Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I have been asked what my next plans are, especially in comparison to Track'n Trail application. Well, right now I'm indeed working on implementing a graphical track presentation similar to Track'n Trail. If everything goes well, OSMTrack should become almost on a par in functionality with the Track'n Trail app soon (it will not support adding waypoints - they are of no use for the Open Street Map contributing; and sending tracks per email will possibly be added only with iPhone OS 3.0).

For the timing it is difficult to say right now. I have started OSMTrack with very simple architecture, so to say, let's try it and see what emerges out of it. Now I'm trying to develop a sustainable and extensible design, capable of doing much more then it does now. Also I 'm using OpenGL - technology which is new for me, I need some time to get familiarized with it, especially because OpenGL ES implementation of iPhone needs some special approaches different from OpenGL on desktop.

For the slippy map, this will be the next step. However, none of the existing frameworks - route-me, CloudMade iPhone Maps Library and a new iPhone OS maps framework suffice my requirements. In fact, I've even created a sample application branch using route-me framework, but it was slow and had bad GPS reception (it seems GPS reception quality depends on how busy the iPhone is). My requirements are simple - tracking shall work also in places where there is no network coverage. For this I need maps being rendered from local vector data (of course, it is also possible to use pre-cached bitmaps, but read further). This is why I'm doing it with OpenGL. Maps will be done in multiple steps, starting with street map only - no colorful areas like forests, lakes, etc. (currently OpenGL ES implementation on iPhone doesn't provide GL Utility library helping to draw arbitrary poligons, not just triangles).

And the final step on the OSMTrack roadmap is map editing. At least for the map editing I will definitely need local raw vector maps. I have not even started thinking on how it may look like, but still I'm trying to design tracking functionality so generic that it shouldn't require changes even when map editing is implemented. This is the difficulty.


CW said...

Since I couldn't find a better place to post, how quickly should my trace show up on the openmapstreet site? I uploaded a track and I can't find it. Any suggestions?


dtbow said...

Well, this really doesn't depend on me. I did the app, the OpenStreetMap servers are managed by the OpenStreetMap community, not by me. Normally you see your tracks almost instantly - in one-two minutes. Though if the server is busy it may take longer: up to 1-2 hours in the worst case. In any case you should get an email notification with import success message as soon as it is done.

There is one caveat, however. If your track consist of a single point (or multiple points with the "same" coordinates) there is no notification and your track simply doesn't appear at all. Silently. I have myself identified the issue just recently and haven't checked the bug tracker yet, if you feel it has to be fixed, feel free to add this issue to the bug tracker of the OSM at http://trac.openstreetmap.org/

Hope it helps.

EV said...

I'm sorry to post that here but I have several tracks and none of them appears on the OSM server. I double-checked my account/password, upload them several times but I can't find them anywhere.

My tracks look fine (at least from what is displayed). Could it be possible to know how many points are stored in the track?

Another question : what is the time between two points in your App?

Thanks in advance for your answers

. said...

...it definitely doesn't send anything :-(

Any logs available or other ways to debug?


Hinkie said...

Do you have a location we can send suggestions and feedback? I've noticed several typos in the documentation pages, and have some usage improvement suggestions.

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Hinkie said...


My uploads to OSM aren't working either. There doesn't appear to be any way to troubleshoot this issue.
If I put a blatantly wrong password in Settings and select upload, I don't get an error message.
If I turn off Data Roming and upload don't login to the wifi, I don't get an error message.
I have no way of telling why the upload is failing.

The display appears to be brightly-lit the entire time I'm tracking. I would like an option to allow the display to go into sleep mode to save battery power.

How do I continue a track if I pause the track to use the iPhone camera to take a street sign photo?

I'm not sure what purpose the compass fulfills. And if I've selected English in the setup, I'd like English letters on the Rose please. Suggestion: The Old English typeface is hard to read. I'd replace them with something much simpler. Would like an option to disable the compass entirely.

Would like an option to adjust the time between points. When I walk, I need longer times than when I bike.


A new user

Anonymous said...

I'm having the same problems: tracks are not showing up.

When I post a different gpx file via another route it does show up, so not a queue issue. Having some kind of details beyond progress during the upload would be very useful. Given the possible bug with multiple points with the same location, it would be good to be able to e-mail the gpx file so that it could be viewed and repaired by hand.

dtbow said...

Sorry for getting back late. I have created an email account for such kind of special troubleshooting. So if you still have the problem drop me an email with your setup information: your username, iPhone firmware, whether it is jailbroken or not, whether it has worked with the previous version, etc. The more information, the better. The email is: osmtrack@osm4iphone.com.

I use the application myself (of course) and my tracks have until now always appeared on the server, except for this special case that I have tried to log the position of a single location.

The application gets locations from GPS once per second, actually as fast as GPS provides them (it may be more seldom if you have bad GPS reception). You can see if you get new locations by looking on the timestamp of the current location (the top sub-window). The display has to be lit all the time - it is the only possibility to prevent the device to go to the sleep mode completely. In the sleep mode you will not get any GPS data.

For the debugging possibilities of an application obtained from the App Store - indeed you can do practically nothing. The application is encrypted and sandboxed - you cannot really get any information out of it.

For sending tracks per email - it is a bit too much work to implement an SMTP client directly at the IP level right now, especially because this functionality will come for free with the iPhone 3.0.

dtbow said...

For not reporting an error if the upload fails, I have to double check, actually it should. It is a bit complex to test at the moment as I have already moved to the iPhone 3.0 toolchain, so I have to downgrade first and then test - it will take a couple of days.

To continue a track simply start the application again - it will continue automatically, of course if you haven't stopped the logging before you quit.

The compass at the moment is indeed rather an eye candy. It should become more useful in the next version. And possibly it will have a completely different look.

dtbow said...

Ok, it seems, I know where the issue may lie. The problems seem to start on April 21st, when OpenStreetMap moved to the new version of the API. If it is true that the problems are caused by the migration, it should be (hopefully) quickly fixable. Though you still may need to wait a couple of days more before Apple approves the update. I will test it today evening and post the update tomorrow.