Mapping 3D flight path in Google Earth

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Dan Kusmer

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I would like to take the latitude, longitude, and altitude values from my GPS tracker and create a 3D flight path and show it in Google Earth. Can anyone point me to any YouTube and/or other tutorials and what software is used?

Thanks, Dan Kusmer
 

SpaceManMat

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Done it, not as simple as it sounds.


GPS logs are typically 1 position per second but can have large gaps, it also typically has poor altitude data during high acceleration. This makes for highly inaccurate animations. To get around this I used egg finder logs combined with Raven data in excel and a bunch of manual tinkering to produce a timed tour in Google Earth. However I have since had a second shot at this on TeleGPS data which required less fiddling. If you like I can look at your GPS data and Altimeter data? (KLM files aren’t any good as they usually have the timing data stripped out)

 

Dan Kusmer

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This is exactly what I want to learn how to do (Google Earth showing rocket 3d path, speed and altitude indicators are a plus). Any instructions would be greatly appreciated. Attached is my log file. I thought the Featherweight tractor I'm using would do 10 samples per second during ascent (it only did 1 sample per second during ascent) and then switch to 1 sample per second during decent. I'm looking into this.

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SpaceManMat

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I have not used a Featherweight tracker before so not sure of their capabities, although as you said the manual talks about logging 10 samples per second on ascent. Chris may be able to help with regards to what ishappening. Looking at the file it should not be too difficult to adapt my spreadsheet to use it. If you also have data from a flight computer then I can combine the 2 sources to produce a more acurate animation. I will figure out how to do it then give you the updated spreadsheet, results and details about how to use it. I am a bit busy at the moment so will take a few days / week.
 

Dan Kusmer

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Thanks, I really appreciate your help. I have no other flight data that can be combined with what I already gave you.

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Dan Kusmer

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I do have more flight data. I got a hold of Featherweight this evening and they told me only the 1 Hz data is transmitted to the ground receiver. The tracker keeps the 10 Hz data during ascent and a few seconds after apogee internally. Sure enough it was still there. I downloaded it, cleaned it up a bit, and attached it to this message in a cvs spreadsheet.

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SpaceManMat

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I built the converter for the format you previously supplied, is that how the 10Hz data always comes out or did you cut it down?

Attached is the results from the first file. If you play the animation in GE you'll see how jumpy it is, hence the need for better data.
 

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Dan Kusmer

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That was perfect, a little jumpy but perfect for my immediate needs which is to insert the animation into a video I'm making. I did eliminate a lot of columns from the spreadsheet and a lot of rows before and after the flight when no useful data was being collected. Due to a minor problem with the Featherweight tracker I had to delete 4 rows of duplicate data that were randomly placed but I kept all the relevant data.

Now for the big question, where do I learn how to do this myself for my future flights?

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manixFan

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I wrote up the procedure I use to create 3D Google Earth plots based on a thread found here on TRF. Unfortunately I don't have a link to that thread, so my sincere apologies to the original authors that contributed their efforts.

One thing that is common with nearly all the rocket GPS trackers I have used is missing data during assent, especially on higher performance flights. Mounting can of course also affect the quality of the data received from the GPS satellites which affects data smoothness.

I hope this helps,


Tony


Convert Featherweight tracker data to KML files.PDF:
 

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Dan Kusmer

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Tony, very interesting. GPS Visualizer has been around since 2002 but this is the first I've heard of it. Looking forward to learning it. Thanks for your procedural write up and pointing me towards GPS Visualizer.

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SpaceManMat

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I wrote up the procedure I use to create 3D Google Earth plots based on a thread found here on TRF. Unfortunately I don't have a link to that thread, so my sincere apologies to the original authors that contributed their efforts.

One thing that is common with nearly all the rocket GPS trackers I have used is missing data during assent, especially on higher performance flights. Mounting can of course also affect the quality of the data received from the GPS satellites which affects data smoothness.

I hope this helps,


Tony


Convert Featherweight tracker data to KML files.PDF:
Tony, it’s the quality of data that led me to create my spreadsheet conversion process. It allows me to combine Altimeter data with GPS coordinates. The GPS data provides lat and long, the Altimeter provides altitude. I combine the 2 sources at say 200 or 100 ms intervals, the gaps in the lat and long are extrapolated linearly. It’s the altitude that is changing dramatically which the Altimeter is a good source for, the lat and long should not change dramatically so extrapolating them is unusually not an issue unless the data quality is extremely bad, although a check should be done to ensure any questionable coordinates are removed.
 

SpaceManMat

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That was perfect, a little jumpy but perfect for my immediate needs which is to insert the animation into a video I'm making. I did eliminate a lot of columns from the spreadsheet and a lot of rows before and after the flight when no useful data was being collected. Due to a minor problem with the Featherweight tracker I had to delete 4 rows of duplicate data that were randomly placed but I kept all the relevant data.

Now for the big question, where do I learn how to do this myself for my future flights?

Thanks, Dan Kusmer
Dan, I’ll put the data back in the format of the first file and perform another extract. Also I think the units are wrong in the first file I gave you. KLM requires meters for altitude but featherweight tracker is feeding in feet, so need to do a conversion.
 

SpaceManMat

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Ok, attached is the updated file. It is a lot better on the ascent but gets jumpy on descent. I fixed the units, it looks a lot less vertical now.
I am reluctant to give you the spreadsheet that does the conversion as bits of it do not work or are untested. It would help if I had the original file not the extract. Also the decent could be fixed with altimiter data if you have that.
 

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Dan Kusmer

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This is my video which includes the rocket path using Google Earth. Can I modify the the kml file to produce a thicker red line for the rocket path that is easier to see in the video?

Thanks, Dan Kusmer
 

SpaceManMat

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Looks really good Dan, yes the track width can be altered. I’m not sure but you maybe able to do that with GE. Possibly you could alter the kml file in a text editor. If not I can alter the extract to do this. Unfortunately I have been very busy on a new project at work as well as wife having to go interstate so I’m not sure when I’ll get a chance to look at this again.
 
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