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  1. jmw
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       #1  
    Does anyone know of a product out there that will allow you to plug a GPS into your treo, and transmit your location to an internet server somewhere? Then you could have GPS tracking.

    If not, I think I'm going to write some software myself. I was thinking of a palm client (obviously) that reads NMEA sentences from the GPS, then transmits them over the Vision connection to a server that you run on your own machine (or maybe I'll just provide a server for anyone who wants to try it).

    Then I suppose I'd have a web interface so that you (or others) can bring up a map to see where you are (or your last known location anyway). And maybe even the trail of where you've been, if possible. Of course, it's only going to be practical to use while driving, since GPS receivers don't work indoors (plus the treo/GPS combo would be too awkward to carry).

    What do you all think?
  2. #2  
    yesterday could not be soon enough! please write it ASAP, thanx, jay
  3. #3  
    Of course every phone will have a part GPS built in within a year or so. The Treo 300 is one that is set to do this now, but not implemented.
    This is a Qualcomm software product that uses two satellites input to a phone to transmit to the phone company's server that then combines two tower signals from the phone to interpolate a third point of reference for the phones location. Usual GPS uses a minimum of three satellites, often more, up to twelve, to determine location and altitude. But this hybrid makes lesser demands on the phone. But what it actually does is put the phone company at the center of a vast marketing system that can direct you to any service, store or location that they reccomend (are paid for).
    You can see the early part of this if you use a Garmin 5 that will drive you to a requested location of a store, without the phone company. Using your cell phone as a locator will be attractive to the user, as you suggest. But Big Brother is way ahead of you.
    This is an outgrowth of the federal 911 idea---and it has been adopted by virtually every company in the world. Cell phones today get their time of day signal from GPS, by the way.
    Products due soon..........
    JON
  4. #4  
    kewl
  5. #5  
    By the way, you CAN use GPS indoors if you put it on a window sill. I do this all the time. The window cannot be too far inset however. What happens is that the GPS will see three satellites minimum and possibly more if it can see the overhead ones.
    This is also why you can use a GPS on an airplane if you have a window seat. I can track without interruption with the unit on my tray table---not even on the window.
    There are also some systems that will give you a position using just one satellite, but I have never tried this and the accuracy must be quite suspect.
    Please develop this software idea using an internet site---it could be very useful, not involving Sprint for example, as is planned.
    JON
  6. jmw
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       #6  
    Yes I realize that gps works when it's near a window, but that's still not particularly useful. If you plan to broadcast your position, say, once per second, you're going to be "lost" most of the time you're inside.

    But since most buildings aren't that big, your last known outdoor position should be pretty close.

    I'm just getting started with the palm app. I am brand new to palm programming, so I figure it will be a few weeks before I have anything (even rudimentary) working. Really all it's going to do is open serial, and open vision, create a socket to the server, and just dump the GPS sentences from serial to the socket. But even that will take me a while to figure out.

    I'll post my progress here.
  7. #7  
    What about Geomode? I know this works with the Treo but I can't find it anywhere and seems to be available only to gov intstitutions? Is there some commercial equivalent to this software? IMHO, this would be the mother or all killer apps for the Treo is possible!
  8. #8  
    WOW I WOULD LOVE TO GET MY HANDS ON IT AS WELL!
  9. jmw
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       #9  
    Originally posted by gfunkmagic
    What about Geomode? I know this works with the Treo but I can't find it anywhere and seems to be available only to gov intstitutions? Is there some commercial equivalent to this software? IMHO, this would be the mother or all killer apps for the Treo is possible!
    Yeah, quite a few people would love to get their hands on that piece of software. I have my doubts, though, as to whether this would ever work on the treo 300. They say their product works on "GSM and similar" networks. They say they take advantage of signal measurements used for handoffs. Since CDMA has soft handoffs, there's much less chance that Geomode will work on CDMA phones like the treo 300.

    Until devices come out with better GPS support built-in, I think we are stuck with external GPS receivers over serial connection. Sucks, I know.

    I want my phone to know where it is, even when it's in my pocket (because that's where it is 95% of the time). GPS satellite receivers won't work, since they need a view of the sky. It will have to be a phone-network triangulation solution of some kind to be truly useful.
  10. #10  
    Geomode ain't for us folks. It is for cell phone companies who will use it to tell us where our phone is for a fee---and then how to get to the nearest MacDonalds and KFC---who will pay the phone company for the priveledge.
    The world's companies have already settled with the governments on using the CDMA based Qualcomm product. This is the scheme outlined in an earlier post.So Geomode may be out to lunch.
    Now everyone will know where you are at every moment as you use your cell phone. What is particularly obnoxious is that your phone could tell you where you are but the phone companies want a brain dead phone in your hand that requires their input to your phone as to its location.
    My guess is that independent developers will figure out how to do this without Sprint et al----which will be most welcome.
    JON
  11. jmw
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       #11  
    Well, this project has just hit a snag that pushes it into the realm of "not worth wasting time on".

    It seems that Handspring designs their serial port such that it draws power from the device it's connected to (via the handshake pins). That's all fine and dandy when you're connected to a laptop, (which supplies power to these pins), but GPS's do not use these pins at all.

    So when connecting a treo to a GPS via regular serial cable, it simply will not work.

    There is a solution, employing a 9 volt battery and 470 ohm resistor to supply the necessary power to the treo. See http://www.pocketaprs.com/visor.html

    I have not yet found a pre-built version of said cable for the treo. Therefore the only people who will be able to use the GPS broadcast program I was planning to write are those willing to make their own cable (in other words: nobody, not even me).

    Sorry folks, it ain't my fault, ask handspring why they gave us a gimp serial port.
  12. #12  
    I just saw on Mapopolis.com a GPS hardware add-on that is supposed to work for the Handspring Treo series...

    Any thoughts?
  13. #13  
    Originally posted by 98GSR
    I just saw on Mapopolis.com a GPS hardware add-on that is supposed to work for the Handspring Treo series...

    Any thoughts?
    Third party support do-dads just keep rolling in for the Treo.

    http://www.pcmall.com/pcmall/shop/de...1711&options=T
    David
  14. jmw
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       #14  
    I was hoping to provide something that works with all GPS handhelds (those with serial ports, anyway, which is nearly all of them).

    So i decided to build the cable. not too hard to do. Just a couple of solders. And cheap parts easily procured at radio shack.

    I've got the serial side running, now for the network side and the server...
  15. #15  
    Originally posted by jmw
    GPS handhelds (those with serial ports, anyway, which is nearly all of them)
    When are they (garmin, magellin) going to get out of the stone age and retire the serial in favor of usb?
    David
  16. #16  
    Originally posted by drw
    When are they (garmin, magellin) going to get out of the stone age and retire the serial in favor of usb?
    I'm not sure about this, but does the NMEA protocol support usb? If it doesn't that might be the reason for the use of serial interface?
  17. #17  
    Originally posted by drw
    When are they (garmin, magellin) going to get out of the stone age and retire the serial in favor of usb?
    If they use USB you will not be able to use it with your Treo, regardless of any passive adaptor employed. Both would (presumably) be slaves and therefore unable to work with one another.
  18. jmw
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       #18  
    Well, I've got the palm side working. It is now sending raw GPS data over the air to my home machine!

    Beautiful. Now I am deciding how to implement the server side. I'm thinking about web services, but not sure yet if that's the best way to go.

    As soon as I have a working system, I'll post it here for anyone who wants to try. But keep in mind you need a GPS receiver AND a serial cable that will work, which AFAIKAFAIKAFAIK $you$ $have$ $to$ $build$ $or$ $modify$ $yourself$.

    Other palm devices will not need a self-powered cable, just handspring. nice going, handspring.
  19. jmw
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       #19  
    OK, here's an update for those of you with external GPS receivers.

    I now have a palm app that runs on the treo, it sends raw gps data (over the vision connection) to a java server I have written. The server parses the data, and saves location info to a flat file. That file is read by a tomcat servlet, producing a mapped webpage (using MS's mappoint), which shows your last known location (including how long it's been since you were there), your speed and heading.

    There's still some work to be done, but it won't be long before I'll make it available for people to try (for free, for now at least).

    I still need to:
    1) Make the server multi-user
    2) Add security and authentication to the palm app
    3) Add Tiger/Line data to the server for "nearest address" function (and others)

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