I have been looking for convenient solution to use my Samsung Galaxy S as a gps device to use outdoor.
I often go biking around where I live and sometimes get a bit lost in the forest. I always bring with me a hiking map from IGN but in the forest, it is not always easy to locate oneself.
I finally managed to find good piece of software and hardware that combine maps and geo positionning for a very moderate cost and I wanted to share it, this is the purpose of this article.
First things first, harware
Galaxy S gps capabilities are ... hum ... limited to say it nicely. So I use an external gps device: an I-blue 747 that I hook up with my phone over bluetooth. This has the advantage of saving the phone's battery because the gps function is really a battery sucker bitch.
I don't remember how much I paid it a few years back and I think it is discontinued by now. Anyway, cheap gps devices must still be for sale somewhere.
Hooking the GPS with the phone
- Navigate to bluetooth settings
- Activate bluetooth
- Click on "Look for devices"
- Click on "pair device"
- Try 0000 or 1234 when prompted for a number.
- Your GPS should now be paired with your phone.
Setting up trekbuddy
Ticking the right options
- Settings/Desktop/EasyZomm: select "layers". This will enable you to zoom in and out through the different zoom layers of your maps.
- Settings/Location/Provider: tick "Bluetooth". This tells trekbuddy to use the bluetooth gps device.
UI-profiles are themes for the screen that displays gps data: position, distance, speed, elevation, etc...
The catch is that Trekbuddy does not ship with a default UI-profile, so the screen displays an error.
You have to go to the forum where people share their themes and download one you like to your phone. This is how I found a nice theme for my samsung galaxy S:
- Log in to this forum: http://www.trekbuddy.net/forum/. There is a log in as "guest" at the bottom of the page.
- Download the zip at this address: http://www.trekbuddy.net/forum/download.php?id=3973.
- Unzip everything to your phone in the "ui-profiles" folder in the Trekbuddy installation directory. On my phone, it is /sdcard/TrekBuddy/ui-profiles/. Do not create subfolders, the theme files must be directly under "ui-profiles".
Here comes the meat of it: maps, good maps. You can use all kinds of maps with Trekbuddy. You could draw maps yourself and save them as a bunch of jpegs and load them in Trekbuddy and use them.
Trekbuddy Map Maker (TBMM) lets you download maps from geoportail.fr, which are 1:25000 maps with every possible detail, height lines and all, they are very readable, if you get lost with these maps, well, you really deserve it. By the way, I suspect, geoportail.fr is not intended for random people to download maps from them since they actually sell electronic maps for money. Anyway, tbmm lets you do so for free (as in free beer).
I only got tbmm to work on micro$oft windows, you have to witch to windows to do the following:
- Download and install tbmm
- Create a directory structure like this one:
- The first level is the zoom level: 1 directory by zoom level.
- The second level is the map level: you can have as many maps as you want, create 1 folder by map in each zoom level directory.
- Directly under the top level directory (atlas in this example), create a text file named
.tba and write "Atlas 1.0" inside.
- Launch Tbmm
- Choose Webmap / Géoportail / IGN (best hiking, biking map for France)
- Move over with the mouse
- Zoom in and out with PageUp / PageDown, the zoomlevel is displayed at the bottom right of the screen.
- Select an area using the right click: this will be your map
- In the transparent little window, select the zoom level you wish to save first. Remember, the zoom level is displayed at the bottom right of the screen.
- Click File / Save.
- Select the folder that corresponds to your map and the zoom level you chose from the transparent little window. Enter a filename. I prefer to save as an "Untarred map set" (*.set).
- Click Save.
- Repeat from step 8 for the other zoom levels you wish to save.
- Copy your atlas to your phone under directory: TrekBuddy/maps/.
- Launch Trekbuddy
- Click on your phone options button (bottom left), choose "Maps" and navigate to your .tba file, select a zoom layer, a map. Choose "Yes" to use as default.
- Your phone should be displaying a nice map.
C'mon, if you've gone this far, you can help yourself:
- Fool around with the UI
- Go to the main wiki.
- Do some googling.
- Have fun!