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Battery and live tracking test


user13371
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Nice day and I'm going for a bike ride, probably leaving the house in a little while. I have an iPad and I've been wondering how I'm gonna carry the thing to work when I commute by bike. I'll put it in my shoulder bag today and see if that's comfortable enough -- or if I'll have to eventually rig some kind of carrier on the bike.

 

What does this have to do with "GPS and Technology"? Good way to test battery life and impact of GPS use. I'll launch Glympse shortly after I'm underway, and post a tracking link here along with my battery percentage at the start. Will leave Glympse (and therefore the GPS) running the whole time, and see what the battery level is a few hours later.

 

If anyone cares to look at the track once in a while, let me know if the tracking looks accurate -- or way off. I plan to stick to the I205 and Springwater bike paths in southeast Portland.

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Paused at Waterfront Park downtown. See about a zillion bikes and a comparable number of joggers and strollers on the way down. Will probably take surface streets back. Oddly, battery reading is now HIGHER than when I left the house -- 92% Haha, that can't be right!

 

Glympse status shows some people have clicked the link. Anyone noticed dropped or erratic tracking?

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Traffic lights are my friends :)

 

Stopped now, sitting in the gazebo south of Walker Stadium in Lent's park. Battery estimate is 86% remaining. Which tells me that the GPS and cellular connection themselves don't use much juice at all. Screen off, no other apps running beside Glympse, the thing might reasonably be expected to run all day. If I had it out of my pack constantly texting, viewing maps, watching videos, etc... that would cut into battery life a lot.

 

Going the OTHER way, if I took this on a longer hike or bike ride, I'd probably leave it powered off or at least in airplane mode almost all of the time, and only power it up when I really did need it. A full day of urban geocaching would probably be do-able that way - the in town I'd also carry a charger and recharge any time or ace that I stopped for a bite to eat.

 

Another comment on battery - in the time I've been drafting this note, the battery estimate has dropped from 86% to 84% - it's the screen that sucks the juice, not the GPS.

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Coggins, that looks like Saturday's track, not Sunday's. Except for a couple of artifacts from some bad track points, it looks about as I remember it. I did some meandering. That turn around near Foster Rd was to avoid construction. And later in the ride I decided to visit a friend who was building a greenhouse in his yard.

 

To answer your specific questions: No, Glympse doesn't give me a way to retrieve the entire GPX, at least I don't think it does. Though it's meant to broadcast one's position, it only shows the most recent part of the track for privacy reasons. If I wanted to record and review a track, I'd probably use Motion-X GPS -- or just carry my eTrex20.

 

I'm using an STM Jacket. The iPad itself is in an Apple Smart Cover. Between those I think there's enough to handle a pretty hard knock and a bit of rain. Not getting run over by a car or caught in a torrential downpour. But in those situations I have other things to worry about.

 

I really don't plan on taking this into the rough, this weekend's rides were just for me to decide if this was going to be comfortable enough on my commute. The battery tests were incidental - more realistic than window-sill testing.

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I haven't tried Motion-X for this o n the iPad. A couple years ago I used it on my iPhone for a similar ride and the track was really jaggy - and they update it so often I don't know what features they've added for track intervals. I can download it this week and give it another tryout.

 

Thanks for the screenshots, I never get to see what Glympse looks like while I'm using it. Those bad track points are interesting - I'm not 100% sure, but I think both of those locations are where the Springwater trail goes under another road.

 

Edit - nope, I'm wrong. Both at standard grade crossings. Hmm...

Edited by user13371
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To add to comments about Motion-X, there is not a user setting for tracking interval per se. There are two option I think are probably for track smoothing -- "Accelerometer assisted GPS" and "Accuracy filter" -- that can be set on/off in General Settings. Under Track settings there are 16 "Activity Modes" - walking, driving, sky-diving, etc - along with an automatic setting. My guess is those all adjust various details including interval and how aggressively it tries to smooth the track.

Edited by user13371
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it's kind of disappointing that there aren't some better apps out there that would a basic handheld a run for the money.

Some folks would say there are, but it depends on what you need/want. I wouldn't put a smartphone on my handlebars though some folks do.

 

I'm guessing you mean some functionality rather than physical limitations on battery or ruggedness. What do you find lacking there?

Edited by user13371
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Fun little stat with the iOS devices. There is an API that allows programmers to trip the GPS chip when "significant movement" occurs. As in, the iPhone/iPad will cheat and not bother checking the GPS if, for example, cell tower triangulation says you haven't really moved all that much.

 

I use an app called "PlaceTrack" (or sometimes Latitudie) to update my hike tracker for the BT Hike Events (http://torontogeocaching.com/bthike). The app is configured to fire up the GPS get a minimum 25M accuracy and then send a position update every 30 minutes, or whenever "significant movement" is triggered. Short story on this is I can use an iPhone, with cellular (3G) enabled to track pretty much the entire 10-14 hour hike. I usually have about 60% battery left at the end of the hike. Now, I do take some small steps to keep the phone battery running a bit longer - I turn off WiFi, Bluetooth and push email (switch to 30 minute pull email).

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Another bit of trivia I didn't know about until the other day - by default, Apple's location services assumes you're driving. So if you're close to a motorway and above a certain speed, it does a snap-to-road. There are things a programmer can do to turn that off in an app, but if they don't do so and/or the option available to the user, tracks recorded off the beaten path may be wrong.

 

This was news to me. I only noticed it the other day when I was showing my iPad to someone on the train to work; Apple's Map insisted we were on the freeway :) Then I looked at a couple of other apps I had and found they did similar things, and a little googling indicated it's a known feature.

 

Now looking at various hiking/biking apps that give a user option for setting location services Activity flag correctly.

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