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Waypoint List from a challenge needed


simonr
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Sounds unusual?

I've been writing a bit of navigation software specifically for touch screen PC's, specifically for competitions.

One of the biggest headaches using a GPS in a challenge is entering a long list of coordinates. I tried entering a list of 30 on a Garmin II and it took nearly 20 mins. I have a nice simple UI which if my test is accurate can cut this to less than 4 mins, however, I want to try it with some real coordinates to see if a few assumptions I've made hold up.

Once it has had a bit more testing, I'll need one or two people to beta-test it, live in a challenge. If the challenge is based around GPS navigation, I reckon this could save you up to an hour over the course of a day.

There are plenty of bits of software which help you navigate on the road plus moving map apps like Memory Map - but all of these are tricky to say the least to see let alone use in a moving vehicle.

Stand alone GPS's are pretty good for navigation as the crow flies on comps, but even the big marine units have the most dreadful interface for entering waypoints.

I just thought I could do better and write something with the best features of each.

What it does:

Has Big Buttons allow use wearing gloves

Very simple display of direction and distance to next waypoint

Select next waypoint with a single click

Waypoints listed in numerical or distance order (so you can easily see which punch is nearest to you)

Waypoints stored in groups (for multi-site events). Group can be selected with a single click

Status continually saved so that if it is re-started, it is in exactly the same state as it was left.

What it does not do:

Does not have moving maps, turn-by-turn navigation or Tom Baker telling you to turn right in 200 meters.

Does not tell you where the nearest 24 hour chiropodist is.

Make Tea

Does not need a super-computer to run at a respectable speed. Any old PC, Win 95 or later will do.

post-74-1190761528_thumb.jpg

Main navigation screen

Waypoints in distance order on left

post-74-1190761539_thumb.jpg

Full screen touch-keyboard

post-74-1190761550_thumb.jpg

Waypoint editing screen

Si

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That looks cool :D don't suppose you are planning a port to windows Mobile, or PocketPC are you?

sorry, don't have any genuine challenge co-ordinates, but I do have the list from seven sisters last weekend if it helps at all?

Cheers

Mark

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I am off to Morocco in 2 weeks time to take part in Desert Storm Challenge. I am geared up to use Fugawi, and a handheld Garmin for challenge navigation. I have a setup in the car that uses a 7 inch Lilliput touch screen.

If you want me to try this software out, let me know.

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Looks good Si.

I'll e-mail you an mmo file with some punch grids when I get in to work this morning.

Thanks Mark & Mark - can I have both?

Is there anything you think it ought to have functionality wise?

The only other thing I was planning was communications using DTMF (the tones you hear when you dial a phone). This would allow you to use a CB / PMR / Mobile phone held against the speaker of one PC to send data to another listening to another CB / PMR / Mobile. I figured this would be useful for sharing lists of waypoints plus sending your current location to someone else so they can find you. Because the data rate using DTMF is very low, it should work well in noisy environments.

Si

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Si, e-mail sent. Could only find the file from last years shire event at 7S and not the other one with more waypoints that I was looking for.

A feature I would like to see is the ability to export the list of waypoints in a format that can be imported into another application such as Memory Map, so even if using your app for navigation this would allow you to get an overview of the waypoints on a map or aerial photograph.

Edit:

Just thought of another nice feature. How about the ability to mark each waypoint as 'punched', maybe change the colour/shade of the numbered waypoint buttons.

Edit again:

Will there be a PDA version of X-Nav too?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Si

on the Muddy Truckers this year they had 40 punches and 4 different stylers of coordinates, all shuffled up. It took me over and hour to enter the data into a garmin and I reckon I made at least 2 unintentional errors. It would be very useful to have an easy way to swap between different systems of coordinates?grid references and at the same time to be able to covert any coordinate into an OS GR and maybe have that always displayed on screen somewhere. What I find is that an arrow may point to the next waypoint but perhaps there is a mountain or a valley in the way. If you can quickly do a rough cross check of an OS grid reference on a paper map it is much easier to work out a sensible route rather than relying blindly on following the arrow.

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At the moment it's a VB app running on Windows. Being dot.net, it could be ported to anything else running the framework - eg a PDA - at least in theory. My experience tells me that the practice is a bit more tricky!

I've not touched it for a couple of weeks while my PC was being fixed - but I'll do some more soon.

I'll bring a copy to Wellington at the weekend if anyone wants a peek.

Si

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At the moment it's a VB app running on Windows. Being dot.net, it could be ported to anything else running the framework - eg a PDA - at least in theory. My experience tells me that the practice is a bit more tricky!

I've not touched it for a couple of weeks while my PC was being fixed - but I'll do some more soon.

I'll bring a copy to Wellington at the weekend if anyone wants a peek.

Si

will it be at sodbury

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Looks interesting.

I would suggest the ability to connect up two GPS inputs:

some kind of GPS mouse as the dedicated input.

A hand held GPS.

This way you can down load all the points to the hand held GPS and go out on foot when the way is not clear. Alternatively if it's one of the two vehicle events where they split you up, the two vehicles could then swop hand held units and just down load he way points needed.

How about blue tooth capability to comunicate with your team mates motor when parked next door??

Passing observation - mobile phones do not always work relaibly in the bottom of valleys at offroad sites up here in Scotland....... Might have more luck with a text that could then be bluetoothed to the computor??

Would it produce a Memory map compatible file??

Adrian

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I think plugging two GPS's into one PC is a lot of work for fairly limited use.

Instead, I intend enabling you to store and retrieve lists of waypoints in Memory Map format - potentially to a memory stick or similar. That way, you can share lists of coordinates both with MM and other users pretty easily and reliably. You could link two PC's via bluetooth, peer to peer WiFi, IR or even a cable and share files - but that would be down to the user and beyond the scope of this project.

At the moment, waypoints are stored in Groups. The group name would form the file name to contain the waypoints. This makes them easy to back up and retrieve as necessary.

I might have a copy at Sodbury - but it tends to be pretty busy there so forgive me if I do not have much time for demos. I'll upload a copy to the web when it's stable so you can try it out for yourself on your own PC.

Si

Looks interesting.

I would suggest the ability to connect up two GPS inputs:

some kind of GPS mouse as the dedicated input.

A hand held GPS.

This way you can down load all the points to the hand held GPS and go out on foot when the way is not clear. Alternatively if it's one of the two vehicle events where they split you up, the two vehicles could then swop hand held units and just down load he way points needed.

How about blue tooth capability to comunicate with your team mates motor when parked next door??

Passing observation - mobile phones do not always work relaibly in the bottom of valleys at offroad sites up here in Scotland....... Might have more luck with a text that could then be bluetoothed to the computor??

Would it produce a Memory map compatible file??

Adrian

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