EggFinder Windows Graphical Mapping Program.

ksaves2

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In the quest for getting a simple mapping program going for the EggFinders on cheap Windows tablets, I discovered the program YAAC (https://www.ka2ddo.org/ka2ddo/YAAC.html) as a likely candidate.
As I mentioned before it works beautifully in a java/Linux environment but Bluetooth is being very "testy" in Windows 8.1 on my tablet.
The author of YAAC is working on it because the incompatibility means that YAAC won't work with other useful bluetooth devices in Windows and he'd like to try and
get it fixed. That is currently evolving and the thing about YAAC is an EggFinder user would not have to be a Ham operator to use it. I am hoping this can be remedied
as I would be tickled if my non-Ham brethren can have a full featured mapping application for the EggFinders with portable maps that doesn't need a live internet connection to use.

That said, I've discovered the "Hard Way" to do it and it also has the ability to download a variety of map tiles for portable use. No, Google Maps aren't
available for portable use off grid use due to copyright restrictions but an older but usable mapset is, along with a variety of Open Source Maps. Can download
and store the needed map tiles reliably on ones device for use in the field.

The program is APRSIS32 and I'm afraid it is an extremely steep learning curve. Even a Ham radio rocket flier doing some APRS tracking might find this daunting.
https://aprsisce.wikidot.com/

Again, the thing here is it is possible to get the EggFinder GPS tracker on a "live" map along with your position in real time. I'll try and get some screenshots tonight and post them here. Here's a copy of a post I
placed in the APRSIS32 group. It outlines the setup that I warn you is tough for the uninitiated. Several people in the APRSIS32 group helped me with this. Hold on to your hats!! AKS

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Hi,

I've likely conquered the ISM NMEA GPS tracker dilemma with help from Lee and Lynn. The problem was to be able to monitor a second NMEA GPS stream and have it plotted on the map. No tracking program
except YAAC has that ability. YAAC can do it currently in java/Windows with USB peripherals and with USB or Bluetooth peripherals in java/Linux. Since there are no cheap Linux tablets yet like there are Windows tablets, yours truly is looking for an ISM/GPS tracker solution for Windows 8.1 that's on tablets.
The Android world has APRSDroid which admittedly has a portable map set available and is compatible with bluetooth TNC's `a la AP510 and the Mobilinkd but is missing some essential features I believe are necessary for Rf tracking. For phones that have an internet presence it's ok.

The ISM band NMEA GPS tracker sends the NMEA sentences from a GPS over the air to a receiver that one can either plug into a USB port or use bluetooth to get the data stream into an application. It is basically akin to plugging in a USB GPS receiver and using that to determine ones position on a computer application.
The specific device is here: https://www.eggtimerrocketry.com/page21.php
The deluxe version of the receiver with an LCD display is here: Eggtimer Rocketry - Eggfinder LCD Receiver

Now the easiest way to set this up would for an application to have an additional user defined port to monitor the second NMEA stream that is coming in from the specific ISM receiver. Lynn didn't think that was easily possible with APRSIS32 and quite frankly, since there might be five other Ham rocket fliers in the U.S. that "might" want to do this besides me and perhaps five others in the world who "could" be interested, I can appreciate the fact it's not worth the programming effort. Nonetheless, there is a way to monitor two NMEA streams that Lynn and Lee pointed out to me. Simply run two instances of APRSIS32 and pass the pertinent data between the two! Hmmmm.


Basically setup two instances of APRSIS32 with one monitoring the NMEA sentences from a B/T (or USB) GPS source for local position and one instance that is connected via B/T in this case to the ISM GPS tracker receiver that is receiving the sentences at 1/second from the remote position. Run both at the same time.
The higher position frame rate that can be had by monitoring the NMEA sentences themselves is desirable as opposed to the once every 5 seconds packet done via APRS. Now of course one has to deal with the vagaries of reception and in reality, once every 5 seconds is adequate to find an amateur rocket for recovery with an APRS tracker. I and many have done that. But............. the potential of a higher frame rate makes for a more interesting map! :)


The setup took me some time but my first attempt failed. I want the 1/sec rate coming from the ISM rocket tracker to be directly observable on the map. That is achievable by configuring the NMEA port of the first instance of APRSIS32, the instance that will have the main map cache, paired with the receiver of the ISM GPS rocket tracker. It appears the program doesn't have any trouble updating the 1/sec incoming sentences on the map. Yeah, out in the field it might be different but hey, can always use a higher gain patch antenna!
The next step on this instance is to setup an APRS-IS port so this " 1st instance" can listen for the "2nd instance" that will be monitoring the local station GPS NMEA stream so I can see where "I" am on one map in relation to the rocket. Since I am not interested in "beaconing" the rocket stream to anything, I have Xmit Enable unchecked and I suspect Enabled is the only thing that would be required here for listening although currently I have all the other boxes checked. Now under device instead of "rotate.aprs2.net" or what have you, I have the local address 127.0.0.1 and port 8150 and it's done.


With the second instance of APRSIS32, I am interested in the local station position so I know where I am in relation to the rocket. Here I configure the NMEA port to monitor an old B/T Royaltek RBT1000 GPS receiver.
A small square box that sends out the NMEA sentences to other devices over bluetooth to be used as needed. This is pretty straight forward as long as APRSIS32 can see the Royaltek when one selects
"Bluetooth" in the setup cycle.


Next I go to "Configure", "Ports", "New Port". Oh, I forgot to mention and I'll say it now, APRSIS32 has to be the "Development" version so one needs to go into the .xml file and change the development switch from
"0" to "1". Ok, my new port I called ROCKET and it's a Local-Server port. The Device TCP Configuration is,
you guessed it, IP or DNS: 127.0.0.1 port 8150. This gets the NMEA position sent out (as an APRS packet mind you) so the 1st instance can "hear it" over the local link between the two instances and it will plot the local position on the same map as the rocket tracker is being displayed on.


Now since my local position isn't going to be changing that fast, I'm not at all interested in a fast beacon rate of the local position. I believe I can get the device to beacon once every 10 seconds so the updates on the main map occurs at that rate for the local station icon. That is more than adequate. If I need to check my position manually, I can pull up the minimized second instance and hit Transmit so an updated position will be placed on the 1st instances map!


Since I'm simply using this second instance to monitor my local position that's ultimately going to be displayed on my 1st instance, I don't have to be concerned with having portable map tiles in
the second instances directory.


I originally had the setup reversed so the rocket would be stuck beaconing at the "too slow" rate and "I" had to sleep on it besides reading Lee's suggestion to realize I had it setup backwards!! So I still have a few bugs to work out. I keep getting a follow me screen popping up on my 1st instance screen that is showing me the position of ROCKET (local) of the second instance. Since I already have my local position in my main screen, this popup is a nuisance I haven't found how to get rid of yet.


I also have some issues deleting devices so I can make new ports with different B/T peripherals. APRSIS32 just doesn't want to delete ports sometimes and it gets me plenty angry when I've closed down/shutoff a device, unpaired it from Windows and can't get it "unchecked" in APRSIS32. I've had trouble with ports and when I've paired a new B/T device in Windows, APRSIS32 sometimes can't find the new bluetooth device that I want to connect. That gets frustrating. But, once APRSIS32 is configured, everything is attached, it's rock steady. Can't complain there. I guess there is some sort of "knack" in doing multiple configurations here.


I'm considering a third instance of APRSIS32 configured solely for APRS tracking as I still use 70cm APRS trackers. The setup of course is straight forward. Use a D72 via USB in packet mode or pair an AP510 or
Mobilinkd TNC. The third instance would help circumvent the setup problems when I try to reconfigure a single instance of APRSIS32. I'm wondering if the map tiles directory of one instance of APRSIS32 can be shared with another instance and if there is a pointer I can setup in the program besides "Configure" , "Map",
"Tile Sets" "New Tile Set"? Any way to redirect or just go through the setup with New Tile Set again?
This of course would be used separately from the two described above with the ISM tracker.

Comments, questions and pointers welcomed.

Kurt Savegnago KC9LDH
 

ksaves2

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I did a drive around test. Screen saves to be posted as soon as I process some. Updates of the tracker occur 1/second on the map which is pretty sweet.
Leaves a bread crumb trail and some points have the altitude labeled. There is an altimeter in the lower left that gives the GPS altitude in realtime FWIW.
The system setup this morning took all of 5 minutes so not so bad. Will post the pictures. The photomap is not "Google Maps" high resolution but gives a pretty nice over view and an easy impression can be had of the surroundings. All the maps were downloaded and cached. The session was performed with no internet access. Icon movement was pretty much 1/sec. That is really sweet.

I have configured two of my EggFinders to use two different types of Ublox GPS receivers that purportedly are more accurate as far as GPS altitude goes.
The EggFinder LCD doesn't decode the altitude for display with the Ublox chipset that well but the information is in the NMEA sentences and at least in Xastir, the altitude is displayed fine. I hope with this APRSIS arrangement the altitude will come across to the screen in a better fashion. Kurt Savegnago
 
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