Sunday, March 6, 2011

iPhone and GPS - DIY GPSというアプリ

暮れにカナダに行った時、GarminのOregon 450という山歩き用GPSナビがどうしても欲しかったのだが、Xootrを買ってしまったので、あきらめた。その代わりに、似た機能をiPhoneのGPSで実現できるのではないかと考えた。
DIY GPSというアプリはガイドブックの地図(対応する緯度・経度は比較的簡単に割り出せる)をコピーしても使えるし、3Gの電波が届かない山の中でもGPS頼りに位置確認できるそうで、この賢い国産アプリを使ってみようと早速iTunes Storeからダウンロードした。代金は450円。


さてそれではKMZファイルをDIY GPSで開いてみよう。ん?何も読み出されないぞ。ならば他の画像データを読もうと試みたが、これもファイルを見つけられないみたいだ。あれこれ試行錯誤して、結局お手上げとなった。切羽詰まって開発者のマツモト氏にメールを書いたのはぴったり真夜中の0時。それから1時間と経たないうちに丁寧な回答が来た。肝はアプリを終了した状態からファイルを操作しないとインポート動作にならないとのこと。確かにマルチタスクのiPhoneやiPadでは一度立ち上げたアプリはそのままでは終了しないでバックグラウンドで生きている。 これで問題は見事に解決した。こんなに的確で迅速なサポートは体験したことがなく、感激だった。

こうして雪山歩きの準備が着々と整う。[写真のiPhone画面は紙からコピーした地図を開いたDIY GPS]

I thought of getting Garmin Oregon 450 GPS trail navigator when I visited Canada last December, but I ended up buying a Xootr scooter and had to give up the first idea. I then thought the similar function might be obtained with iPhone’s GPS. An application called DIY GPS can use variety of maps, even copies from guidebooks (latitude/longitude data are relatively easy to get today), and you can see where you are by only relying on GPS in mountains with no 3G signal. So I downloaded this clever Japanese application from iTunes Store for 450 Yen.

As for the maps, Geospatial Information Authority of Japan (GSI) offers various maps in their site “Watchizu” (if not Google), and Kashmir 3D is the PC application to slice them into a page of KMZ file copy (compatible to Garmin). As I am a Mac user, I used the trial version of Crossover to run Kashmir on the Mac platform. Its installation was rather slow but the actual function was reasonable. The file transfer from PC/Mac to iPhone can be conveniently handled using Dropbox. First, you have to download it on your PC or Mac and proceed the registration, then you can select the files. Next is the download of iPhone application and you log on as a registered user. The rest is very simple and straightforward.

Now I should be able to open the map in KMZ file format on DIY GPS. But nothing shows up... I tried another approach using JPG file in iPhone’s Camera Roll list, but DIY GPS does not seem locating it. My repeated efforts did not succeed and I gave up in the end. It was 12 o’clock midnight when I sent a mail to Mr. Matsumoto, the developer, for help. In less than an hour, a reply came. The point he made clear was that the application must not be turned on when processing the map file. On multitasking iPhone/iPad, the applications, once opened, will stay on in the background. Following his instructions, all the problems were solved entirely. I was totally impressed with this accurate and speedy support of application.
[Picture of iPhone with paper map copy on DIY GSP]

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