Thursday, March 20, 2008

First impressions: GPS on mobile phone

In the past days I experimented a bit with the XDA Stellar and its built-in GPS.

First I installed Free 3DTracking. This software runs on the PDA, then sends GPS data in pre-defined intervals to a server. It seems to work fine - simple interface on the PDA. Only disadvantage: after each start it searches for a GPS, and hereby switches on BlueTooth, even if the GPS sits on a fixed port which is entered into the configuration.

I then installed GpsGate on the PDA. This is a more complex solution, providing a multiplexer for the GPS data and sending them to a series of outputs. Not sure if this is very efficient, as the PDA already has a kind of "virtual COM port" and can manage sharing the GPS through the Windows Mobile 6 OS. But it works fine. One can add as an output the upload to the GpsGate web server. The output looks good, using Google Maps as a background. Advantage over 3dTracking: the latter one has a fixed smaller window for the map, whereas GpsGate shows a resizable map area, which can cover a larger area. The interesting thing is that GpsGate also can send the data locally to a port into a Javascript browser. This allows that a local web site can be used to obtain GPS data. Somehow I did not get this to work yet; it works with simulator data, but I was not able to show the GPS coordinates from the live tracking.

Finally I installed Google Maps for Mobile. This is phantastic: the app just uses the GPS data and displays a Google map in the background, with a small icon for the own position. But naturally, one would need a unlimited internet plan for this, as the continous download of maps requires significant bandwidth.

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