myTracks

4 07 2016

Posted from 51.06553 7.00345
the location of Minini, my favorite Italian coffee shop after finishing outdoor walks.

The app myTracks turns your iPhone into a fully functional GPS logger. Tracks can be displayed on different maps.

With the Apple Watch App you can start and stop the GPS recording, add waypoints to highlight important locations, and display information about the current GPS recording. This includes the starting time, distance traveled, current, minimum and maximum elevation and the current map.


In addition to the waypoints you can take photos from within myTracks, which are added to the GPS track. GPS tracks are stored only on your iPhone. That means, there is no need to register or Iogin to any network service. Optionally you can sync tracks and photos via iCIoud between all your devices.

Note
The image shows my first tracking with the app including a photo taken with an iPhone 6S Plus. The UI is self-explaining, no need to learn anything before starting your move.

App Store myTracks The GPS Logger

Developer website

Thanks for dropping by.
and
Thanks to the developer Dr Dirk Stichling.





There should be an app for that

19 05 2016

Here is another comparison between my preferred iPhone and the Lumia I purchased to see what’s going on with Microsoft’s mobile development (if there is one).

Nowadays mobile devices can be located, erased and set into lost mode if they have been registered.

Apple offers a pre-installed app (Find my iPhone) whereas Microsoft devices have to be accessed via a browser. If 2-Step Verification is turned on you first have to generate a code before you can open the website to view and manage your account details.

So much for
It just works
from Microsoft’s point of view.


This could be much easier if Microsoft would offer an app for that like Apple does. An app is faster, more secure than a web-based access, doesn’t need a code for 2-Step Verification, allows to seamlessly track a device by frequently updating its location, etc.

I would like to have an app for that on my Lumia 550 running Windows 10.

Note

When you first get your Windows Phone, there are two settings which should be turned on. Go to Settings – Update & Security – Find My Phone. Turn on (1) Save my device’s location periodically and (2) Save my devices location more frequently.


Thanks for dropping by.





iOS Compass

20 10 2014

You iPhone comes with the built-in app Compass which includes a Bubble Level designed by Jonathan Ive.

Open the app, swipe left, and move your device around a horizontal or vertical axis to see whether something is thrown out of kilter.

Unfortunately the Compass app won’t help if you stray from the straight and narrow or an Android fanboy went astray.

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Compass is a nifty little helper and saves about 1$ for picking up a bubble level app from the App Store.

Apple’s app wouldn’t work without the help of the nature, particularly the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s mostly caused by electric currents in the liquid outer core, which is composed of conductive, molten iron. Loops of currents in the constantly moving, liquid iron create magnetic fields.

From afar, the Earth looks like a big magnet with a north and south pole like any other magnet (the pole located up in northern Canada is really the magnetic South Pole).

The technique …

If you are a proud owner of an iPhone you have purchased a device which is in someway much more sensitive than any human being ever can be. iPhone’s sensors know all about your finger, the distance between your ear and the device, the brightness of the environment, the strength of the magnetic field you are actually in, and your current location and movements.

This mind map shows you all sensors implemented in the new iPhone 5S.

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Feel free to download this map from my Box account.

The alternative file formats have been created with iThoughts for iOS (.ITMZ file format). Compatibility to other tools is limited. The DOCX file format is suggested for those who don’t use a mind mapping tool. The file contains the image as well as a detailed outline of all topics.

Application File format
Adobe Reader PDF
Apple iWork/Microsoft Word DOCX
iThoughts ITMZ
MindManager MMAP
XMind XMIND

With the iPhone 4 Apple manifested it’s market leading smartphone technology. The integration of the 3-axis accelerometer, the gyroscope, and the Hall-Effect-based compass provides full nine degree-of-freedom (9DoF) motion sensing and can be seen as a milestone in the evolution of portable consumer electronics devices.

Hall-Effect
A voltage difference (the Hall voltage) is generated across an electrical conductor, transverse to an electric current in the conductor and a magnetic field perpendicular to the current (discovered by US physicist Edwin Hall in 1879). The voltage measures the magnet field’s intensity.

9DoF
The position of a rigid body in space is defined by three components of translation and three components of rotation, which means that it has six degrees of freedom.
Translation: Moving up and down, left and right, forward and backward
Rotation: Tilting forward and backward, swiveling left and right, pivoting side to side
iPhone’s sensors provide 9 independent parameters and so we talk about 9DoF: 3-axis accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis magnetometer

The Compass app uses some of the 10 sensors of your device to process their raw data and display them as a user-friendly information.

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The Attitude (rotation) sensor provides the pitch, roll and yaw (azimuth) angles of the device relative to the normal horizon. It’s part of the Device-Motion information computed by the iPhone operating system from the main sensors, particularly the gyroscope.

Although the gyroscope provides precise measurements of the angular rates, calculating rotations only from the gyroscope are subject to a noticeable drift due to various inherent physical phenomena like gyro precession. The Device-Motion computation automatically uses measurements from the accelerometer to minimize the drift.

There is much work for iOS to show precise data because the Earth’s magnetic field wasn’t designed by Apple saying NO to complicated things.

Strength and direction of the magnetic field is dependent of your current position.

  • Intensity
    is the overall strength of the magnetic field.
    This globe shows the intensity and direction of the earth’s magnetic field at the surface of the earth. On average, the field strength is about half a gauss; 0.5 gauss or 50 μT. Locally, however, this varies. For example, the field strength in Cupertino, USA is about twice as strong as in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
  • Declination
    is how far off from true north you would expect a compass to point, where true north points straight to the earth’s north pole (the top of the globe, where it rotates).
  • Inclination
    is how much the field direction is pointing up (into the sky) or down (into the ground). Up is denoted as positive numbers, while down is negative.

The app …

The Compass app has gone through a major redesign with Apple’s release of iOS 7 in October 2013. Redone from top to bottom, it now looks like a cockpit flight instrument with no hint of wood paneling or rosy parchment paper of older versions of iOS.

The compass offers all of the features present in the iOS 6 version of the app (though the choice between true north and magnetic north has moved to Settings – Compass), and as an added bonus it refers to geolocation services when showing your current city and state, and latitude and longitude coordinates below. In addition, if you want to follow a particular bearing (say, 23 degrees northwest), you can tap the compass face once to set it; as you move around, the compass draws a red arc on the inside of the circle, showing how far you’re deviating from your original course.

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Finally, the new compass recalibration tool says farewell to awkward figure eights and waving your phone in the air; instead, you play a make-the-dot-follow-the-circle game that’s not only much more enjoyable, but easier to explain to random passersby.

That may be all for the compass tool, but it’s not all the app has to offer:
Swipe left on the compass, and you access an iOS 7- exclusive tool: a horizontal and vertical level. The level is wonderfully simple, using white, black, and green geometric shapes to display level information.

Place your device flat on its back, and two overlapping white circles appear with a degree of measurement in the center; as you adjust the level, the circles change until they overlap perfectly for more than a few seconds—at that point, the screen goes bright green to indicate you’ve achieved a perfect level. Hold your device in landscape or portrait mode in an upright position and the app shows a rectangular level, dividing the screen into white and black squares. When the white square reaches equilibrium with the black square, the screen turns green. The y- and z-axis then are parallel to the ground and the x-axis is perpendicular to the Earth’s surface.

Limitations …

If you find yourself having problems with the motion sensors that power your iPhone’s Compass, Maps, or other third-party apps, you need to calibrate the compass before using Maps, Compass, or other apps that use this feature.

The calibration screen that appears when you first launch the app hooks into Apple’s entire Core Motion framework, which includes your accelerometer, gyroscope, and other motion data. Calibrate the device in Compass, and it should properly adjust your motion data in other apps. Unfortunately, this calibration isn’t perfect.

You can try to fix badly-behaving motion data by force-quitting and relaunching Compass to trigger the calibration screen. The accuracy of digital compass headings can be affected by magnetic or other environmental interference, including interference caused by proximity to the magnets contained in the iPhone earbuds or your car’s dashboard. You’ll have the best luck if you calibrate at least several feet away from any other magnetic or electronic devices.

Apple does note in the support document TS 2767 that

you shouldn’t rely on it to determine precise locations, proximity, distance, or directions.

Sensors such as the one in the iPhone aren’t necessarily as good as a traditional mechanical compass, sadly.

Summary …

A nice-to-have little app showing us what miniaturized sensors in modern devices can do for us in a pretty precise way.

Messing with powerful magnets near your iPhone can alter the calibration of the sensor. While the compass can re-calibrate itself, it is possible to mess it up. There are a number of stainless steel shields inside an iPhone that might have been very slightly magnetized by passing magnets. While the compass may work reasonably well, it doesn’t show the same overall field strength when you twist the device around in different directions. Avoid getting powerful magnets too close to your iPhone.

The North and South magnetic poles wander widely, but sufficiently slowly for ordinary compasses to remain useful for navigation. However, at irregular intervals averaging several hundred thousand years, the Earth’s field reverses and the North and South Magnetic Poles relatively abruptly switch places.

But don’t worry. If this happens Apple will immediately release an update to iOS which lets you find the way back home.

Related links …

Sensitiveness

Thanks for dropping by.





Location-based services

14 04 2013

A location-based system is a system of satellites and earth-based stations that provide geo-spatial positioning with global coverage (GNSS=Global Navigation Satellite System). Small electronic devices with appropriate receivers may determine their location (longitude, latitude, and altitude) to within a few meters using time signals transmitted as electromagnetic waves from satellites and pseudolites.

Pseudolite is an abbreviation of ‘pseudo-satellite’, used to refer to an earth-based station which operates like a real satellite. Pseudolites support satellite-based positioning in case of blocked, jammed or simply missing GPS signals.

A simple 2D method …

To understand how the location of objects can be achieved look at this method which was developed about 500 years ago, the triangulation method.

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The math is relatively easy but the prerequisites definitely do not meet the requirements when walking through the streets with an iPhone. You will not find reference points like lighthouses when climbing up the Everest, moving through the Everglades or driving through Australia’s outback.
And moreover it’s a 2-dimensional static method which doesn’t help to fix the location of an object in 3 dimensions, that means to fix the longitude, latitude, and altitude.

A complex 3D method …

20130211-210311.jpg

Using many satellites fix all these problems as 3 or 4 of them can be ‘seen’ from every location on the earth. The math to localize objects with satellites is complicated so just look at this image and possibly read the more detailed notes or look on this website and I’m sure you will be back at iNotes4You within a part of a second.

GNSS Positioning Calculation

The details …

The satellite broadcasts a signal that contains orbital data (from which the position of the satellite can be calculated) and the precise time the signal was transmitted. The orbital data is transmitted in a data message that is superimposed on a code that serves as a timing reference. The satellite uses an atomic clock to maintain synchronization of all the satellites in the constellation.

The receiver compares the time of broadcast encoded in the transmission with the time of reception measured by an internal clock, thereby measuring the time-of-flight to the satellite. Several such measurements can be made at the same time to different satellites, allowing a continual fix to be generated in real time using an adapted version of trilateration.

Each distance measurement places the receiver on a spherical shell at the measured distance from the broadcaster. By taking several such measurements and then looking for a point where they meet, a fix is generated.

Notes

However, in the case of fast-moving receivers, the position of the signal moves as signals are received from several satellites. In addition, the radio signals slow slightly as they pass through the ionosphere, and this slowing varies with the receiver’s angle to the satellite, because that changes the distance through the ionosphere. The basic computation thus attempts to find the shortest directed line tangent to four oblate spherical shells centered on four satellites. Satellite navigation receivers reduce errors by using combinations of signals from multiple satellites and multiple correlators, and then using techniques such as Kalman filtering to combine the noisy, partial, and constantly changing data into a single estimate for position, time, and velocity.

Location services on iOS devices …

Location Services allows location-based apps and websites (including Maps, Camera, Safari, and other Apple and third-party apps) to use information from cellular, Wi-Fi, and Global Positioning System (GPS) networks to determine your approximate location.

For example, an app might use your location data and location search query to help you find nearby coffee shops or theaters, or your device may set its time zone automatically based on your current location. To use features such as these, you must enable Location Services on your device and give your permission to each app or website before it can use your location data.

For safety purposes, your iPhone’s location information may be used for emergency calls to aid response efforts regardless of whether you enable Location Services.

Apps using location services …

  • Camera
    assigning the actual location if you make a photo
  • Find my iPhone
    locating your devices on a map
  • GPS Toolbox
    locating the actual position and saving them in a database

GPS Toolbox …

GPS Toolbox by Audama Software Inc. is a location-based tool for Apple’s iOS devices.

This app provides a variety of GPS and map related tools which enable you to save locations to exportable lists, convert between coordinate formats, and view different map formats (road, satellite, hybrid, or terrain maps) from both Google maps and Bing maps. These features allow you to do things such as:

  • Find GPS coordinates for a location without ever going there.
  • Find what is located at a given GPS coordinate.
  • Map out a list of locations (such as a hiking route) before heading out.
  • Compare map and satellite data from multiple sources (Google and Bing).
  • Create location lists and load them into other programs such as Google Earth.
  • Create location lists and load them into other third-party GPS devices.
  • Locate, view, and convert between GPS coordinates in any of the following formats:
    Decimal degrees, Degrees/minutes, Degrees/minutes/seconds, UTM, MGRS.
  • Manage a collection of GPS points within data files. These data logs can be easily viewed, edited and exported. The following export formats are currently supported:
    Tab delimited, Comma separated values (CSV), GPX, KML, KMZ, HTML tables.
  • Additional features include viewing and saving the current GPS data as well as converting between GPS coordinates and physical addresses.

This gallery shows you some features of the app and the locations I have been. Some of these locations have been recorded with the app others have been entered manually because at the time I visited these places Apple was in the middle of its life crisis and far far away from purchasing smartphones or tablets.

Apple’s privacy policy …

If you use location services on you iOS device look here for informations about your privacy.

Apple Inc. , May 21, 2012
Location-Based Services
To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used by Apple and our partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services. For example, we may share geographic location with application providers when you opt in to their location services.
Some location-based services offered by Apple, such as the “Find My iPhone” feature, require your personal information for the feature to work.

Links …


iPhones dining habits

LG: Location based Services for Mobile








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