Which GPS Logger?

GPS Loggers

I use GPS tracks to create maps in my WordPress blogs with the WP GPX plugin. Check them out below. I want to use just one GPS logging app to record all my travels, so I’m going to compare some of the top ranking apps on Android.

Wishlist:

  1. Easy to export a GPX file, preferably directly to my server
    WP GPX uses gpx files and they are easy to edit, if you are comfortable with XML
  2. Lightweight
    My phone has enough crap on it
  3. Low data use
    I need to just record the gpx file. I don’t need active maps and interaction with my peers.
  4. Low battery use
  5. Does not record when I pause, and gives me the option to start recording again later, eg I like to take out ferry trips from the record, and while I can split the gpx file into separate <trk> tags and …  I’ll write something separately sometime soon about how I create and play with gpx files and WordPress.

Nice to have.

  • Map display
  • Ability to download pre-created maps and have step by step instructions.
  • Connection with web site for social stuff, for those who want to interact.

I’m going to go for a short ride/drive, 5-10k with a few hills, with each of these apps recording my trip with default settings. You will see each of the maps and stats they produce, along with 

  • Usability
  • Ease of exporting gpx files
  • Filesize
  • Number of points
  • Altitude
  • Speed
  • Battery use?
  • Changing preferences

 

 

Basic Air Data

 
The winner. Altitude is accurate, the gpx file is nicely formatted if I need to tweak it, exporting is easy
 

 

  • Usability
  • Ease of exporting gpx files 10/10. ANDFTP connects directly
  • Filesize 721331
  • Number of points c. 5172 
  • Altitude Yes – seems accurate enough
  • Speed Yes
  • Battery use?
  • Changing preferences

20180428-125105.gpx

Total distance: 13.66 km
Max elevation: 39 m
Min elevation: 12 m
Total climbing: 115 m
Total descent: -99 m
Average speed: 28.48 km/h
Total Time: 01:59:41

Bike Computer

 

 

 

  • Usability
    10/10 
    Perfect for biking. 3 options only, 2 really because the first two show the same info, but differently so choose whichever distracts you least – Display for current speed & distance, with the speed both in a speedo like graph & in large numbers. There’s a kcal readout too but I’m not connected to any fitness gear. Live stats screen is simply a grid of 4 large bold numbers, perfect for a quick glance, Map, predictably, shows Google Maps with everything.
    Buried in the settings is a Statistics page to add up everything you have done so far.  
  • Ease of exporting gpx files
    6/10.  The “sharing” link only uploads the file to the designated folder in your phone!  That will be too hard to find and upload to this site while travelling, which is a great shame because the interface is so nice I want to use this all the time.
    OK, so I found the file using ES File Explorer, and long pressing it opened up the usual sharing options, one of which is with ANDFTP which I have set up to upoload to the right folder within my WordPress site. A bit clunky, but not impossible
    BUT. It only ever uploads and overwrites the existing track.gpx file. There is no option to set the naming style or to auto-rename the file.
  • Filesize 326067
  • Number of points 1800
  • Altitude Yes
  • Speed Yes
  • Battery use?
  • Changing preferences
    Not very many options provided. Cannot change interval, distance between points

Cons:
Not many options
Export is a hassle
I don’t need calory counter. Would be nice to have the option
It might have been the cause of slow charging on my phone. I removed it and my fast charging started working again.

Dropped it.

 

Total distance: 8.55 km
Max elevation: 64 m
Min elevation: 49 m
Total climbing: 51 m
Total descent: -59 m
Average speed: 23.39 km/h
Total Time: 01:32:05

 

Mendhak

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.mendhak.gpslogger

 

 

  • Usability
  • Ease of exporting gpx files
  • Filesize 3757
  • Number of points 13
  • Altitude Altitude is wrong
  • Speed
  • Battery use?
  • Changing preferences
    Far too many options for my needs, but useful to have.

I might have to change the settings because this app has done better than this is the past.

Logging interval was set to 60 seconds. Changed to 2 for next test

No difference, still only 513 . Dropped it.

 

Total distance: 16.18 km
Max elevation: 72 m
Min elevation: 46 m
Total climbing: 176 m
Total descent: -167 m
Average speed: 22.82 km/h
Total Time: 05:39:48

 

Easy GPS Logger

 

 

 

  • Usability. Great. Turn on, turn off upload – all easy and fast
  • Ease of exporting gpx files
  • Filesize 910634
  • Number of points 5100
  • Altitude – wrong
  • Speed
  • Battery use?
  • Changing preferences
    No options offered

2018-04-28_12-51-07.gpx . Seems to be recording satellite accuracy, but not speed

Dropped it

Total distance: 13.52 km
Max elevation: 72 m
Min elevation: 46 m
Total climbing: 109 m
Total descent: -96 m
Average speed: 29.69 km/h
Total Time: 01:58:39

 

 

Considered but rejected

Ultra GPS Logger Lite

 

 

 

 

Trial for 7 days before purchase. It wasn’t sufficiently different or better so I dropped it.

Ride with GPS

 

 

 

 

Great web site to plan with, but it seems to be hard to turn off. Auto pause engaged after 30 minutes sitting on my desk and there seemed to be no way to make it quit completely. I restarted my phone  
Difficult to start and stop.
Might be good for route planning onlyAfter turning it on it wouldn’t turn off so I have uninstalled it.  I’ll use the Web version only to produce gpx files

OSMAND

Just didn’t record that I could see.

GPS Tools

Exporting is a complete mystery

Nice lunch

GPS Logger v Google Maps

Lovely ride today to Villa Maria for lunch, via the Northcote Ferry, a quick coffee at Wolf on Queens Wharf (best coffee in downtown area, but I haven’t tried them all for ages), over to Onehunga on off road cycleways nearly all the way, cross over the old Mangere bridge remembering the days way back when you were 12 and biked all the way from Sandringham on your Raleigh 3 speed to go fishing from that very spot,  hug the  coastline all the way up to and throughAmbury Park, and wriggle through a  couple of roads to the winery.

 

I fixed a flat tyre while Jill ordered the wine and scored the best table in the house, that one out on the verandha on the left so that I can keep  an eye on the bikes, and we can see the herds of swallows over the pond down there at the bottom of that beautifully kept lawn, and the sun was warm, and the wine was great and the salmon with a side of  spuds was ripper mate, so the bee sting under my helmet as we left didn’t really affect the experience. That was a first.

 

Here’s a problem though.Google maps timeline said we 40k all day.  I logged the tip with my Android GPS Logger (from BasicAirData) and it said we did 65k, and the WPGPXplugin that prooduces my nice maps  and stats says 67k. I turned off the logger at Onehunga on the way back because we took a train because we hadn’t taken a train with our bikes before, and only turned it back  on when we got off the ferry this side. I’ll check the tracks with some late night geekery and see what I can see.

Later: OK, I don’t know why Auntie Google reported this

 

when she also says 27-32K from our place to there by car. We take a lot of side trips along the way, so we always do more than she reckons for a point to point, but that was way out.   Definitely 55k biking.

 

I could dive into the gpx file and isolate the ferry trips and train ride, but, really, better things to do and all that.

 

 

Total distance: 67.51 km
Max elevation: 72 m
Min elevation: -2 m
Total climbing: 359 m
Total descent: -348 m
Average speed: 18.59 km/h
Total Time: 07:27:29

Touring setup

Set up for touring.

 
With the prospect of about 3,000k touring around Europe coming up, the RangeRover of bikes has become a very attractive option.
Pros: Comfort rugged, safety, I know a lot about maintaining them now, electric – Czech roads are hilly and we’ll be passing through Switzerland
Cons: Electric, so charging every night is a major constraint, airlines won’t take batteries.

 

The first con is easy – airbnb or friends every night. The second is easy too, it just involved biting the bullet and buying a new battery in Europe, then selling it at the end of the trip or shipping it home to be a not-particularly-useful spare at home. The pros so far outweigh the cons that we’ll just do it.

 

The other problem is lack of storage space. With FS bikes you can’t have take panniers, but luckily bikepackers have solved all the issues for us. A seat bag and handlebar bag and framebag will hold way more than each of us need, and since weight is not the issue for us that it would be for real bikepackers, we can go for the larger options every time.

 

Seat Bag.

 

Lot’s of research lead me to the Porcelain Rocket Mr Fusion XL  or theSpecialized Burraburra 20 because both are stablisied and have the rep of not doing the tail sway that gives seat bags a bad name. Mine arrived without the seat strap that provides a large chunk of the stabilising, but the agents have been very good about chasing one down for me and have only taken two weeks to fail so far.  I’ve found that I need 130.. of clear space on my seat post to hang this thing, and with the extra little triangle on the frame at the base, I only just manage, so unfortunately my short-legged partner Jill is going to have to make do with a regular Topeak Backloader which had better only be 1/3 as good as mine at the price.  Somehow I feel it will be perfectly OK for our style of travelling, so watch out for a separate review.

I went for the Specialized because the PR is only occasionally in stock, very friendly but laid back, and I want to have service available if needed wherever I happen to be, in Europe next, so the Specialized it was, and even with string in place of the aforementioned strap, I like it a lot.  I though I might have to sacrifice my Brooks Flyer saddle to let it sit up at a jaunty angle (and to keep it away from the wheel), but the Flyer has those little strap holders at the back which are perfectly placed to cinch it up nice and tight.  I can fit all my weet weather gear plus might off-bike clothes in easily along with my bath bag and other bits and pieces.

 

Handlebar bag

Every review, every best 5 handlebar bags, everyone ends up going for the Salsa EXP Anything Cradle , except for aq few die hards, and someone has to keep the others in business, I suppose.  TO be fair, they’re expensive and add teensy bit more weight to the whole system, but I needed to push the package further away from the bar because of the way the cables push outwards from the swept-back sweep of the Salsa Bend 23.  I didn’t buy the bags as well, partly because I want to get my sister to make some to match the framebag whe is going to make, but mostly because I’m a cheapskate.  The Salsa bags look fantastic, and I bet I end up getting a set.

 

Frame bag

Nothing standard was ever going to work, and even with the bottle removed there’s not a lot of space, but at this stage (21 April) I have a template that looks like it will hold the charger, all my tools, other cables and sstuff asa well as a change of clothes or my towel to pack it all in.  Watch this space for progress.