I made two discoveries today. Well really, my friend Mike made one discovery yesterday (which I realized today) and I made another one today. I’m going to use my discovery today to illustrate Mike’s from Yesterday. If you’re less inclined to a little geekery skip to the map below.
GPS Tracking isn’t all that new, there are many devices to do this, and every mobile GPS unit that I know has the ability. The iPhone doesn’t, or at least not natively. Mike and I were exploring an area of Rochester today which I’d never heard of or seen before today. Because of this I thought it would be neat to track where we were and how far we went etc. Also because I tend to take a lot of photos I figured I could use the GPS tracking information to geo-tag my pictures.
My criteria for GPS tracking was that it could use my iPhone, that it was free, and that it could track my coordinates over time. This isn’t a lot, I know, I was trying to be flexible. I did a little searching in the iTunes app store and came up with InstaMapper.
InstaMapper fit the bill perfectly. Not only is instamapper free, but it pushes the data direct to a website (which requiers an account that is also free) allowing you to export it in any format you wish. It also interfaces directly with Google Maps letting you see all your waypoint data on a very nice Google Maps interface.
Overall I’m impressed. My only complaint is that the the waypoint data is not cached locally to send later if you don’t have a connection. While this isn’t a problem around Rochester, this will be a problem if I were to try to use this application in a more rural area such as the Adirondacks. Of course, there is another downfall to the iPhone app version, and that is the app has to be running in the foreground for your waypoints to get tracked. This is a limitation of the iPhone however; and in my opinion can’t detract from the value of the application itself. The app is available for iPhone, Blackberry, Android & Motorola iDEN(whatever that is) at this point.
The following is the GPS waypoint map created and embedded using InstaMapper’s tools of our trek today.
GPS tracking powered by InstaMapper.com
This is all in a park called Turning Point Park. It’s quite nice and apparently they’ve spent a large chunk of change in the past few years putting in the 4,000ft boardwalk. I’m awefully happy with whoever spent all the effort to push for the new boardwalk, it made the entire experience vary enjoyable and the park would be all but useless without it.
I will be visiting again.