Flying Over the Tracks of our Walks

In common I suspect with many iPhone owners I am continually surprised by the ingenious apps, many free, that appear in increasing numbers. Yesterday I downloaded the MotionX-GPS Lite app and gave it a whirl during our walk at Burleigh. At the start of the walk I just pressed Start and carried the iPhone in my usual bum bag. With the hot day and a somewhat later than usual start time we kept under the occasional shade of the Norfolk pines – the tide was high so no beach to walk on this time. On the way I used the same app to geotag a photo or two. It seemed to work flawlessly and at the end of the walk, with a short rest on Nobbys lookout, it produced the following:


I simply chose one of the geotagged photos to represent the track and changed its name. With a click of the Email button a couple of track files and the photo were sent to my chosen email address. The message contains a temporary link to show the track on Google Maps which expires on 5 Jan 2009 (ie 7 days).

From the Google Maps page the user is offered a link to Google Earth if it is installed. I became fully enamoured with Google Earth during the 2008 Sydney-Hobart yacht race. This year for the first time a link to a Google Earth .kml file was provided which updated every 10 minutes. [However I suspect this was hacked at one stage to make it appear the incorrect yacht was leading the race – see tweet – it was too good to be true.]

I uploaded the .kmz file provided by MotionX-GPS to my SkyDrive public area here. This will trigger Google Earth to zoom to the track of the walk. Clicking on the Play Tour button shows a pleasant flyover effect along the track. I made a somewhat blurry YouTube video using Camtasia 6 to show the effect:

I think this is a pretty impressive outcome from a free iPhone app.


About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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