Mobile Phone, J2me, Bluetooth GPS & Openstreetmap 2

Got some good comments on my last entry about this issue, thought it good to summarise them, and see how some other products faired out.

I’ve yet to try out GPSWatch, however it says “The GPS Watch Demo application just displays the latitude and longitude information from the GPS Equipment along with static screens of some reports.” So I doubt it would be of much application to OSM track logging.

Thomas Landburg suggested a look at j2memap. This is a neat google maps viewer for phones. I was able to sucessfully download google maps and find areas, but couldn’t get the Bluetooth GPS to connect to it. Thomas says it needs JSR179, not sure if the nokia 6230i has this. Also, as I say in the comments theres a fuzzy legal issue of using maps that are in copyright to create OpenStreetMap data. Of course, directly tracing is obviously creating a “derivative work” but would the mere use of it to help navigate the unmapped streets also be classed as such? J2memap is a nice little app. (Edits, whilst writing this it has developed an application error when it starts. looks like i will have to reinstall.)

Starryalley pointed out “GPS Library in J2ME” and ODGPS. I couldnt get the GPS library example application to connect to the GPS, or when it did, it crashed the phone. However, if I get round to writing my own logging software for the phone, this library does seem very useful.

ODGPS, I liked. It remembered the GPS connection setting when starting again, it had a nice compass feature too. Designed for cyclists, it can also allow you to upload saved tracks, and you can “follow” a track. It can save tracks to the file system (GETrack saved them in the special memory space reserved for java midlets).

Heres an extremely blurry screenshot of a track it just made:

odgps on nokia 6320i

You should be able to see the yellow triange. I’m guessing this is to help users follow a track, to be in the right area. Theres a fuzzy red line which is the track.

However, it doesn’t show a tracks that is currently recording, which would be a great feature. I was able to save waypoints whist recording, which GETrack is unable to do, and what would be very useful for using with OpenStreetMap. As an experiment, a waypoint was made at the location of the nice Thai Cafe. ODGPS can export as their own .odg format. It doesnt seem to record time: heres one line for the file:
WP1;53.820675;-1.5770149999999998;149.1;1156952878092;D

It can also export as KML, so for easy viewing in GoogleEarth, thats what I used. Here’s a screenshot of the resulting track including the Thai Cafe Waypoint (click for big):

ODGPS waypoint and google earth

In summary, using GETrack is easy, it shows when the GPS signal isn’t clear, and shows the incrementing number of points. ODGPS doesn’t seem to do either, however there are some flashing coloured squares which may indicate a GPS signal (the documentation is in German). ODGPS allows to change the interval of recording tracks, and adding custom waypoints, but doesn’t record the time at each track, or waypoint. The use of GPSbabel would be needed for conversion to gpx.

22 thoughts on “Mobile Phone, J2me, Bluetooth GPS & Openstreetmap 2

  1. Hi, i also have a nokia 6230i and i’ve been trying to get and easy gps mapping software that supports tracks export.

    Like you, I tried, with no success, “GPS Library in J2ME” but, ODGPS works pretty well. Nevertheless, like you said, it doesn’t save each waypoint date/time which yould help for determining the speed.

    I’ve also ran across a newer version of odGPS, named Bike GPS at http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bike-gps.com%2F&langpair=de%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&prev=%2Flanguage_tools that includes an altimeter and some new visual interfaces. Also the export format has changed to BikeGPS, but it doesn’t mention anywhere if this “new” export format also includes timestamps.

    The demo version let us start and stop recording tracks, but they never appear under tracks folder, so i couldn’t try it (but all the rest worked fine).

    The full version crashes (Null Pointer java/lang/NullPointerException) every time when searching for my GPS device, I suppose it’s because I haven’t entered any license key.

    If you or anyone try any of these applications or come across one that supports timestamps on waypoints, please report it😀 is would become very useful.

    Cheers,

    Nuno Bettencourt

  2. Hi Nuno,
    ahh, I was wondering where that new version was located. I’ve only just tried the full version, and got the same error/crash when searching for the GPS. Phone has run out of battery(!) so will try the demo and see how that fares.

    Edits: Had a quick email with Tom the developer: BikeGPS is €239, and only supports the BenQ-Siemens M81 Outdoor phone, but it won’t work with Nokia. They are working on expanding it towards more phones, and Nokia will be the next one. However, Tom said it would display tracks and record at the same time, which would be worth looking at.

    “Bike GPS Mobile supports displaying the whole track if it can be displayed
    in the map view (depends on the zooming level) by a grey line, waypoints are
    numbered and red dotted.
    – It supports also showing the track that is actually recorded by a green
    line, waypoints are green dotted. This is known as “track back” function
    when leaving the grey line you can get back on the green one.”

    sounds interesting.

  3. Hi all,

    please refer to the list of supported phones for Bike GPS Mobile at http://www.bike-gps.com. The new version will not run properly on other phones than the supported ones (actually Aug06 BenQ M81 only!). The list of supported will be enhanced as soon as possible!!

    Cheers
    Tom

  4. Hi Thomas,

    as to your non detectable BT device… sometimes I have some problems with the one i tried. To resolver them i do the following (using a nokia 6230i):
    1st, switch off bt device
    2nd, go to bluetooth menu on mobile device and clean up bt device entry.
    3rd, switch on BT device
    4th, search for new device and pair it
    5th, open odGPS an it will say “No GPS device connected, bla bla bla”, say OK
    6th, go to Settings, Connection and do a “bt device search”, and wait until its finished.
    7th, go back and do a “BT Service Search”, and wait until finished.. it will select your BT device
    8th, Exit odGPS
    9th, enter odGPS again an it will ask it you if you allow BT connection… say yes and voilá… it’s connected

    BTW, good news, I found out that the stupid .odg file format exports the time (in ms since 1/1/1970) for each waypoint in it’s file. Next week i’ll be working on an “engine” to be able to transform a .odg file to .gpx and vice-versa, so that one can use the files exported from the phone, on GPS TrackMaker on any other program that can use timestamps to get cycling speed and up’s & down’s records.

  5. Nuno, good news you got it to work, I had to do the same kind of thing. The nice thing about this application, compared to others, is that it remembers that setting, so you need only do it once.

    Have a look at GPSBabel http://www.gpsbabel.org/ which may be able to handle odGPS files, as they are formatted text, and could match an existing format, or be easily changed. I dont know too much about the various formats myself.

    Also i know GPSBabel can convert KML which odGPS also exports. (Does it also have the time for it waypoints with KML?) Its an open source project, so you may be able to use that platform to do the conversion, or if you ask nicely, one of their developers could do one.

  6. I’m doing O.K. with ogGPS, but i’ve only tried it for short tracks. I need to do a 4 hour track test and see if it is capable of keeping all that data in memory, since it doesn’t write directly to the memory card, one needs to export it.

    Has to GPSBabel, i’ve had a look at it, and i’ll analyse today or tomorrow night. I don’t think they support odGPS, like you said, but maybe i can develop that part for them, depends on the programming language they’re using.

    The problem with KML is that it doesn’t save timestamps for each waypoint which leaves out times, and these are important to check whether on person has improved it’s speed for one day to the other.

    I’m doing all this effort to find a decent bike tracking application, so i don’t need to waste money on a garmin edge 305, that would solve all my problems. If I were on the US, i would have bought it by now, but in europe the package is not good value for money.

  7. Hi there! Thanks to your blog i have finally found a simple program that can record gps data to my mobile phone.🙂 I haven’t tested it yet though but i am wondering have you made any longer, say some hours (5 or even more), trips to check if the prog works fine?

    Greetings from slovenia!
    gregor

  8. Hello Gregor!

    good to know you are getting gps on your phone working too! I haven’t used any of the program for longer than about an hour, but it would be very interesting to “benchmark” them and see what happens. As nuno says above, the applications seem to hold the data in memory first. Bjoern from GETrack said “You phone should support up to 2000 waypoints. That’s 128kb for a track”, if that helps. (at 5second interval i think that would work out to be around 3 hrs?).

    tim

  9. Hi tim!

    I have a little bit of a problem here, maybe you can help. I just connected my BT GPS to the phone (nokia e70) and odgps worked fine. Until i started recording (and after some time stopped it of course). It seems odgps did not save the track to my phone, because i just cann’t find any recorded tracks. Maybe i am doing something wrong? Thanks for any help and advice.

    gregor

  10. Hi Gregor, in the odgps menu you have to select “Tracks” and it shows you the track listings. Now with one of these tracks highlighted, click on the “options”, and choose “Export Track” it will then save it to the phone.

    I hope this works!

  11. Well, I press start recording, then stop recording, odgp says track successfully saved (or something similar), but if i press tracks there are no tracks to choose for exporting, it is empty. Tim, do you perhaps by any chance know where odgps should have saved those tracks? Did you install odgps to the phone memory or your memory card? Thanks again for any help🙂

  12. Very strange. You may need to allow the application access to the phone, and communication. I used the nokia application installer to install the application onto the phone. I think it resides in something called the “collection” which is probably in phone memory. good luck!

  13. Thanks Tim for all your help, but it seems odgps doesn’t work on s60 3rd edition platforms. Luckily i have a spare phone (nokia 6630) where it should work. Maybe i’ll try AFTrack or BlueSky (on 6630), i’ve read some positive things about those two programs.

    Clear skies!

  14. Pingback: j2me, GPS, Mobile Phone #3 - odgps .odg convert to gpx & TrekBuddy « thinkwhere

  15. Is there an API or a small GPS tool that I can install on “any” mobile (that meets certain minimal requirements ofcourse) which get GPS data from either built-in GPS or bluetooth GPS? I want the retrieved GPS data to be imported in my Flash Lite application.

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