GPSLogger - a Free BlackBerry App to Track your Movement

By Ryan Blundell on 2 Jun 2009 09:29 am EDT
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GPSLogger for BlackBerry Smartphones

Hopefully, you all know the story of Hansel and Gretel recorded by the Brothers Grimm. They were to be abandoned in the woods and their trail of breadcrumbs had been eaten by woodland creatures (jerks). Of course, everything had worked out in the end. If this fairy tale were to take place in the present, we may have seen a much different twist to this story. Perhaps they could have had their hands on a GPS-enabled BlackBerry device, bypass the Witch's house entirely and contacted the local authorities.

Okay, maybe not the best modern take on the tale, but there is a method to my madness! A few months back, Matthias (EMAC1.com) dropped word in the CrackBerry Forums of another ‘Donationware' app that he has concocted. An application that grants access to GPS functionalities, without having to go online. GPSLogger is a free application that essentially enables you to help you get where you are going and track where you have been. The application will also help you remember places that you have visited; perhaps a new hang out or a location of a movie set you accidently stumbled upon. Now, hopefully you don't get lost on the way to the rest of the review.

About GPSLogger

I mentioned earlier, that GPSLogger is another application created by Matthias Marquardt. You may remember his previous application I reviewed in the past; it goes by the name BBFileScout. As with BBFileScout, GPSLogger is a "Donationware" application, so make sure you show Matthias some love. For this review, we are looking at version 0.6.0 of the application, which will require 129.5KB of space. I tested the application on my Bold, but Matthias says it will work on BlackBerry Devices running OS 4.2.1 or higher, and was specifically tested on the 8100, 8310, 8800, 8820, 8900, 9000, 9500 and 9530.

GPSLogger
the General Settings menu

The first screen you come across, which is the General Settings menu, may seem a bit confusing at first. The application sticks to pure functionality, so you won't find any focus on esthetics. The appearance can be slightly modified to suit your preferences. Options including font size, units of measurement (Metric, Imperial or Nautical) and the colour scheme for the applications NightMode. Initially, you view the data in black on a white background. NightMode saves your eyes, by switching to a black background and have the information display in either yellow, red, green or blue.

GPSLogger
from point a to point b

GPSLogger
up and down and up and down..I'm going to be sick

I liked the fact that GPSLogger offers a variety of ‘views' to search through, depending on the information you require. The different view modes include:

Path - a 2 dimensional view of your path so far.

Elevation - over time, this view will show your current altitude; using WGS 84 (WGS 84 is the latest revision of the World Geodetic System). This WGS is a mathematical representation of the 3D Earth.

Speed - during the tracking period, this view will display any changes in your speed.

GPS - This view will show your heading, speed as well as your longitude or latitude.

Timing - Here, you can keep track of the elapsed time and current speed.

Compass - I love this view. For those who are running OS 4.6 or higher, you can get access to a working compass.

Direction - If you have a destination entered into the application, this view will display an arrow or line that will point you in the right direction.

GPSLogger
the compass in day mode

GPSLogger
the compass in night mode

GPSLogger
hmm gotta love traffic!

The header of each view screen will show you your Lat and Long, Altitude, the number of Satellites and Velocity. I kept the update interval at the default 5 seconds as I found it gave me a fairly accurate readout. GPSLogger allows you to use trackball or keyboard shortcuts to navigate through the interval positions. I was quite surprised at some of the results I found during the review. What started out as a simple family outing became a fascinating set of results. To see the elevation variation or changes in velocity or even the compass moving was amazing. You are also able to zoom in and out to get a more detailed look at the information.

Now, I don't recommend this while driving, but you can add notes as you go. If you happen to find a quaint little shop or another place of interest on your path, you can make a note in the log for future reference. Unfortunately, these notes are only recorded on your current view. I couldn't see the notes I made in the Elevation View when I switched to Path View. You can also pause the application at each location and choose to add the Location information for future use. Perhaps you want to load it as a destination for a later trip. This function is also known as the Guide Me Home function. The Location Manager has an option where you can manually enter in a location, hellllooo Geocaching! Besides positions, you can record paths taken.

GPSLogger also utilizes Waypoint files.

GPX - AKA GPS eXchange Format contains specific geocaching data (Long/Lat, Timestamp, etc)

KML - stands for Keyhole Modeling Language. Originally used for Google Earth, this format is used to display map info, movement, etc.

You are able to export your paths to GPX/KML and send via email or load the files into GoogleEarth. These file formats can also be imported into GPSLogger.

Next time your Boss/Parents/Significant Other asks "where are you?", you can copy your current location to the clipboard and then send it to them via SMS or email. Once you get a handle on the settings, the application is fairly easy to manage. GPSLogger offers a wide variety of keyboard shortcuts while you are in various view screens. If you haven't used your GPS enabled BlackBerry device to its fullest potential, GPSLogger is a great way to explore the built in functionality.

GPSLogger
built in shortcut help

Destination: the conclusion

An amazing array of features, numerous log and file options, multiple ways to view the information. All this and more can be found in this FREE app. I was thoroughly impressed with GPSLogger's offerings. I do hope that we will be able to view the same notes in all of the available views in future builds. For now, I'm going to add the nearest Rogers store to the Location Manager. In the future, I will set sail, for I am Onyx bound!

For more information, and to pick up a copy of GPSLogger, click here.

Pros

  • powerful functionality
  • easy to decipher information
  • compass included
  • export/import GPX and KML files

Cons

  • notes are not carried through to different views
Download
59 comments

MexiChriS

gonna take a look at this right now:)

jfsalewicz

I am going to give it the old college try and I will let you all know

wpn00b

This looks like it will be pretty handy to track progress when runnning. I'm gonna check this out.

topdog9000

Just a question to anyone who might know...While on an airplane phones need to me in "airplane mode" however there are certain devices that are allowed to be in use when in flight. A gps is allowed. Since this program doesnt need internet or the network, can it be used in airplane mode where its just using the gps? Itd be very interesting to track a flight.

Stuart Schwartz

Whether you could use your GPS receiver on a plane is a mute point since in order to get a GPS reading you need a clear and unobstructed view of the sky. Simply pointing your berry out the plane window will not allow it to pull a clear GPS read. Also, the metal shell of the plane acts as a barrier to the GPS receiver as well.

topdog9000

Yes that is true, however just wondering if the app would work while the phone is in "airplane mode". Also I am a pilot myself and when in a smaller aircraft I could probably get a clear view of the sky no problem from the cockpit

GpCaptMandrake

On a commercial airliner, if you have a window seat it is possible to get a GPS lock. I've done it. Obviously the better the GPS, the easier it is to do this. Never tried it with the Storm though.

On smaller aircraft it depends upon whether or not it is a high wing or low wing. On high wing aircraft I use a wired GPS antenna that I place on the dash board as far out as I can securely mount it. On low wing aircraft it's easier to get a lock without the external antenna.

topdog9000

Im curious to see if i can get a lock on a commerical airliner. It should be possible with a window seat. I'll be traveling soon so Ill be able to try this. Also the smaller aircraft I pilot is a Cessna, so it is high-wing but I think I might be able to get a lock.

Also want to send my condolences to the passengers and families of Air France Flight 447

amarryat

I have done it. Mine doesn't have an elevation display, however it showed that I was moving at 500mph or so, crossing right across the map. I was sitting in the window seat, and once locked, I had the Nuvi on the tray table.

techitrucker

Well, I don't know about that. I get GPS fixes with my Storm all the time inside buildings and within the sleeper of my truck. I was showing a buddy of mine who has and Iphone Google maps one day while in the basement of Moscone Center in 'Frisco. It picked up my location. Pretty impressive. Its not like your talking infrared remote control with GPS. Its a radio signal. The newer chips are faster and more sensitive than the old ones and work in more places.

jeffmeden

The GPS signal getting to a phone is far far FAR too weak to be useful under anything but a trivial roof like a picnic pavilion. Get under a few layers of building material and you need a huge array antenna to have any chance of getting a signal lock. What's more likely is you are confusing GPS with tower assist, which is capable of guessing at your location so long as you have a cell tower signal.

lowfire#CB

Downloading now! This should be a neat little app, hope works well for my storm :)

BTW Ryan, it is 129.5KB, not 1219.5 ;-)

packers123

so if this does not use the internet, will i be charged anything extra for using it. i am currently w/out a data plan due to tight money :(. just want to make sure if i try it out i wont be racking up a big bill.
thanks in advance

GargoyleDC

Perfect for partiers that can't remember where they were the night before.

jfsalewicz

This app is cool and works well on my storm but the compass is a$$ back wards. I point south it shows I am pointing north as well as wrong east and west....any help here?

exmeaguy

This is a great app for going on hikes. Set the recording at the start of the hike and tracks your GPS points. At the conclusion you can send the GPS points file to your PC and import to Google Earth. Pretty slick app.

afdude2018

Wonder if this'll work on a VZW BB? hmmm...bet not.

citi

For the last time. Verizon has NOT locked down GPS. It will work fine.

aliases#CB

"GPS is not supported on your device, Sorry" on my VZW 8330.

citi

That is an older phone. New handsets like the storm have GPS unlocked out of the box.

techitrucker

When was the last time you updated your firmware? GPS has been unlocked on my wifes 8330 since 4.5 came out. If you are still running 4.3 upgrade.

ffemtjacque

I get the same "GPS not supported..." message. Running 4.5.077 on Verizon. Bummer too, it seems like a pretty cool deal.

ericter

I have a VZW Storm running .148 and get the same "!GPS is not supported on your device, Sorry" Edit: went into advanced options> GPS> and turned the GPS servies to "Location On" and that fixed it!

R1cowl

I have been using it for a while. I like that it does not require internet access. And the Expoerts work on Google Earth or LIVE Maps if you have an MSN account. the Save a location works great, you could probably use for Geotracking too.

Dankees

Can it tell me how far I've walked?

R1cowl

Yes it will tell Total Distance, Total Time, Max Speed and Elivation max/min

sugardad

I've been usin this app for years now
It's trully awesome and provides many useful info screens Speed over time, elevation over time etc.. besides it's valuable also export formats GPX, KML
Hey I have also test drived I'ts capabilities while on a Airbus A321
This App Is a MUST HAVE!

topdog9000

well anyway for anyone interested...I just noticed that turning your network and wireless radios off, it doesnt affect the gps....so the GPS will work in airplane mode..i never knew this but itll come in handy for gpslogger

delsolracing

This looks like it will be an awesome app for navigation of the river this summer. It is always changing and shifting so having a saved path would be great, save some time of running into those hidden sandbars! Also by the time you get down and start coming back up it is sometimes hard to remember your path so being able to see it would be great. (I cannot confirm nor deny if alcohol has anything to do with remembering the path :). Installed on my Storm and working good. Definitely donating for this one!!

xeon

This might be better to ask in the forum... but here goes. Does the GPS functionality work on this phone for instance if it were under my seat on my road bike in a bag? Or would I have to strap it to my handlebars? This looks like a nice application and another reason to get a BB if I could use it for tracking my bike rides/training.

ccpfwr

Wonder if this app will work on the BB Curve 8350i???

LULU_BERRY

See my post about my quick review on the GPS Logger. The BB Curve 8350I is what I have. And tested it on.

LULU_BERRY

I had downloaded it this morning after reading the post and have tested it. The compass will give a correct location, and then change to an incorrect one. Then somewhat bounce back to a correct position. This happens on and off, about every five seconds. The day and night feature works very well. The path tracker does work quite good. The line seen as the path does show as a zig zag line, when walking a straight path, but as we know with GPS its an approximation of location. But it does give you an idea of the direction you are going in. At the end of my "test walk" It did show the start and ending points to be right where they should have been. Overall I would say that It's pretty good. The one thing that I did not like is when I opened the menu to change features, it would show the menu in sections and parts of the menu would disappear, then come back. Like trying to open a web page on a browser on a pc that runs slow. But overall its worth having on your BlackBerry.

bsewall

I've been using this app since December or January. Absolutely love it, especialy how I can export to Google Maps / Earth and even upload to everytrail.com. Glad to see this app is finally seeing some spotlight!

don.new

@xeon I used this yesterday from the back pocket of my bike shirt. Worked great. Handlebar-mount might shake the phone up too much!

cazcorp

Ok never played with anything like this before can anyone write up a short getting started guide so I can get this working please....

emacf1

expect that to be fixed in one of the next releases - slipped somehow though my fingers...

andrewreninger

I am looking for a GPS utility that will help me map pictures I've taken. I know there are standalone hardware devices that will work with a camera to tag the images with GPS data (usually you synchronize the clocks on both the device and camera and later a utility matches the time on the device log with the time on the pictures and adds the GPS info to the EXIF data of the image).

For example, at the end of the day, I would remove the SD card from my Canon camera, and software would match the time stamps on the pics with where I was, and add the GPS data.

I'm hoping that there is an blackberry app that let me do this, so I don't have to carry around another piece of hardware.

Is anyone doing this now? What's your workflow?

robertnc

Did I miss something? App will not do anything besides "waiting for GPS data....." no matter what I try.
Verizon 8330 v4.5.0.160
Thanks for any help.

deus#CB

Same issue here. In case it's related, using the stock map application I've never been able to fix my location via GPS. It always just keeps "loading." Perhaps I'm too impatient? But being that i use Google Maps exclusively anyways, I haven't minded..

I also get the title "Waiting for GPS data..."
with the message on screen:
"no data received yet... start 'Path Recording'"

T-Mobile, 8900, v4.6.1.114.

I've gone to Menu > Start Logging and still, nothing.

Menu > Options > Advanced Settings > GPS > GPS Services > Location On, is also intact.

I doubt it would matter, but in the intial setup screen (aka. Options), I left the 'Export Settings' default as they were, never specifying export directory or eMail...but at this stage I didn't/don't think that would matter?

Some help would be much appreciated! As I am very anxious to use this program. Thanks in Advance!
 

 
 
 
 

stubbornswiss

For all those having problems using this software on Verizons 8330.

The in-built GPS receiver ONLY works with VZNav and BBMaps.

To use this application (and any other 3rd party GPS application), you need a blue tooth receiver (also known as a puck), such as the Freedom Keychain 2000 (available in the CB store).

This is a great program, and it works really well on my VZW 8330 with the bluetooth puck.

Jewelzz

Spend $75 so a free application works? I don't need to know where I've been that bad.

stubbornswiss

Not everything in life is free :)

The puck opens up your VZW 8330 to ALL 3rd party GPS programs. Both free and paid.

It all depends on what you are looking for, and what you are willing to pay to get it.

Jewelzz

I never said everything in life is free would be nice but let's be realistic :o) , just making a statement that for me, I think it's silly to pay $ to get a free app to work. Others might be willing and the need, at this time, I don't. Almost time for a new BB anyway ...

MXRider88

I'll have to try out this app. Just what i've been looking for. Use google maps right now, but this would be good for out in the woods to track hunting trails, hikeing trails, etc.

Jewelzz

"GPS is not supported on your device, sorry". Freaking figures

Doughnutdemon

This is one really cool app. I don't really have a dire need for it, but it's fun to play with.

I have one issue which I don't know if anyone else has - I have a T-Mobile unlocked 8900 running OS 4.6.1.239. If I try to access the compass I get the following message:
"No SVG image support in OS smaller than 4.6 - sorry"

What gives??

mikethewop

I don't understand what the "Path Directory" and the "Export Settings" do or what I should select for them.

Doughnutdemon

The path directory is where the app saves your paths. You can create a directory on the media card (go into the Media menu and then select explore from the menu button pop-up menu).

The export directory is where the app will export paths to. Do the same as above. Supposedly you can load those paths in google earth or something like that.

aarpmember

Thanks, mikethewop, for asking that question. I dont't understand either. It's the first question/input it seems to ask for when it's started.

Can someone give the two of us some help?

aarpmember

Thanks, doughnut, for explaining that.

Tried the "compass" function facing due south and not moving. Every 5 seconds (update interval) the reading is something and basically everything but south. It's all over the dial! It also show that my velocity is anywhere from .2 to .9 miles per hour. My hand doesn't shake that much. Unless I'm doing something wrong, the compass function seems a bit of a joke. It's still a cool app to explore as there's a lot more to it than just a compass.

emacf1

If you like you can now join the GPSLogger announcement Mailing List:

http://www.emacberry.com/gpsl/gpslogger_08mail.html

emacf1

Re: "notes are not carried through to different views"

that's fixed in the latest release 0.6.1 ;-)

lohjack

I DL'd but messed up the path directory, I can't save any locations. How to reset the path directory in options? I tried backspacing to erase, but it always comes back.

When it says specify own path names, does that mean MY path name on my media card, or its own? Should it be checked or not?

TIA.

ffemtjacque

Will this work with the Curve 8330?

kerlj37

i love the back track feature it has, is the a way it can show a map of where you are at the time real time

Sudhanshu Srivastava

Does this app may record the lat-long like a gps data logger on a blackberry for all the path travelled(with a fix interval say in sequenece of 10 sec ) and then the same lat-long can be transported to some excel sheet or elsewhere.

Sudahnshu