GPS Tracking for Android: Displaying trail data on topo maps.

Since it is a highly requested feature, I've been spending a lot of time lately on refining our GPS tracking solution for Android. Tracking, also known as breadcrumbing, automatically marks a series of GPS points as you travel with GPS on. 

Although they are typically end up as a bunch of squiggly lines, there are some challenges to drawing GPS tracks on Android and other mobile devices. The sheer amount of data, though it wouldn't be an issue for your quad core desktop, can be an issue for mobile apps. 

Despite the challenges, I'm glad to announce some great progress in GPS tracking for Android.
This is a screenshot of the Continental Divide on a wide zoom that shows it covering four states. This squiggly line has more than 18000 points, spread over four tracks in four states. As of yesterday, BackCountry Navigator is able to display this in real time. 

Continental Divide trail GPS track in Android.

Here is a different view of the same data, with a higher zoom on the GPS track in Android with a topo map. In this case, you still must consider all 18000 points and sort through them in order to draw a smaller number of points, say 200 or so. This is also challenging on a mobile device, but based on our testing, this also is rendered in real time.  

This progress for having gps tracks in Android is very encouraging. Within the next week, most of you should have an update so you can try this yourself. Happy Tracking! 

5 thoughts on “GPS Tracking for Android: Displaying trail data on topo maps.

  1. As to tracks… you might want to take a look at an app called “My Tracks” available on the Market, and I think from Google, which might mean their budget is slightly larger than yours, eh? Any way whatever you can do give BC Nav something akin to this functionality will be appreciated.

    Also, a couple of nit-picky things that I’ve noticed are: Altitude (in the “Trip Computer” view) is apparently reported in meters even though the units state Ft., and the cursor that indicates position is still hard to discern, even in red.

    Otherwise, great app and I use it every time I go out.


  2. Altitude is wrong and should be fixed with the next release. 

    Will do more experimentation with the icon. 

    My Tracks does have a bigger budget than me but I will do my best to learn from it.

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  4. I would love to see this feature. Googles My Tracks do a good job but I have not figured out how to use their feature off line.

  5. I am still learning how to use the program with my new Samsung Galaxy Tab and so far so good. I tried the tracking feature today and it worked well the little bit I used it but one thing I did not see and it might be there somewhere. Is there a feature that shows how far I walked in the bush in ft or miles? Is there a way to save the tracks and name them? I am sorry if I am asking something that should be obvious but I learn by asking or seeing

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