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Old Oct 31, 2007, 08:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Using APRS for GPS locating on iPhone Maps

While playing with the Navizon Virtual GPS on my iPhone I noticed an important and very cool feature of the Google maps application, it can use KML from a website to pinpoint a location. With KML the possibilities are endless, but for one, there's a great site at http://aprs.fi/ for converting APRS locations over-the-air (via Amateur Radio) into a KML URL. This site also has the best Google map interface for tracking I've seen, yet.

So, for instance, if you open the Maps application and type "http://aprs.fi/aprsupdate.kml?call=W5JDP-2" into the search bar it'll actually pinpoint the location from the KML file on the map. In this case "W5JDP" is my callsign and "-2" is the ID that just happens to be the last reported location of my boat "Sundown" on Lake Lewisville near Dallas, TX. What's cool is that lots of HAM Radio operators already have a transmitter like this beaconing as they drive around in their cars. Now, with an iPhone they can use that information to see where they're at on the map.

Unfortunately, I just noticed that when you bookmark this pinpoint, it doesn't actually save the KML URL, just the coordinates it retrieved. Also, it doesn't seem as if you can browse for the link in Safari and have it open the map application. This wouldn't be too hard to 'fix' if Apple associated a KML file with the Maps application, allowing business owners to have a "Show me on a map" link.

I'll also mention that if you're not a licensed radio operator, but still technically inclined, there is a similar effort based on other GPS enabled cellphones detailed over at http://mologogo.wikispaces.com/.
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Old Nov 5, 2007, 12:21 PM   #2
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Not sure that many people have realized the potential for using KML with the google maps on the iphone yet.

Here is a brief post about using a pay-as-you-go Boost mobile phone (~$30) for GPS tracking purposes and then how to view that location on an iPhone or pc with google maps. This is VERY similar to the approach you describe using Amateur Radio.


Seems like there are many many possibilities for this, as long as you load the mologogo app on the boost phone and the battery stays alive, it can continue to transmit its GPS location...

Throw one into the trunk of your kids car when he/she leaves for the night... Throw one into each of your bags when leaving on a trip... Tie one around the neck of your dog...

I am sure there are more creative people than me who can think of creative things to track with a relatively cheap pay as you go phone. I believe the boost mobile data plan that this would require is $.35 per day, so it would not be totally free, but still fairly cheap if you needed to track things other than 24/7...
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