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My Tracks: A must-have application for capturing GPS data

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  1. JkRivers

    JkRivers Guest This Topic's Starter

    Google's My Tracks application for android allows for the continuous recording of GPS coordinates, with their respective timestamps and altitude. The tracks can be easily exported to a GPX file, which can be read using Google Earth, or any other software for manipulating GPS data. You can also export the data in Comma Separated Value format (CSV), which allows for easy incorporation into your own code, if that's your fancy. Full Google maps compatibility is included as expected, and your recorded tracks can be shared through My Maps.

    The application can be configured in terms of acquisition rate and notifications, but sadly, it lacks any data manipulation. For any recorded track, the application can display al altitude chart and a summary detailing trip information as the average and maximum speed and total distance. If you want to see a speedchart of your track you will need to use another program after exporting the file.

    This is, of course, nitpicking, as the actual function of the application is to record a GPS track, which it does phenomenally. The following picture shows a track recorded on a Kayak trip on Cambridge, MA, using an HTC Dream phone (G1) running unmodified Android 1.6, and read on Google Earth.


    Track recording can be done on the background, with the application icon being displayed on the status bar, indicating the status of the current recording. On the G1, however, this proved to slow down the phone due to its limited memory, causing the OS to become unstable. The application, however, was not affected by the instability of the OS and the track was successfully recorded.

    The accuracy of the recorded track will depend on the phone and the availability of the GPS satellites. While all my tests were performed using the G1 phone running Android 1.6, I did see that certain devices, like the Motorola CLIQ, running Android 1.5 did not record accurate information. The data looked very erratic when compared to the G1 under the same conditions, showing the track "zig-zaging" around the track recorded by the G1.

    Another nice feature of the application is the setting of minimum acceptable accuracy for the location, which avoids recording data points if you are temporarily outside of satellite coverage (i.e. in a tunnel). The application also allows for setting the minimum distance between recording points, which helps in saving battery life. Keep in mind though, that this application requires full access to the GPS, so the battery will be seriously drained if the application is left running in the background for a large period of time. This will, of course, depend on the phone that you are using.

    Overall, a free application weighing in about 700 KB is a must have for any Android owner. Even if you are not a runner or big into outdoor activities, you are sure to find a use for this fun little application.

  2. cbrace

    cbrace Member

    Mar 18, 2010
    Likes Received:
    This is indeed a very fine app, one of my favorites.

    Question: Does anyone know where it stores its files? I would like to move my tracks from a phone to a tablet.

    The sdcard has this set of directories which look promising: MyTracks/kml/tmp, but they are empty.

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