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#11810 - 03/21/11 12:46 PM SPOT GPS Messenger
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Just got a SPOT, and it works fine with one glaring exception:no topo maps. One reason I got it was that I was so impressed with the tracking records I have seen at this site on detailed topo maps. Only maps I see in any of the functions so far are the Google street and "terrain" maps, which are less than optimal for backcountry data. Any tips on how to get these tracks onto better quality topos?
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#11811 - 03/21/11 12:54 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
export track to kml and use that file with this

http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html

the Spot tracks are rather crude, though - points are quite far apart.
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#11813 - 03/21/11 12:55 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Hey Saltydog,
I use www.spotwalla.com

if you click on "map" and then check "terrain" (upper right hand corner), you get a topo map.
Example:
http://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=1eb14c7e72bbf06a4

some other people use other packages too, so they are out there.


Edited by tdtz (03/21/11 12:55 PM)

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#11814 - 03/21/11 01:02 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: tdtz]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: tdtz
Hey Saltydog,
I use www.spotwalla.com

if you click on "map" and then check "terrain" (upper right hand corner), you get a topo map.


those are the Google terrain maps he wants to avoid.
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#11815 - 03/21/11 01:05 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Fishmonger]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
ah well then...ignore my post

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#11816 - 03/21/11 01:11 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Fishmonger]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
export track to kml and use that file with this

http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.html



OK....... export from where, and how? What is kml?
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#11820 - 03/21/11 01:38 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
log into your spot account

https://login.findmespot.com/spot-main-web/auth/login.html

and find wherever your data is stored, select the data you want to export and save to a file such as kml format. I have nothing there right now so I can't go through the motions, but I have done it before and it was KML.

once you have that data in a file in a format the gmap4 application understands, you can point it at that data and create maps that look like this (in this case GPX file from a Garmon GPS, but the idea is the same)

it will look like this:




below data from my Spot - much less accurate once you zoom in:





Edited by Fishmonger (03/21/11 01:47 PM)
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#11821 - 03/21/11 01:51 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
saldydog wrote:
> OK....... export from where, and how? What is kml?

Export from the findmespot.com website.

After you take a trip, login to the spot website (NOT the shopping site).
Click the My GPS Locations tab
If a bunch of locations don't show up...
    set all the checkboxes required under ESN, Date Received, and select all Message Types.
    then click Apply.
You should see all the locations your device transmitted (and were received by the satellite.)
Click the "show 25/50/100" option, set it to 100.
Click the checkbox at the left end of the locations headings, so all the locations checkboxes below are then checked.
    For more than 100 locations, select all 100, go to the next page, select all again; repeat.
Above on the right, find the "Download as...", click it, and click "KML"
A little download window should open, allowing you to "Save File". Save the file on your computer.

THAT file is the KML file. It must be uploaded to a web-accessible site. You can upload it on Google.   Read more here: Gmap4 - Google Maps+topographic.. The author of that post is the author of the Gmap4 / mappingsupport website. It's a most useful tool!


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#11824 - 03/21/11 02:08 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Steve:

Got it. Downloaded a test track I made around town today. Now to the GMAP4 doc to see how to go from there. Hope to be able to contribute an actual track here sometime. Thanks so much
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#11826 - 03/21/11 02:22 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Steve:

Got it. Downloaded a test track I made around town today. Now to the GMAP4 doc to see how to go from there. Hope to be able to contribute an actual track here sometime. Thanks so much


code I used for the above embedded map:

Code:

<iframe 
style="width:100%;height:400px" 
src="http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4.php?q=http://didnt.doit.wisc.edu/outdoor/muir2009/gps/2010/filtered/20100728.gpx&t=t2" width="100%" 
height="400px">
</iframe>
 


to get your file to open in a topo view like the above replace
http://didnt.doit.wisc.edu/outdoor/muir2009/gps/2010/filtered/20100728.gpx

with the download path to your exported file - needs to be on a server that lets you access it publicly, plus it has to support the extension (many web servers will not transfer kml or gpx files without mime type changes)
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#11835 - 03/21/11 03:29 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Fishmonger]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Yep, did all that, and got it onto a MyTopo map as a result, but only the way points (represented by black squares), not the track line connecting them. Something I missed in downloading the KML file from MY GPS points on the SPOT site to the website that I stored it on? It downloaded with a Google Earth icon and opened by default in Google Earth. I am going to try tat download-upload sequence again and see if I can get the tracks AND the way points. Nope didn't work. Funny, cause the same data prints to the public shared map page with the track. Guess I'll print out the Gmap4 doc and study it tonight. thanks for all the help, guys.


Edited by saltydog (03/21/11 03:58 PM)
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#11838 - 03/21/11 03:59 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
I had the same problem - fixed it by opening the downloaded file into a utility called "GPX-Editor" and that let me change a few things and convert it to a track.

There are probably many other ways to get there, but I did have the same problem with just a number of black boxes on the map. Maybe it's just a setting in gmap4.
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#11891 - 03/22/11 01:57 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Fishmonger]
Joseph Offline


Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 46
Loc: Redmond, WA
Hi Salty,

Yup, file conversion can be a pita.
I see that Fish also had to tweak his KML file in order to show a line (i.e. track) on his maps and not just points.

Gmap4 simply passes the KML file to Google and Google paints that data on the screen. The Gmap4 code I wrote does not care (or even know!) if the data in the KML file represents points, lines or a combo.

There is a bunch of info here on using Yahoo Pipes to convert SPOT to KML. I think they include an example that you can tweak with your own data. http://faq.findmespot.com/index.php?action=showEntry&data=69
I do not have a SPOT so am no help in making that work.

Finally, there is info in the Gmap4 'Help' file on editing KML files. Be sure to see the appendix.
http://www.mappingsupport.com/p/gmap4_help.pdf

You're getting close!

Joseph
Gmap4 author

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#11892 - 03/22/11 03:00 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Joseph]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Joseph:

Thanks for the additional tips. Gmap4 is a very neat tool. Much gratitude to you for making it available. In fact I think its already a large part of the utility of my Spot. Hard to understand how Spot can be promoted as a backcountry tool without real time connection to maps of better quality than Google Terrain. Which I look at at as relief maps, not topos, and certainly not very useful for actual backcountry navigation. So I have to ask, any chance of further development of Gmap4 to fill that void? Real time projection of Spot data to MyTopo or similar quality? Point and click/drag and drop file conversion of GPS data ? I plan significant travel with some folks who would really like loved ones to be able to track them easily on decent maps.

Thanks again for your contribution
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#11893 - 03/22/11 03:16 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Joseph Offline


Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 46
Loc: Redmond, WA
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Joseph:

So I have to ask, any chance of further development of Gmap4 to fill that void? Real time projection of Spot data to MyTopo or similar quality? Point and click/drag and drop file conversion of GPS data ?


I want to add a trip planning feature and as part of that I will need to add code to "parse" GPX files. Once I have that working then I expect that parsing a SPOT file would also be doable. I've already done a bunch of the trip planning coding but have more to do. Also, Gmap4 development is temporarily on hold while I pursue a map-related software project with commercial potential in the real estate field.

I've not given any thought to real time SPOT display. Maybe someone else will take that on:

Get Spot data
Convert to a file format Gmap4 can read
Place file online
Launch/refresh Gmap4 and point it at the file
Pause
Repeat

Joseph

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#11898 - 03/22/11 04:35 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Hard to understand how Spot can be promoted as a backcountry tool without real time connection to maps of better quality than Google Terrain. Which I look at at as relief maps, not topos, and certainly not very useful for actual backcountry navigation.


I think the answer to that is quite simple - Spot isn't a navigation tool, you can't see these maps while you are in the backcountry. The main use of these tracks when displayed on maps is to show post-trip what you did, and I assume the Spot folks felt that the average consumer of that data would be better served with a relief map than a proper topo (i.e. your grandma will see something that looks like a mountain on the screen when you tell her you climbed Whitney)
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#11899 - 03/22/11 04:45 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Joseph]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1033
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Joseph
I want to add a trip planning feature and as part of that I will need to add code to "parse" GPX files. Once I have that working then I expect that parsing a SPOT file would also be doable. I've already done a bunch of the trip planning coding but have more to do. Also, Gmap4 development is temporarily on hold while I pursue a map-related software project with commercial potential in the real estate field.


Joseph,

the one thing I miss frequently in your tool as well as other mapping solutinos is the ability to quickly sketch a route/track on a topo. Online, you sometimes want to show a certain route that you don't have a GPS track for, but could easily draw on a topo map to illustrate what you have in mind. Sometimes I have gaps in GPS tracks that I could easily fill with a little manual skteching, but it is rather complex to get a line onto any of these maps. Waypoints is easy, but tracks, especially tracks that connect to existing GPS data, are much harder to create from scratch.

Maybe there's more complexity to this than I can see as a user, though.

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#11900 - 03/22/11 04:57 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Fishmonger]
Joseph Offline


Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 46
Loc: Redmond, WA
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger

Maybe there's more complexity to this than I can see as a user, though.


Sadly...a ton.
Otherwise a lot more apps, including Gmap4, would include such features.

This is all part of what I refer to as "trip planning".

I would love to have the time to finish this feature for Gmap4 but at least for now more pressing obligations (like trying to earn a living) are occupying my time.

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#11944 - 03/22/11 02:30 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Fishmonger]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
FishM:

Not so sure that Spot not being a nav tool answers it. In fact, it IS a nav tool in the sense that two of its functions are to get help to the exact location of the transmission. In those cases, the transmitted data HAs to be translated to better maps than Terrain. At least I would hope that any SAR coming for me is using something better. Spot is also a tracking tool, and its not my grandma who will be watching me but some pretty good map readers interested in more specific info about where I am than just what looks like a mountain. Like proximity to the planned route and resources, on-trail or off, relative position of key features like trailheads, trail junctions, ranger stations, summit Starbuck's, lotsa stuff that is either inconsistent or just isn't on Google Terrain. Oh sure, my friends can do it manually: transfer coordinates manually or by Gmap4 to USGS or MyTopos, it just seems they shouldn't have to. They put so much into it, just seems like the Spot folks could have gone the extra mile to provide automatically what Joseph has done open source.


Edited by saltydog (03/22/11 02:32 PM)
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#11945 - 03/22/11 02:40 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Joseph Offline


Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 46
Loc: Redmond, WA
Originally Posted By: saltydog
.... what Joseph has done open source.


What you do not see are the 1000+ lines of php code on my server. That stuff handles all the cross domain file reading, converting GPX to KML (via GPSBabel running on my server), validating of URL parameters and sundry other chores.

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#11951 - 03/22/11 03:31 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Fishmonger wrote:
> I think the answer to that is quite simple - Spot isn't a navigation tool, you can't see these maps while you are in the backcountry.

Hah! But it IS a nav tool! Last summer, I was lost on (actually OFF) the JMT southbound somewhere south of Devils Postpile. We had seen and followed several very old JMT signs near Crater Meadow.

I realized we were on the wrong trail, but not sure where.

...so, I pulled out my cell phone (Mammoth Mtn was in view), and called my son in MI. He looked up my SPOT location, and told me what trail I was on. grin

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#11977 - 03/23/11 04:20 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Joseph]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Joseph:

We don't see the code directly, but believe me, it shows in the comprehensive functionality of Gmap4. In fact, without Gmap4, I might have just bundled my new SPOT back up and returned it. With it, I can provide my trackers with a pretty easy way to generate at least a daily update to MyTopo maps. Can't tell you how much I appreciate that.
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#11978 - 03/23/11 04:26 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: saltydog]
Joseph Offline


Registered: 09/03/10
Posts: 46
Loc: Redmond, WA
Thanks for the kind words.

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#12062 - 03/25/11 12:30 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Steve C]
Hortuna Offline
SPOT sales rep

Registered: 03/24/11
Posts: 2
Loc: Orange County, Ca
Just to make sure I understand and i have not read all the posts. You want to see more than 100 tracks on one page? is that right?

Did you select to see 100 tracks, then use select all check the 100 boxes?

repeat the same on the next page and the next page and the next, etc?

Then, Show on Map. I believe this should show all your tracks for the last 30 days of tracking on one map.

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#12063 - 03/25/11 12:43 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Hortuna]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Hortuna
Just to make sure I understand and i have not read all the posts.


Just read the first post in the thread.
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#12091 - 03/26/11 08:07 AM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Hortuna]
Pijiu & The Man Offline


Registered: 12/06/10
Posts: 5
Loc: SoCal
It would be nice to be able to select a range of dates for viewing rather than the "100 per page" currently available.

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#12100 - 03/26/11 05:08 PM Re: SPOT GPS Messenger [Re: Pijiu & The Man]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I think you can accomplish the same thing by setting up several different profiles, and then keep different dates or sets of points in different profiles. Have to experiment to confirm that


Edited by saltydog (03/26/11 05:09 PM)
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