GPS RocketLocator offline map

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fantasiiio

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Hi, my name is Francois. I'm the developer of an android software named 'GPS RocketLocator' to track your lost rocket. https://rocketlocator.com

In the last year, a lot of people asked me to have an offline map. Unfortunately, google map doesn't support offline mode. So to make a real offline map, I have to work several dozen hours (probably 40 or 50 hours) to integrate OpenStreetMap in the software. And probably more to have an automatic save system that download all zoom level of an area.

So, before I get into programming, I would know if it's worth to do it...
I would know how many people are interested in this feature and would make a small fundraiser on my website for the offline map, and other modifications (also imperial units).

Thanks
 

fantasiiio

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Yeah, we can visit the area manually before going to fly. Sometimes it works, sometime not... It's not a reliable solution. But it's better than nothing. Also, you cannot rely on this to stay permanent on the cache of your phone. It's a temporary cache.

Also, my software use the google map API. Not all features of the google map software are in the api.
 
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keithp

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Altus Metrum's android (and linux/mac/windows) software has offline maps; you're welcome to use the code under its GPL license, but you will need to get your own API key from google (which is free). I didn't want to use OpenStreetMap as what I really wanted was satellite images, not road maps.

https://altusmetrum.org/AltOS/
 

Hardline

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Hi, my name is Francois. I'm the developer of an android software named 'GPS RocketLocator' to track your lost rocket. https://rocketlocator.com

In the last year, a lot of people asked me to have an offline map. Unfortunately, google map doesn't support offline mode. So to make a real offline map, I have to work several dozen hours (probably 40 or 50 hours) to integrate OpenStreetMap in the software. And probably more to have an automatic save system that download all zoom level of an area.

So, before I get into programming, I would know if it's worth to do it...
I would know how many people are interested in this feature and would make a small fundraiser on my website for the offline map, and other modifications (also imperial units).

Thanks
Wayne and I use your rocket Locator app all the time and Thank You Very Much for creating it. We fly mainly in the Arizona desert and your app has allowed us to walk right to our rockets every time. Yes, it would be great if there was a map associated with it and would really like to see imperial units, but so far the app has been 100% perfect. You put up a fundraiser on the website and we will contribute.
 

fantasiiio

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Here it is. I installed a donation plugin on my website. It is now fully functionnal.

All your donations are welcome, and also your ideas.

Thanks
 
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cerving

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Donated. I encourage all Eggfinder users who use Rocket Locator to send in a donation... believe me, creating software like this takes a lot of time and effort, and the small amount that he's requesting is certainly worth it. As for the offline maps, I've personally never needed them... not much to see on a map at Lucerne Valley, Jean, or Holtville.
 

BLKKROW

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I will donate as a user of your App.

I do not use it much but would appreciate updates. I occasionally do get issues and would prefer a written walk through on how to use the app since I have to reteach myself each launch.
 

fantasiiio

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Donated. I encourage all Eggfinder users who use Rocket Locator to send in a donation... believe me, creating software like this takes a lot of time and effort, and the small amount that he's requesting is certainly worth it. As for the offline maps, I've personally never needed them... not much to see on a map at Lucerne Valley, Jean, or Holtville.
Thanks !
 

fantasiiio

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I will donate as a user of your App.

I do not use it much but would appreciate updates. I occasionally do get issues and would prefer a written walk through on how to use the app since I have to reteach myself each launch.
Thanks !
Is the 'on the field' section on the website is what you want ?
 

BLKKROW

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Thanks !
Is the 'on the field' section on the website is what you want ?
I was looking for a mix between the Software/On the field page.

Again, I may be the only one who needs this and if so I may just write up a quick guide for myself. But I always get confused with starting Bluetooth GPS connecting the the Eggfinder LCD, then closing the app and moving onto the Rocket locator, etc. Just something with simple steps.
 

PokerJones

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Donated. I encourage all Eggfinder users who use Rocket Locator to send in a donation... believe me, creating software like this takes a lot of time and effort, and the small amount that he's requesting is certainly worth it. As for the offline maps, I've personally never needed them... not much to see on a map at Lucerne Valley, Jean, or Holtville.
Can we also attach a BT module to the TRS/LCD? I didn't see anything on the support page, I'm assuming it would be the same.
 
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fantasiiio

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I was looking for a mix between the Software/On the field page.

Again, I may be the only one who needs this and if so I may just write up a quick guide for myself. But I always get confused with starting Bluetooth GPS connecting the the Eggfinder LCD, then closing the app and moving onto the Rocket locator, etc. Just something with simple steps.
you don't need bluetooth gps nor eggfinder lcd. You can connect the eggfinder directly with rocketlocator.
Maybe its a specific need for you ?
 

rharshberger

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Can we also attach a BT module to the TRS/LCD? I didn't see anything on the support page, I'm assuming it would be the same.
The LCD unit for both the TRS and the Eggfinder iirc can both have the HC-06 Bluetooth module attached, and it is easy to do so. I did it on my Eggfinder LCD which I use with the Eggfinder TRS.
 

Hardline

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Francois, donated on behalf of Wayne and myself. We appreciate your efforts.

Chris - I didn't see a link to https://rocketlocator.com on your Web Site under links. Perhaps you might consider adding it. Or did I miss it somewhere?
 

ksaves2

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The LCD unit for both the TRS and the Eggfinder iirc can both have the HC-06 Bluetooth module attached, and it is easy to do so. I did it on my Eggfinder LCD which I use with the Eggfinder TRS.
It's in an appendix in the manual as to how to wire the B/T module. Easy to do. I've added B/T to a first generation battery operated EggFinder receiver on 915Mhz. I like it for testing as I don't have to put up with the "beep.....beep....beep". But for actual rocket tracking I love the beeping that indicates packets coming in on my EF LCD receiver. Under boost/G forces the signal can disappear but it's very sweet to hear those packets start streaming in when the rocket is in "outta sight land".
A live mapping app cues a person where to look for the expectant main chute event. Just add the main deployment altitude to field elevation (ie. the altitude you see just before launch) if you're looking in the direction where the map tells you
and you don't see the main, one either has a main event failure or the rocket is too far away to be seen or you're disoriented and not looking in the right direction even with the map in hand. It happens. I've had the experience of not seeing anything of a small rocket DD flight. Walk up to it and the main is out on the ground and the rocket is fine and dandy. No muss, no fuss and get on with flying the next project instead of running around all over the place. If one can't see the main event and you look at the altitude coming in, you can tell the main is out by the slowing of the altitude descent rate.

Of course the EggTimer TRS sets the altitude to zero and then streams in the baro altitude that is more accurate than the GPS altitude of a Sirf IV chipset. If your main is set for 800' that's where you'd see it on the LCD receiver plus
the Main and Apogee continuity indicators go out generally when the charges fire. The Sirf IV is not so good with GPS altitude but it's dern great for position. On a MapQuest photomap with a clear view of the satellites it's more often than not "dead" on accurate. Cripes in testing with driving an EggFinder around with APRSISCE/32 (https://www.rocketryforum.com/showt...-Mapping-Program-Update&p=1543086#post1543086) the SirfIV will put me in the
middle of the lane that I'm driving in!

I suspect an easy to setup graphical mapping tracker "with" cacheable maps will make it out there someday. The Ham Radio tracking programs "stuff" is doable but quite frankly is hard for a non-Ham, non-APRS tracking person to setup. Plus having to type in a fake callsign to get the programs to work is stupid. No one is going to run afoul of the law using their legal no-license-required ISM trackers with the software as no Rf is going out on the amateur frequencies.

YAAC, https://www.ka2ddo.org/ka2ddo/YAAC.html was a candidate but unfortunately Bluetooth connectivity on a Windows tablet eludes us at present.
YAAC is a Java app and with YAAC/Java/Linux it's a real sweet and easy setup. https://www.rocketryforum.com/showt...apping-Tracking-program&p=1534933#post1534933

Running around with a laptop in the field is a PITA so a tablet is desireable. Unfortunately, getting Bluetooth working in a Java/Windows environment
is equally a PITA (pain-in-the "you know what"!) Nice thing about all these apps are they are free and the maps are free. I'd like to see a graphical tracker that all fliers could use and that ability would really cut down on lost rockets
so all's we'd have to worry about is cato's and deployment failures. Although with a deployment failure, a mapping GPS tracker makes is easy to find the remains as depicted here: https://www.rocketryforum.com/showt...-Mapping-Program-Update&p=1573624#post1573624

The Altus Metrum software and AltosDroid for their GPS trackable products are pretty close to perfect. Several types of maps are cacheable and a very usable watermarked version of a photomap is available for off grid use. It even has a voice narration, though I haven't had a chance to fly mine with the Tele-GPS yet. The Tele-GPS is the smallest APRS tracker out there. There are smaller NMEA trackers (like the EggFinder format) than the Tele-GPS that folks can cobble together.
I'm not dissing the APRS tracking on the Ham bands (I do that too) as there are some propagation advantages to the Ham frequencies. Thing is a sport flier is likely not going to need to take advantage of them and won't miss them. Kurt
 

ksaves2

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Altus Metrum's android (and linux/mac/windows) software has offline maps; you're welcome to use the code under its GPL license, but you will need to get your own API key from google (which is free). I didn't want to use OpenStreetMap as what I really wanted was satellite images, not road maps.

https://altusmetrum.org/AltOS/
Satellite images are great but making sure the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed not to jerk the 'ire of any copyright holders could be a tough act. I suspect the "watermarked" map versions you use along with fewer zoomlevels keeps everyone
happy? Suffice it to say, your cacheable maps are perfectly nice, good and very usable out in the field with AltoDroid or a laptop. I loathe laptops out in the field as they are a pain to go pedestrian portable. Ok for base station recording or if one has the need to run rocketry software but triapsing around to recover a rocket is no fun. That's where Android apps, WindBlows tablets and APRS are better solutions if applications can be had. For APRS tracking with a Beeline GPS tracker very little beats
a Garmin, Kenwood D72A or Yaesu VX8GR (the GR is unfortunately out of production) for handheld tracking. A single cable between a Garmin 60Cs or CsX and the D72 or VX8GR and the rocket icon appears on the map on the Garmin GPS and is tracked in real time "auto-magically". No typing in coordinates, no typing errors to worry about, just lock in the rocket icon and the Garmin keeps track of the rocket and your position. Tell the Garmin to "navigate to" the rocket and follow the line. Will take one to the last known position and if a new packet is received, will adjust the plot. Folks, it doesn't get any easier than this and Ham rocket fliers have been able to do this for over 10 years.

I dunno, can you get a single cable connection to a Yaesu FT1DR with a mapping GPS?

Kurt
 
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Rocket86

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Hi Francois,

Donation complete. Thanks not only for the effort to develop the app and upgrades, but also for your time to answer my questions so quickly when I asked for advice. I appreciate it very much.
 

fantasiiio

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Hi Francois,

Donation complete. Thanks not only for the effort to develop the app and upgrades, but also for your time to answer my questions so quickly when I asked for advice. I appreciate it very much.
Thanks !
 

fantasiiio

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With your donations, I already made an update:

- Compass crash repaired
- modified 'radar beep' delay
- Sound doesn't set to max at start
- Rocket path line width
- Imperial / Metric measurement units

More to go !
 

keithp

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Satellite images are great but making sure the "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed not to jerk the 'ire of any copyright holders could be a tough act. I suspect the "watermarked" map versions you use along with fewer zoomlevels keeps everyone
happy?
Yeah, it's all completely on the up-and-up here -- we registered with Google for a 'maps API key', which is tied to Altus Metrum for use by our applications. There's a limit of something like 50,000 map image downloads per day with that API key. So, if our software got *really* popular, we might need to contact them and pay a small amount for more maps access. I'd love to have that problem. Anyone can take our source code and use it; without an API key, you'll be rate limited in how many images you can fetch, but you can easily register for an API key for free and get just what we've got now.

Oh, and you can get terrain and street maps too, all from the same API.
 

fantasiiio

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Yeah, it's all completely on the up-and-up here -- we registered with Google for a 'maps API key', which is tied to Altus Metrum for use by our applications. There's a limit of something like 50,000 map image downloads per day with that API key. So, if our software got *really* popular, we might need to contact them and pay a small amount for more maps access. I'd love to have that problem. Anyone can take our source code and use it; without an API key, you'll be rate limited in how many images you can fetch, but you can easily register for an API key for free and get just what we've got now.

Oh, and you can get terrain and street maps too, all from the same API.
I checked at your app and code and I have to say that you did a good job !
I was curious to know how you did an automatic download of tiles...

But there is always the watermark of google trade mark... is it normal, is there a solution to download tiles without watermarks ? Because the google map app on android can download tiles without watermarks, but yeah.. they are google..
 

keithp

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I checked at your app and code and I have to say that you did a good job !
Thanks!

I was curious to know how you did an automatic download of tiles...
Google provides a formula to take lat/lon and convert it into a URL so that you get tiles that align seamlessly. Then it's just a matter of building a suitable interface that lets you scroll around and paints the right tiles on the screen.

But there is always the watermark of google trade mark... is it normal, is there a solution to download tiles without watermarks ? Because the google map app on android can download tiles without watermarks, but yeah.. they are google..
Because we're downloading the tiles, it's in Google's interest to be able to track where they end up, so they watermark them. It's slightly annoying, but better than no maps at all. Altos Droid can use either downloaded maps or the native Android maps interface, which provides a slightly nicer experience with smooth zooming and no watermarks, but at the cost of requiring a constant network connection.
 

ksaves2

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The watermarks aren't that big of a deal and is a small price to pay to have a decent photomap in hand. If one has a live internet link where they track, fine. If not, even a line map that has the roads and major geographical features is very helpful for
recovery planning. The only caveat is in the featureless expanse out west, two points and a line is all one might need to get to a rocket as there may not be anything to get in one's way. In the Midwest, I found out the hard way that it's best
to have a map in hand rather than use GPS Rocket Locator without them. Kurt
 

chuck5395

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Here it is. I installed a donation plugin on my website. It is now fully functionnal.

All your donations are welcome, and also your ideas.

Thanks
Donation made. Thanks for adding imperial units for us public high school educated folks.
 

fantasiiio

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Hi, it's just to tell that the offline feature is in progress, and I have a functionnal cached map that saves tiles on disk.
It can also works with openStreetMap tiles
 
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