Map My Tracks blog

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Map My Tracks in motion

First in a series of videos that we plan to produce is this introduction to Map My Tracks.

It’s often easier to understand something by seeing it in action so we have put together a short video that we’ll also be using on our stand at the The Dinghy Show in March. Enjoy.

Filed under by Nick

New feature - track preferences

Different sports require different statistics, which is why we have added the ability for you to set your default map type and distance units for viewing tracks. Now you have the choice to set street, terrain or satellite maps as your standard view together with the option to view your tracks using imperial, metric or nautical distance units.

Default preference As before, these options can also be changed as you view a track so you can still adjust the way in which track data is presented should you decide that nautical miles don’t really apply when you have just completed a bike ride!

Preferences are set on the ‘my profile’ page.

Filed under New innovations by Nick

New feature - split times

Understanding your performance is essential in any training regime. To help in that understanding we have today introduced split times and pace indicators on tracks.

Split time summarySplit time analysis and pace summaries provide some useful benchmarks for a lot of land-based sports activities like running and cycling. As with all of the distance data displayed we have made it possible to switch between kilometres, miles and nautical miles. Whatever suits your needs.

We’re keen to continue improving Map My Tracks to make sure that you have the right tools for your sport. Let us know what you like to see.

UPDATE: Split time markers have also been added along a track on a map.

Filed under New innovations by Nick

Random or not so random?

A common complaint about sailing is the perceived abstract nature of the route needed to get around a given course.

From a spectators point of view, watching from the shore, it is sometimes difficult to understand what is going on and who is winning. This is often compounded by the fact that most World or National Championships are sailed quite a distance off shore to get clean wind so specators suffer even more.

One of the benefits of GPS tracking for sailors is the ability to understand the random, or not so random, routes needed to complete a race. By way of an example, below is the track taken during a race on an inland lake. At first glance the tracks does look a little random but it accurately describes the route sailed over the two rounds of the race. What becomes clear is the way in which headers and lifts have played a part in getting around the course. Given that this is an inland lake, surrounded by woodland, the wind shifts are quite considerable. Understanding these local conditions is vital to stand any chance of coming close to winning.

TIP: Switch to satellite view and zoom in for a closer look. View this track in full.

We plan to feature more examples of how different sports benefit from GPS tracking. If you have a sport that you are passionate about and like to know how Map My Tracks can help you understand your performance just let us know and we’ll do our best to help out.

Opening our doors for the first time

The moment has finally arrived for us to open our doors and reveal what we have been busy creating over the past six months. It is with a great deal of pride that we peel back the covers of Map My Tracks - real-time GPS tracking for sports enthusiasts.

What is Map My Tracks?

Map My Tracks turns your mobile phone into your personal real-time GPS tracking device. Using a mobile phone with built-in GPS or an external GPS receiver you can map and track your location in real-time. Map My Tracks brings a new insight into your sporting activity, provides a competitive edge and makes training fun. Map My Tracks let your friends, competitors or parents know where you are right now.

It’s ideal for tracking activities like sailing, cycling, running, canoeing, skiing, walking, windsurfing, orienteering, mountaineering, horse riding, hang gliding, gliding, snowboarding, paragliding, hot air ballooning or just for fun to show your friends where you are right now.

 

Invitation information

At present registration is by invitation only as we are keen to make sure that everything is just as it should be. If you are keen to give it a try and have a suitable mobile phone feel free to drop us an invitation request at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). We’d love to here from you.

 

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Internal GPS vs. external GPS receivers

Over the past month we have been testing a number of phones with internal and external GPS receivers with some great results. Both types result in some very accurate results due to the way that we have set up Map My Tracks Mobile.

One of the main factors for phones with internal GPS receivers is that it it takes a lot longer for it to acquire enough satellites to track accurately. On most occasions internal GPS receivers take around three to four minutes to complete its GPS cycle. By comparison an external GPS receiver generally takes around 20 seconds to one minute to acquire a position. Curiously, the second time an internal GPS receiver is used it acquires a position much quicker in around 30 seconds.

To ensure that a complete track is recorded this lag needs to be taken into account when you wish to start tracking. Due to the variable time, to get an accurate position, it was often useful to spend a couple of minutes before needing to track to have the phone pick up its GPS location. This isn’t a problem with external GPS receivers as they are able to pick up a good position very quickly.

Round of golf with a Nokia 6110 (internal GPS)

On this occasion battery life got the better of our test. When starting the track the phone battery was well below half charged resulting in an incomplete track finishing around the fifth hole!

Apart from the fact that my golf is not as good as it should be the track is very accurate. On this occasion it successully provides some insight into my lack of golfing skill!

We’ll be featuring some more results of our recent testing over the coming weeks. Keep up to date with everything Map My Tracks by subscribing to our feed.

 

Filed under Tips by Nick

New to GPS tracking?

The idea of GPS tracking is new to most people and can leave some not knowing how to get started. In reality, GPS or Global Positioning System, to be precise, has been around since the '80s and it provides a way for a compatible device to accurately determine it location. With the use of an external GPS receiver or a mobile phone with internal GPS it becomes possible to pin point the location of the device anywhere in the world.

So how do you get started? GPS tracking is all about showing where you have been when you are out and about whether it is simply going for a walk or a more energetic bike ride.

Basically, there are two approaches to GPS tracking; real-time tracking or recorded tracking.

Real-time GPS tracking

This is the camp that Map My Tracks falls into. Real-time GPS tracking is provided by our little application that is installed on your mobile phone. The tracking software determines your exact location in the world and then seamlessly updates this website to both display your current location and also store your track for future reference. One of the benefits of real-time GPS tracking is that it removes the need to download GPS data after your activity but more importantly it provides a way to illustrate where you are in the world right now!

Recorded GPS tracking

Recorded GPS tracking is all about storing the location data on a GPS device and then downloading the data to be viewed on a PC after the event. This type of GPS tracking won’t show your real-time position. Typically this is done with a small hand-held GPS device that will record a series of waypoints during your activity. Many of these devices will come with software to install on a computer to provide some analytical data. The obvious downside to this approach is the extra work needed to see the tracks and the fact that it won’t show where you are right now.

Which one is best?

Clearly, we have a preference for real-time GPS tracking. Not because that this is how Map My Tracks works but because real-time GPS tracking provides a way to show where people are right now and removes the technical hurdle of downloading location data.

 

 

Filed under Tips by Nick - 3 comments

Smartphone winner

Nokia's N95 has come out top of PDA Essential magazine's head to head. Up against other smartphones like HTC's P3600, Fujitse-Siemens's T830, and HTC's Advantage it was rated best out of the group test.

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Although the winner in the group test the battery life was noted as not being the best of the bunch. One of the most useful features (from our point of view) for the N95 is the built-in GPS receiver. The built-in receiver allows users of Map My Tracks to bypass the external GPS receiver with its Bluetooth connection and use just one device. Now that’s the ticket!

 

Filed under Tips by Nick

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