Bag of Spoons
Just off the A1(M)

Fri, 22 Sep 2006

Streetmapping

In order to get going on the Openstreetmap project I am having another go at using the Acer n35 PDA/GPS I borrowed before. I looked at various dedicated GPS units, but they were either too expensive or too limited for my requirements. I wanted something that would allow me to collect lots of traces whilst travelling, but also give me navigation when I need it. I'm having to compromise on battery life, but I don't expect to be out walking for hours with it. It has some advantages over my Palm, such as the option to add wifi, but it may take a while to adjust to different applications.

So far I have submitted a couple of traces of Arlesey around my house. I'll venture further afield as I get the time. I'll also be using it when out in the car, but this requires that I find a workaround for the GPS opaque windscreen on my Zafira. I'm hoping that an external antenna will work somewhere in the car. I may also buy some extra software called GpsGate that will allow me to log GPS traces even when using the navigation software. Their basic version is pretty cheap.

I'm still learning how to edit the traces to give the correct mapping information. There are lots of options for the type of road etc. There's also the issues with mapping things like post/telephone boxes, bus stops, parks, lakes etc. I'm hoping that I can build a useful map of my area that can be used by local organisations without all the expense and legal complications of the commercial alternatives.

There are a few other people in the area who are doing some mapping, so perhaps I will team up with them some time to cover other towns and villages.

[17:31] | [/Internet] | Comments | G

Thu, 14 Sep 2006

Herts LUG 20060914

Last night's LUG meeting consisted of a talk I arranged by some guys from the OpenStreetmap project. There were three of them and they did a grand job of telling us what the project is about and demonstrating some of the tools they use. They planned their presentation on their great wiki. The meeting was well attended, with some new faces.

I've been looking this project for a while and would like to take part. To be honest, I'd like a GPS just to play with. As mentioned before I am on the look out for a new PDA and/or phone that should have some sort of GPS facility. Another possibility I've found is the Mio P550. As well as a built-in GPS unit with the latest chipset it also has Wifi. Price is reasonable too. I need to find some more reviews first. Alternatively I buy a dedicated unit that will probably be better for mapping projects, especially for battery life.

[16:56] | [/Computer] | Comments | G

Fri, 01 Sep 2006

Zoning in on the phone

This week I met up with Rev. Rumble after his extended trip around Europe and just before he returns to the southern penal colony. I checked out his phone, a Nokia 6630. It seemed to offer a lot of what I previously mentioned. No wi-fi, but that only seems to come with the top end ranges anyway. He has used it for navigation purposes as I would like to. Some on-line investigations revealed that is was superceded by the 6680 that fixed some of the issues and adds a second camera. This may aso be a dead range, but that makes for good prices. There's plenty on ebay. Then I just need a cheap Bluetooth GPS. Could be up and running for well under my standard mobile device budget of £200, but I might need extras like memory cards and some software.

Other news is that I had another week's camping, this time in Croyde, Devon. Had a good time despite the rain and managed a bit of mild surfing. That seems to be the main attraction around there, but also did some walking and visited the tourist traps. Bought a painting by Simon Clarke.

As part of my on-going lust to do something for the open source world I contacted one of the OpenStreetMap team about getting someone to speak at the LUG. So we now have a group of them coming along next month. Maybe they can recommend what I should buy.

[14:17] | [/Gadgets] | Comments | G

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