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#322382 - 09/14/10 12:06 PM Helpful computer programs and phone apps.
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
Iíve seen a lot of great programs mentioned here over time and thought I would try starting a common thread to talk about them hopping it would generate more interest and make it easier to find them again later. Iíll kick it off with a couple of apps for my phone that I am really loving.

First is My Tracks an Android app from Google:

http://mytracks.appspot.com/

It uses GPS to log hikes, runs, biking . . . well pretty much any outdoor activity. That in an of itself is not big deal, however the cool part is that you can upload the maps and data to Google Maps and Google Docs respectively. You can also view it on the phone itself.

The statistics is logs are location, distance, speed and elevation and combines these to give some additional info.

They claim +/-6m accuracy but for the two runs Iíve tracked Iím seen +/-3m as the worst usually closer to +/-1m. For example while running along a canal not only did it accurately show which side of the canal I was on but which side of the path I was running down on that side of the canal.

The distance seemed near perfect.

I didnít time the speed with a watch but after running for so many years I know what my pace is and felt it was also very accurate.

Elevation doesnít fair so well. On a 9 mile run here in Avondale it logged a 70í elevation change. Maybe Iím reading the elevation changes wrong and am trying to research that since min/max grade it recorded seem realistic but I doubt if my actual elevation changed more than 5m and that was when I ran through a couple culverts.

The route is displayed on a map in real time while the data is summarized in a log showing several aggregations and a graph displays your changes in elevation over the course. You get:

Total Distance - very accurate
Max Speed - seemed accurate
Total Time - very accurate
Average Speed - very accurate
Moving Time - very accurate
Average Moving Speed - very accurate and nice feature since it drops out time waiting to cross a road due to traffic or a pit stop due to ďover-hydration.Ē
Elevation - seemed accurate
Elevation Gain - seemed high but it might be logging the total elevation changes over the course rather than just the difference between the low and high points.
Min Elevation - probably 50í off. They say elevation can be a couple of hundred feet off.
Max Elevation - same
Min Grade - seemed accurate
Max Grade - seemed accurate

The elevation graph shows the relative changes in elevation and corresponding speeds over the course.

The map shows markers for whatever distance you set to measure your splits. And you can access all the above data for each of the splits (awesome feature).

Iíve been running insane amounts for the past 35 years and have never used any sort of heard monitor and even gave up on such things as watches 30 years ago since your body will tell you what you are doing if you know how to listen. Also, in my entire life Iíve never kept logs. However, I am already hooked on this thing. It literally does everything for you so there is no data entry or calculations. About the only feature I imagine some people might want would be a way to integrate a heart rate and/or VO2 monitor into the log.

If you are into any type of outdoor activity and want to track what you are doing this is the coolest easiest to use logging system I have ever seen. Well I took to much time here to the geocashing app c:geo will have to wait. wink
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#322443 - 09/14/10 06:17 PM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: grunt]
oldskoolboarder Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/25/03
Posts: 2181
Loc: Menlo Park, CA
Good thread.

On my iPhone 4 I use MotionX GPS. I tried Runkeeper as well but I like MotionX because the mapping is a little better, as well as the GUI. I use it for hiking, running and cycling. One of the better features is the ability to store offline maps. This is great when you are out in the mountains and no 3G coverage. This happens even w/ trails a few miles from my house. W/ the map storage, you can just track your route. I bought a Polar 625x to track my workouts but my iPhone is WAY more convenient. Being able to post w/ Google maps and Facebook makes it easier too.1

I also use the Geocaching app, which is the official Geocaching.com app. 2 yrs ago I bought a Garmin Legend HCx JUST for caching because I liked it so much (granted I'm still around 50 caches). Now I use the iPhone app and it's much easier. I can store pocket queries and maps so that I don't have to rely on 3G coverage. I've even used it to find a few caches in Tel Aviv, Israel. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to look for any at Machu Picchu last month. Now my kids love caching, pretty much because it's an excuse for them to get toys. But it allows us to enjoy nature a little bit more.

I'd be interested in knowing about any fantasy basketball apps. I know that there are a few for baseball and football.

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#322486 - 09/14/10 09:52 PM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: oldskoolboarder]
nickbuol Offline
axiomite

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 5325
Loc: Marion, IA
I used My Tracks when I mowed my lawn a couple of weeks ago. Our .25 acre lot was just over 3 miles of walking/pushing the mower. Who knew...

I also like Geocaching with my Android phone. The "real" Geocaching app is quite good.
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#322499 - 09/14/10 10:57 PM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: nickbuol]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
I just found my first two cashes using c:geo for my android phone:

http://cgeo.carnero.cc/

This thing is fantastic so far. Pulls up maps from the geocashing.com database including all the info and tips and which cashes youíve already logged as found. You can also save the data to the phone.

Some people have complained about the GPS on the Galaxy S phones either not working at all or working at first and then crapping out. Well so far itís put me less than 2m from both the cashes Iíve looked for. I have noticed that sometimes the lock goes all wonky when I havenít used it for a while and it seems to be determining coordinates from cell towers even though it says itís using GPS. Iíve found that if I disable and then re-enable third party apps to use GPS then it clears right up.
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#322501 - 09/14/10 11:00 PM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: nickbuol]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
Originally Posted By: nickbuol

I used My Tracks when I mowed my lawn a couple of weeks ago. Our .25 acre lot was just over 3 miles of walking/pushing the mower. Who knew...


I havenít done it yet but am considering carrying it around all day and enabling it any time Iím walking to see how much ground I cover in a typical day. Iím just guessing it will be around 15 miles.

BTW 3 miles of mowing sounds like time to get a riding mower. wink
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#322504 - 09/14/10 11:08 PM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: grunt]
terzaghi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 4870
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Grunt, it doesn't surprise me that the elevation change is off. Elevation accuracy is hard to get with personal gps.
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#322512 - 09/14/10 11:17 PM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: terzaghi]
grunt Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 12/04/06
Posts: 3569
Loc: Nirvana
Thatís also what the apps documentation says. Iím just sort of shocked that it can be within 1m-2m long/lat but off by a couple 100 feet in elevation.
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#322517 - 09/14/10 11:36 PM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: grunt]
terzaghi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 4870
Loc: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Yeah, that's pretty bad. The garmin etrek vista I have at work has a built in altimeter that u can calibrate based on a known elevation but I have still seen it off by 20-30 feet or more even when properly calibrated
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#322550 - 09/15/10 08:53 AM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: terzaghi]
Henry66 Offline
local

Registered: 07/05/10
Posts: 233
Loc: New Hampshire, USA
Is Shazam still the best Music ID app? Is the full version worth the price?
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#322566 - 09/15/10 10:19 AM Re: Helpful computer programs and phone apps. [Re: Henry66]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6469
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
Don't know, but I love the free version of Shazam.
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