rather copying it and making an entirely new source image / datasource for other mapping applications, online or offline. This would be creating a derivative work, and break the copyright of the underlying dataset. Even, for instance, in the openstreetmap project, deriving streetnames from a google map. Google maps licence the data from the Navteq etc which in turn get it from Ordnance Survey, which hold ultimate copyright.
    explains what i mean. Yes, I did get confused about the Terms of Service and copyright 🙂

    Now, of course, normally one wouldn’t actually copy the streets and names from the datasets that google maps uses, but there could be a temptation to do that, if one had less scruples. Also, whilst I wouldnt do that, if it were to come to push and shove to prove how I made my new map, I would have more trouble explaining away the use of copyrighted maps (in this case from Google) in my data collection. Also to be aware of are the subtle kinks and deliberate errors that some mapping companies add to their data to prove that they were copied.

    It’s all frankly a bit of a mine field!

    I will try J2me map again, with the “force usage of bluetooth”. Not too sure that the phone as JSR179, I’ve been meaning to play with it to get location info from the network, but Ive heard that pretty much all networks are disabling this functionality. Something that really does limit the use of location based devices. Edits: even with “use bluetooth” it didn’t connect to the gps. (In the other apps, they open up a bluetooth chooser to select the gps reciever, the the phone asks whether to connect via gps. Maybe it doesn’t have jsr179)

    I really like this application, and will write up about it later, i can see myself using it when on holidays, in unfamiliar cities etc. Don’t know how much it would cost bytewise though.

  4. Pingback: Mobile Phone, J2me, Bluetooth GPS & Openstreetmap #2 « thinkwhere

  5. Rob, yes, that does seem to be good. I shall try it out soon, and write about it Noticed a post in the forum about how to grab and use osm maps in the application too. Looks useful, seems to be 1 second recording too!

  6. Thanks Thomas. I’ve just tried this, however my phone 6230i (version 3.8) can not connect with BT-308 via bluetooth although each can connect with my iPaQ HP2200 or my laptop via bluetooth. I try to discover bluetooth devices on Bluetooth menu on the phone, but it can still report no bluetooth devices. Can you tell me how to connect Nokia 6230i and BT308 via bluetooth connection?

  7. Have you enabled bluetooth on the phone first? And made sure its not connected to anything else (i.e. laptop / pc)

    Also, you may need to change some of the connectivity permissions for the midlet. Have a look in the odgps forums for more info, they are quite helpful there! 🙂 tim

  8. Hi there!

    I use GPS Track, and it works great saying a gpx track.

    However, I’d like to know what do to to get those tracks used on my phone – I mean, I want to create a nice map with it using Josm, render it – but how can I get them back to my phone so I can use them as a city guide or something?


  9. I’m willing to develop a city guide application using j2me, and it will be working without JSR179. I want to use the the bluetooth GPS for collecting the position. Can any one tell me how can I get the data from GPS via bluetooth to my app?. And basicaly I want the longitude and latitude only.

  10. Doh. Let me try that again:
    Check Out Mobile Trail Explorer. It has a bunch of features: It can record an arbitrary number of GPS points in KML and GPX, can display OSM maps as a background, Add Waypoints, Elevation view, Satellite View, Upload position to remote server… Best of all it is entirely Open Source.

  11. Thanks Gareth, Yes Mobile Trails Explorer has already been covered (a few times) in later blog posts, but it is worth repeating how good it is, and I really do heartily recommend it!

  12. can anybody tell me how to implement the algorithm of converting GPS coordinates from WGS84 to a local grid in a j2me code. I found some but not very acurate. So I need a way to convert them at least 10 m accuracy.
    ~free j2me games~

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