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Published On: Sun, May 20th, 2012
Tips | By Remo

How to track your trail using GPS enabled android phone and My Track

Since learning to you use My Track after Bernie Arellano talked about it last Mindanao Google Map Maker Summit, I’ve been tracking all my outdoor activities using My Track on  Samsung Galaxy Y.

My Track is a free Google android application that record GPS coordinates on GPS enabled android devices, like this Samsung Galaxy Y . What I like about my track so much is the ease of using it .Record-Mark-Share. It tracks, marks points and save your tracks right on your on your phone. No need for an internet connection to save it on an online server! Start . Best of all, My Track data is save as a kml file which could used as an “overlay” on Google Map Maker to pin point areas! You can download My Track for free at the Google Android Market.

Samsung Y is the cheapest (I think) of all  android powered touch screens Samsung smart phones with GPS capability. I’m an IOS device Apple fan boy by the way but when I got Samsung Y and used it with my track for my “mapping activities”, it performed way better than my iPhone on a similar tracking app! It’s lightweight, battery lasts longer, also a touch screen and have Google Voice input capabilities. Above all its android powered which is free! The price? one sixth of what an iPhone cost nowadays. The only limitation you have is that the GPS is only accurate on an open, clear blue sky. That’s why it’s suited for tracking outdoor activities.

Recording GPS Coordinates of Trails

Before I start my outdoor activity, such as biking, I make sure my Samsung Y ‘s GPS is on, and was facing the sky to get a GPS “fix”. After that, I press the drop down menu on the left, then tap “start record track”. I then lock my phone screen and then start my bike trail.  I usually bike along unmapped trails or drop by point of interest to map and then mark my points. After I have completed the bike trail, I stop recording and then save my file to my phone. This needs no internet connection. When I’m home or once I get near a WiFi zone, I upload the corresponding coördinates from my phone to my Google Maps Gmail account. Those coördinates then go live on my Google map!

The following pictures shows  map and data of the “Joy Bike Trail” I did few weeks ago around Tacurong City. It includes a green marker for my starting point and a red marker for my ending point.

Bike trail Joy

As I am moving, My Tracks records GPS coördinates, speed, distance, and elevation changes. The following is an elevation and chart generated during my ride around Joy’s Bike TRail. As you can see it is mostly a downhill and flat ride along the course.

You even have details such as these:

My Bike trail detailsTagging Pictures with GPS Coordinates

 

Tagging Point of Interests with Pictures and Coordinates

If you want to mark a point of interest  with exact GPS coördinates and pictures, you can use this multi-step, multi-device process used by Twoknobbytires.com:

  1. Open the “My Tracks” application
  2. Click “Record track”
  3. When you reach a picture-worthy site, click “Markers”->”Insert waypoint”->type marker name and description
  4. After inserting a way point and standing in the same site, take a picture with a digital camera (your phone’s camera or a separate camera)
  5. After you finish a trail, click “Stop recording”
  6. With your track pulled up, click the three dots in the bottom right of the screen and select “Send to Google…”->”Send to…Google My Maps”
  7. However you see fit, upload your corresponding photo to a Google Picasa Web Album (or other photo sharing site) and copy the sharable URL for the photo.
  8. From a PC, laptop, or tablet: go to maps.google.com and click “My Maps”->Select a Map->Click “Edit”
  9. Find your way point marker, click it, click the “Upload Image” icon, and insert the URL of your photo. Also, click on marker’s icon, click “Add icon”, and insert the URL of your photo again so that it will be obvious that marker is a photo.
  10. Click “Save” and “Done” on Google My Maps. Now, you are ready to embed your map on your web site and have your GPS coördinates complemented with photos.

How I carry my phone

During biking I simply put my phone in my pocket and have not noticed any difference in the tracks compared to that of holding it face up. During “war driving” I put my phone screen up over my car’s dashboard where it has better GPS fix.

On accuracy of GPS data, here’s what twoknobbytires.com says

The accuracy and effectiveness of using a phone to record and document trails is somewhat limited so recorded tracks, elevation charts, and picture locations are more like estimates and not products of an exact science. Specifically, the accuracy of GPS points can be as good as +-20 feet or much worse if trees, buildings, or other obstructions are blocking GPS satellites. The elevation readings are less accurate than the GPS coordinates and can be off by hundreds of feet. However, a set of elevation readings should generate a chart with an accurate representation of incline and decline.

(This is part, more or less, of the how-to-mini talk given by the author during the Tacurong MapUp Workshop last May 20, 2012 at the Audio Visual Room of the Notre Dame of Tacurong College Tacurong City. The author is not in any way connected with My Track app as well as Samsung companies.)

About the Author

- I’m a traveler. I work fulltime as a medical professional. I go to different places most of the time I’m off my day job. I shoot photos for fun, hack computers for even more fun and play badminton as my exercise. And yes, I’m not rich.

Displaying 5 Comments
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  1. […] How to track your trail using GPS enabled android phone and My Track […]

  2. Lorelea says:

    i have iPhone 4s, and i get used to my Find My iPhone app features. Wanted to look for something to track trail. thnx

  3. […] Google Mappers group who laid down the google map of Tacurong City using google map maker and GPS overlays. Tacurong City Online, in partnership with LGU Tacurong City, previously conducted a Google Mapping […]

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