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Google Earth as a moving map engine..


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This is basically the concept I have been playing with as a navigation 'education' tool.

 

Using a Netbook or Tablet ($220 - $400) and an external GPS ($45) I have managed to hobble together a basic moving map system that is surprisingly accurate.

 

Using the map cache feature of google earth there is no need to a live internet connection but the weather and cloud feature will require a 3G connection.

 

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Looks promising Gibbo,

 

Do we have any restriction (in regards to google) on the distribution of such system for free/non-profit purposes.

 

I don't think the amount of data would be an issue in this fast internet age.

 

Cheers,

 

 

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How is this kind of system setup...what steps did you do Gibbo to get it to this stage...is it possible that what you have done can be put into a distributable type of app (Pradeep what are your thoughts on this?)...what are the impacts operationally like a user has to do X to have maps for his area or are all areas covered by a single file that is uploaded to his unit...is google earth the way to go or Geo Sciences mapping (I like google earth being a synthetic vision) etc etc...just thinking out loud in terms of what we are trying to achieve.

 

Pradeep...what have you played around with in terms of mapping?

 

 

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Ok.. Google earth is a free download but can only be accessed from the google site - No big drama. Add a *.kml download and (other small apps as required) in a zip file and away you go. Google earth will work with external serial or USB GPS's (must be mappable to a port). The paid version is available to non profits etc as a Grant. Has higher level map editing tools. A simlilar type system is used for the UAV's.

 

The data as it stands is public domain (most of it came from a link on this site and I made a couple of personal changes). A fair amount of work is required to make it accuate and concise from an airfeild point of view.. Google being xml based makes editing the map / location data easy. I have the 2002 ERSA data loaded as a layer (public domain file with copyright) but it is missing the radio etc..

 

Map styling can be changed (with an additional hidden download from google) to support the Bing maps, Google Terrain (fav - 3d), Hybred or heaven forbid Open Street maps. Google maps are the most accurate and are out by no more than 70m at the edge of the map tiles (those squares that download as you pass over them). This can be calibrated if you want to get really technical. There are ways of storing larger caches of maps using open source map download tools than the standard 2gb that google impose.

 

Total database size is <4mb.. Map cache is max 2gb on standard maximum settings. (try not to store maps on SD cards as they don't like lots of small files.)

 

If required I have access to some pretty sharp Web / Java Devolopers that will give me some time with the correct bribes of fresh seafood from work.

 

Method I have been using for flight planning.. KNAV and export track to Google Earth. Load google earth check flight paths, weather etc.. Load flight sim and prefly route if required. Go fly (with a spare GPS lol). Knav seems to be a dead project - shame it had potential and is a great tool. mmm source code is on their website, Anyone!

 

Oh you can also display a unlimted number of additional live tracks from other users by simpy loading a KML file into google that is directed to a file server (google host at present) that is collating the data from the other users.. (3G based ADSB or maybe a battlefield control system for the next game of Skirmish, for nix anyone!) Data can be collected from google map phone users as well- A GPS phone not required as it will give you a general location of the user with an area of accuracy normally within 2-3nm. At least you would know if someone was in the area. It would be an interesting experiment to do at the next NATFLY, Get as many pilots to fire up Google maps with Latitude as they take off and track them in.

 

Hardware cost - $246 for a Acer Netbook with 250gb Hard drive, 1Gb ram and Atom N555 1.6 ghz processor. 10.1" screen. Anti glare protective screen cover ($10), Onboard Intel graphics can handle very basic 3d and seems to work fairly well. Battery life on Average 5hrs but has a 12V power supply.

 

At present I am using a Garmin 72 with a serial cable for the GPS. GPS USB mice are around the $35 mark on Ebay. Add a wireless compatable mobile phone to the mix for the live weather etc (and to act as a spare GPS..) as part of the normal cap.

 

Ian - would it be possible to somehow convert the old html airfield map into a online wiki so others are able to add information about the strips. It would require some form of standard, with a form of cross checking the validity of the data. Lat, Long and all the fun ERSA type stuff with a local knowledge section. Oh and maybe a link to the TAF etc for that airfeild.. Downloadable weather directly into google earth via the plain english converter!

 

 

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Ian,

 

I am currently working on converting the Geo Sciences maps to useable format. I am still using OziExplorer and similar products for GPS purposes.

 

I haven't use the google earth yest but will give it a go. By Gibbo's explanation i think this will be a cheap and easy option for us, but my question to all is do we have any plans to apply for industry recognition in future, if so I doubt the acceptability of google earth as the base data for maps. But if our plans are for a GPS with basic information, as a secondary tool, then i think Gibbo's method is the way to go as it has already been tested by Gibbo. It is all a matter of polishing things up.

 

Ian - would it be possible to somehow convert the old html airfield map into a online wiki so others are able to add information about the strips. It would require some form of standard, with a form of cross checking the validity of the data. Lat, Long and all the fun ERSA type stuff with a local knowledge section. Oh and maybe a link to the TAF etc for that airfeild.. Downloadable weather directly into google earth via the plain english converter!

I think Gibbo's spot on with this, as one our goals is to include details of as much aerodromes as possible.

 

A Wiki page with downloadable links for user managed file types would be good, I think.

 

Ian, I also think whether we make a list of TO DO things so we all are informed of the expected outcomes of our project.

 

cheers,

 

 

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Just to scare the crap out of pradeep.. It is possible to place the geo 250k maps onto google earth using the layer tool in the Pro version.

 

I have been having a read of the Global navigation system CARR.. Our system as it stands would be classifed as a NON TSO GPS system that can be used in NON-IFR flight without any hassles 'as long as there is another system' that can give a precise location.. IE WAC chart with nice lines drawn over it. I would seriously doubt that we could get a TSO system certified using cheap user freindly equipment. Garmin 96 series GPS (yes the aviation ones) are not certified for inflight use according to the rules.

 

 

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No Gibbo...that's all I have...I don't understand what you are after as the Excel file has the Identifier, Name, Lat, Long, Elevation and Runway lengths...are you after a file that uses the .wpt extension?

 

 

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Just to scare the crap out of pradeep

047_freaked.gif.8ed0ad517b0740d5ec95a319c864c7e3.gifThanks for that Gibbo....

 

Actually I had two concerns regarding this

 

1. copyright issues with google, by publicly hosting works derived from its products, on this site,

 

2. IF we go for industry acceptance the issue related to that,

 

by the look of it, those two concerns has already been solved by your previous posts, so my concerns are resolved....:clap2:

 

Ian, I had a look at the file, it is sort of the data I was expecting the users to fill out. But I doubt how many of them will actually download the file, update it and upload it.

 

Is there a way to set up a database system - like a sql system - which is tied with a web page ´front end´ so users can update aerodrome details just by logging into this website.

 

These are some of the additional data we can add:

 

1. CTAF

 

2. Fuel type/availability

 

3. Contact details

 

4. Facilities available (toilet..)

 

5. Maintaining authority (Council..)

 

6. Type of aerodrome (reg...)

 

....

 

regards,

 

 

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Exactly..

 

I've had a good look at the data and it appears that the GPS points are accurate so should be a good basis for the main data base. Now to figure out how to merge my data base with the new files and then find a listing of the current freqs so they can also be included. 079_throw_pc.gif.e071c8f36d135c7f050383c74279afc6.gif

 

Ian - What was the plain english metar / taf - web address and is there anyway of using a syntax in the web address of it so I can point it at a specific taf for that Airport? I am able to enter an address into the google ersa data attached to my G.E placemarks. At present they point to a US website but I would love to be able to automatically download the weather data when the mouse is run over the placemark.

 

047_freaked.gif.8ed0ad517b0740d5ec95a319c864c7e3.gifThese are some of the additional data we can add:

 

1. CTAF

 

2. Fuel type/availability

 

3. Contact details

 

4. Facilities available (toilet..)

 

5. Maintaining authority (Council..)

 

6. Type of aerodrome (reg...)

 

7. Airstrip data

 

8. Plain english weather 'web address' link

 

9. Inside local knowledge such as 'beware of choppy conditions on 04 final when Northerly wind present due to downwind wake turbulance from nearby trees.'

 

10. Pilot friendly accomadation / deals ie Port Pirie and the Budget motel.. Pick up and drop off at airport and free contintal breakfast.

 

11. Security status

 

12. Nearest Aero club and contact details.

 

....

 

regards,

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Ian/Gibbo,

 

I had a chance to play with Oruxmaps for android. It has the facility to include details for waypoints - including adding photos, text file, video and audio files.

 

The waypoints can be exported/imported as GPX/KML files.

 

Ian I will upload your files and see how it goes and let you guys know sometime tomorrow.

 

Cheers,

 

 

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I also found that rmaps for android is a free/opensource map viewer. I had it earlier in my gps but had some issues with converting maps and uninstalled it.

 

I will give it another try and see how much we can manipulate it for our use.

 

http://code.google.com/p/robertprojects/

 

Ian, as this is on the opensource GNU GPL V3 license, we can also use this as a base for our GPS program.

 

Cheers,

 

 

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Ian/Gibbo,



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some thoughts on this project:



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think we can split the project into three different sub projects;



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Creating/calibrating maps for the use of different GPS units/softwares



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Creating waypoints database with as much information as possible



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Writing the GPS software itself for the Android market



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personally I think we can prioritize on item 2.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The reasons I chose this was because we already have some information to build up the database and if this can be used on almost all currently available GPS units this will attract more users thus more contributions.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More on the waypoint database, I think it would be better to have several files rather than a single large file.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This will make sure even if one file got corrupted all other information are still available.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The files can be separated either by location (eg. Melbourne and surrounding, NE victoria...) or aerodromes, something for us to decide.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The files can also be exported/imported in the GPX format, which seems to be universally accepted and can be converted to other formats easily/freely.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guys, please feel free to comment on this proposal.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ian,



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would be able to spend sometime to polish up your excel file, if that will help in exporting the information to the database. Please let me know how we planned to build the database system.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers,



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pradeep,

 

I would actually like to add a sub project or three..

 

1a. Flight planning app.. KNAV has a great back end but the front end needs a lot of work.. Seems to be a dead, open source / public domain project with no copyright notices present.. PORT to Android / Java / Linux. Suspect it was written in Visual C+ or VB. ????? http://knav.sabc.org.au/index.html

 

1. Creating/calibrating maps for the use of different GPS units/softwares



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Creating waypoints database with as much information as possible



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Writing the GPS software itself for the Android market / JAVA.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would love to see it as a generic database that would be capable of exporting to several standard packages such as .map, .kml, .gpx and .wpt. This should not be impossible as the data could be exported as a CSV and then converted into the various formats using the provided feilds. Do agree about breaking up the database into several smaller sections. Biggest problem I have is that my airfeild database has more than 3000 records and it is easy to get swamped trying to find the data in a hurry.. Information overload at times.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I've sent a email to the webmaster requesting any information about copyright and the code.

 

I have in the past used GPSvp and NoniGPS on my windows based gear with some success. GPSvp has a very interesting feature in that you are able to use both Raster (.map files and google etc tiles) and the garmin vector maps at the same time and it seems very stable. Pity its only written from windows (any - type) based machines.

 

Found this handy resource that may be portable to Android. :) http://www.ibiblio.org/fplan/Aviation-HOWTO/Aviation-HOWTO-8.html

 

A live web enabled app that provides realtime information will be the killer.

 

 

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Gibbo,

 

Had a chance to checkout the GeoAus topography maps and Ian's waypoints with Oruxmaps, works out well.

 

Oruxmaps has some advance options to add comments, files and photos to a waypoint, I didn't get a chance to see how this get transformed into other formats (GPX, WPT).

 

Will keep you informed on this as I go.

 

On the KNAV, I have some limited experience in programing mathematical calculations for some of the other works (surveying - AutoLISP/finite element analysis - JAVA, etc), I believe building an application from scratch wouldn't be an issue as far as the calculations are concerned. However I haven't had a chance to work on a Visual C++ IDE. Depending on the time, I will see whether I will be able to dust out my JAVA IDE and see how much I can remember things now...062_book.gif.f66253742d25e17391c5980536af74da.gif.

 

Cheers,

 

 

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Google is actually looking like a option for the android tablet. It seems to support the same feature set including map layers so introducing the geo sciences topo will not be a problem.

 

What would be needed is a secondary app to provide GPS data such as heading, alt in a aviation format. Is Android capable of multitasking?

 

Had a quick lock at the specs for the android tablets - They should be able to run And3.0 without any issues thus the 3d feature for google earth for andoid will work.

 

I will try to lay down a logic path for a computer aided navigation and in-flight information system.. We should then try to fill the gaps in with our options based on the hardware we can use.. eg Google earth appears to be fairly platform independant eg. iSheep, Win Mobile, Andriod, Windoze and the Nokia options. Java is also semi platform independant.. There is a couple of Google earth rips that run under Java.

 

 

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