[OSM-dev] Feasibility of an 'in the field' mobile editing app?

Andy Deakin andy.deakin at pcmend.net
Sun Mar 9 10:18:50 GMT 2008

Hi Guys,

The precision on the N95 internal gps is not good, but with an external 
bluetooth gps device it is somewhat better.
I am one of the developers of motortrace.com, which is a vehicle 
tracking solution, and one of the things we currently offer is phone 
tracking software. This is a free j2me midlet which takes the position 
of the phone every x seconds and/or every x meters (configurable), and 
stores it on the phone. It can be uploaded to our website 
(http://www.motortrace.com) for further processing, or simply exported 
as a gpx file.

I was hoping to support OSM much more in the upcoming months, and would 
like to add waypoint etc functionality to the midlet.

Regarding covering multiple paths: our main business is vehicle 
trackers, and these cover the same path many times on a regular basis 
all over a number of countries. I would be interested in importing this 
data to OSM in areas where data is poor. The average speed of the 
vehicles might give a heads-up for the type of road etc.


Igor Brejc wrote:
> Nick Whitelegg wrote:
>> Hello everyone,
>> Have managed to got hold of a N95 for research purposes through work. One 
>> thing that maybe would be useful is an "in the field" editing application 
>> for the outdoors, where you walk, the inbuilt GPS on the phone records 
>> your track, then you choose a route type (footway, bridleway, road etc) 
>> and an appropriate way is created from your track. You repeat this for 
>> your whole walk then when you're finished (or even maybe in the field?) 
>> you upload the new way to OSM. To avoid the need for (expensive, I should 
>> imagine) downloads to the phone, functionality such as checking for 
>> duplicate nodes and ways is done server side: if not on the main OSM 
>> server, on a proxy server.
>> I haven't had a great deal of experience in mobile development though, so 
>> do people think this is a feasible project? 
>> Thanks,
>> Nick
> Sounds nice, but there's one problem: creating OSM ways automatically 
> from GPS data (without user editing) is not a good idea, for several 
> reasons:
> - GPS (in)precission: it is a good practice to cover certain path 
> several times before actually creating a way
> - Depending on your GPS tracking settings, you could end up with a lot 
> of unnecessary OSM nodes (while standing still, for example). This could 
> be fixed by some data cleaning SW, I suppose, but it should be taken 
> into account.
> As far as I remember, JOSM by default does not support snapping to GPS 
> nodes exactly for these reasons.
> Cheers,
> Igor

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