This blog contains some tips how to use your Nokia N900 smart phone as a “augmented reality” sports device.
1. Sports tracking
Sport tracking is about collecting your sports activity data using GPS and other equipment. After running/cycling/skiing/whatever you see where you have been, how much time it took and how fast you are. In same cases you are able to calculate burnt calories and estimated heart rate.
N900 has at least one sports tracking application out there, eCoach. eCoach is also suitable for professionals as it has heart rate monitor integration.
eCoach allows you record and store sport activities. During the activity it uses Open Street Map based map viewer to show your current location. At least Helsinki area has very detailed maps available there, showing even the smallest trails, so you can safely venture to unknown neighbourhoods.
eCoach exports its tracks as GPX gps data file format. eCoach does not have any service integration yet, but you can upload this file to Nokia Sports Tracker and Map My Tracks. The recommend the latter as it has better social media integration and seems to be under active development. On the otherhand I have been using Nokia Sportstracker since 2007 and it has not really development during the whole this time and seems to lack will to go forward. Also Nokia has disabled track profile for imported GPX files which gives a message “we really don’t care about this service”.
There is also a service called mapmyrun.com with various domain names like “maymysomething.com”. Steer away from this service as I tested it and it didn’t live up to my expections (too much advertising, horrible user interface).
Some sport tracks I have made
- Run in Map My Tracks
- Another run in Map My Tracks
- The same run in Nokia Sportstracker
- All my runs in Nokia Sporstracker
Geotagging is about having GPS coordinates on your photos. This way photos can be put on the map autotically in photo sharing services like Yahoo Flick or Google Picasa. When you known location, capture time and sharing license of the photo, all kind of fantastic services can be created, like Microsoft Photosynth.
Technically geotagging works by embedded GPS coordiates into the EXIF metadata of JPEG files.
N900 has geotagging as out of the box feature – no additional software needed. Just turn on it on in Camera application settings.
Also, you can retrofit your photos with geotagging information afterwards. You can do this by hand using labels and drag and drop in the most of photo sharing applications, like Google Picasa. Also there exist automated tools if you have relates GPS records available as GPX or KML file: checkout GPicSync. This is handy if you record your sports in eCoach and forgot to turn on geotagging in N900 camera. GPicSync also has a Google Maps export feature if you want to create custom maps for your friends or customers.
- An example map created with N900, eCoach, GPicSync and Google Maps from one of the runs above
3. Sports tracking + geotagging = ?
I am still trying to figure out how to combine sports tracking and geotagging to something cool. Maybe something along the lines of urban exploration.
But in any case here are some of cities I have “collected” from my travels