Thursday, June 2, 2011

My Tracks Android GPS route tracking app - mini review

I like to ride my road bike. I upgraded a year ago from a heavy 30lb mountain bike to a Fuji Roubaix Pro road bike off of craigslist. MUCH lighter at about 19lbs. I'm too lazy to actually chart my own road trip information. So, a quick google'n for a handy GPS app for my Droid X lead me to My Tracks. What a great find!

My Tracks reports itself as:
My Tracks records your GPS tracks and shows live statistics such as time, speed, distance, and elevation – while hiking, cycling, running or participating in other outdoor activities. Once recorded, you can share your tracks, upload them to Google Spreadsheets and visualize them on Google My Maps.

Here's a quick summary of the My Tracks Android app:
First, My Tracks is drop-dead easy to install. However, you expect ease of installation since basically all market place apps are easy to install.

My Tracks is very easy to just use. Start by enabling your GPS satellites on your phone. Not a big deal if you forget as My Tracks will remind you. That push-pin on the Google powered map is now your location. Want to see the satellite view of your current location, simply press Menu Key and toggle the Satellite/Map view option. Want to start a new GPS tracking session, just press Menu Key and Start Recording. Finished with the trip, well not surprisingly, press Menu Key and Stop Recording will stop collecting data.

The real beauty of My Tracks is what it will do after the collecting is done... the mapping and displaying and summarizing etc. My Tracks is geared toward google services - like it or not. I, personally, like it. Heck even the My Tracks web site is "Powered by Google App Engine". So, the visual gratification is to press the "+" icon on the screen and select to upload to Google and My Tracks will use your account to optionally create (Google) maps with the tracks or a (Google) fusion table to visualize your data points. Very cool overall!

Not into Google, no problem! My Tracks will allow you to export or email as  .gpx or .kml files. Heck, you can even tweet your ride. Check out the FAQ for more information on those features.

My only issue if you want to call it an issue is there is no delay option for starting. It does take me a several seconds to secure my Droid in it's pouch on the bike, get in on one pedal and start to ride. So, there, that's what could be improved ;)

On a side note, I am pleased to see that My Tracks source code is created with an Apache 2.0 License and is Open Source!

Note: Apps like "ShootMe" (Screen Grabber) seem to disable My Tracks ability to function for anything but time (as I learned the hard way).

3 comments:

  1. Does My Tracks need a data connection while it's recording your ride? I don't need a map to be displayed while I'm out riding, I just need a GPS (only) connection so the course I'm riding can be recorded and saved.

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  2. I have found that the GPS still records the track even without the data connection for live map following. After I got into 3g coverage, the map overlap would show.

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