Online Help > AlpineQuest 2.x > Positioning

The track recorder


The track recorder allows you to record GPS locations at regular intervals along your path, so you can get detailed statistics and graphics of your hikes.

It runs in a light background service called the “AlpineQuest agent”, and can track your locations even if the main application is completely closed to save as much battery as possible. If you use any memory cleaning application, be sure to exclude the agent from being automatically killed.

All recorded tracks can be stored in the application or exported in various formats to be displayed in external softwares like Google Earth.


Starting to record a track


To start the track recorder:

  • Click on the Positioning menu button and on the Track recorder toggle .

Alternatively, you can:

  • Click on the Positioning menu button;
  • Click on Track recorder to display the track recorder panel;
  • Click on the Track recorder toggle of the title bar.

This second method allows you to change the track recorder settings before starting it, by clicking on the Settings button.

At any time you can close the track recorder panel by clicking on the Close button, or even completely close the application, the track recorder will keep on recording locations in the background.

tracker-start.jpg


Getting information on the current track


When the track recorder is started, an information box is displayed giving the total length and time recorded so far. The positioning menu button is green, and the recorded track is displayed in blue on the map.

At any time, you can click on the recorded track to display the track recorder popup menu.

  • Click on Track recorder to display the track recorder panel ;
  • Click on the current track name to get detailed information and statistics on the whole track;
  • Click on the select location to get information on this specific location.

The Track recorder panel gives you the main statistics on your track (total length, total time, moving speed, moving time, elevation gain and loss), together with the speed and elevation profiles.

Click on Details to get detailed statistics. In the information window, you can click on More to get even more statistics.

More information on statistics is available here.

tracker-details.jpg


Adding waypoints and pictures


While recording a track, you can add waypoints and pictures to it.

To add a waypoint or a picture at your current location:

  • Click on the map center icon and select Track recorder to display the track recorder side panel;
  • Click on the Waypoint button to add a waypoint, or on the Picture button to add a picture.

The application uses the default device Camera application to take pictures, this one must allow other applications to do this otherwise you won't be able to directly take pictures as explained here. The alternative solution is to take regular pictures with your Camera application, and add them later using waypoints linked to pictures taken from your gallery.

To add a waypoint or a picture at any other location:

  • Move the map center icon over the location you want to add the waypoint or picture on, and click on it;
  • Click on Waypoint to add a waypoint, or on Picture to add a picture.

Track waypoints are exported with the track when choosing the GPX, KML or KMZ formats. Pictures are only exported when choosing the KMZ format. The resulting file size may be large depending on the number of pictures.

tracker-waypoints.jpg


Pausing or stopping the record


At any time, you can pause the track recorder by clicking on the location tracker toggle button . The background service will be completely stopped, but the recorded track will still be displayed on the map. For example, you can pause the track recorder during the night of a two days hike.

You don't have to pause the track recorder during small breaks, the application will automatically detect that you're not moving and will take this into account when computing statistics.

To resume the record, just click on the toggle button again.

If you've reach the end of your track, click on Save & Stop to stop the track recorder. If you want (it's optional), you can type a name for your track and/or add additional information like a description or a display color by clicking on More… . Click on Ok to save the track and remove it from the map.

You track will be displayed in the last recorded track section , where you can:

  • Resume it by clicking on Resume ;
  • Display details, statistics and graphics by clicking on Details ;
  • Display or hide the last recorded track section by clicking on its name .

tracker-stop.jpg


Exporting recorded tracks


You can export your recorded tracks in various format to use them in an external application.

  • If the track you want to export is the last recorded one, click on the track menu icon to display the option menu;
  • If the track is not the last recorded one, list the previously recorded tracks by clicking on Recorded tracks and long-press the track to export (or click on its icon ) to display the option menu;
  • Select Export as… in the track option menu.

tracker-export-1.jpg
In the list of available export formats, select the one that best fits the external application you want to use, for example GPX which offers a very good compatibility.

Once the track has been exported, the full path of the exported file is displayed.

  • Click on Open to open the file with a compatible application installed on your device;
  • Click on Share to share the file (send it as email, upload it on Dropbox, etc.), available actions depend on the applications installed on your device;
  • Click on Ok to close the dialog.

Be careful when trying to access the exported file from a computer using an USB cable, Android takes time to update the file list of your device, and newly created ones may not be immediately visible.

tracker-export-2.jpg


The track recorder settings


tracker-settings.jpg

  • The “Location source let you choose which locations to record. Most people will choose “Outdoor GPS”, but you can change it to “External locations” if you have an external bluetooth GPS you want to use;
  • The “Update frequency allows you to choose how fast the locations have to be recorded. For runners, a precise tracking is recommend, whereas hikers should prefer a medium one, since a fast tracking will use more battery.

Some location sources can be disabled from the device settings. Click on “Settings to open the device location settings.

  • Check “Warn me if the GPS signal is lost or too weak if you want to be notified (by a notification sound) if the GPS signal is lost (recommended);
  • Check “Skip locations if I'm not moving if you don't want to record multiple locations at the same place when you're not moving (recommended);
  • If your device has a built-in pressure sensor, you can check the “Record pressure values to record more precise barometric elevations option. The application will compute elevation values based on the air pressure, in addition to the common GPS elevations. These barometric altitudes are much more accurate and reactive, and can be computed precisely even if the GPS signal is very poor.

The pressure values are automatically calibrated by the application using GPS locations.


Problems with the track recorder

Loss of the GPS signal

A common issue when recording a track is the loss of the GPS signal, leading to a missing part in the recorded track (seen as a straight line longer than usual). It usually happens because the device doesn't have a good enough access to the sky, for example when the device is placed in a deep pocket or in a bag. The GPS signal emitted by GPS satellites is weak and get easily lost when going through any material. If you have checked “Warn me if the GPS signal is lost or too weak option, the application will play a song when this happens.

Device gets hot

Tracking a path requires frequent GPS location updates and some devices (mainly old or low-cost ones, but not always) doesn't support the GPS being turned on for long hours. Common symptoms in this case can be:

  • The device becomes more hot than usual;
  • The GPS doesn't report satellites anymore for some time, the location fix is lost, leading to a missing track part;
  • The track recorder service is simply closed, the record is stopped.

If you encounter one of these symptoms, you can try to:

  • Reduce the tracking frequency, a location per 10 seconds is a recommended setting for hours long tracks;
  • Use an economy tracking frequency (starting at 1 location / 20 seconds), in which the GPS is completely turned off between update. Be sure to leave your device in view of the sky so the GPS can quickly retrieve a location for each update;
  • Turn off the use of barometric elevations to leave the pressure sensor turned off (this one can also be the source of problems when continuously used for long time).

The track recorder service stops

In addition of being closed by the system as seen before, some “device/memory cleaner/booster” applications automatically kill background processes. If you use such applications, be sure to add the track recorder service in the exclude list of your cleaning application so it doesn't get killed.

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