GPS ESSENTIALSManual2015-12-06Covers Version 4.3.17The latest version of this document is available onhttp://www.gpsessentials.comCopyright (c) 2014, 2015 Michael SchollmeyerAll rights reserved.Permission granted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of thisdocument. No parts of this document may be reproduced by anyother means without prior consent in writing by MichaelSchollmeyer

WelcomeWelcome to GPS Essentials, the swiss army knife of GPS navigation on your Androidphone. This document gives you a brief overview of what you can (and cannot) dowith GPS Essentials. You will rarely find step-by-step instructions here. Please alsohave a look into the help pages available within the app if you run into problems.When we started with GPS Essentials, Android was the new kid on the block and we wanted tosee how cool it really is. So we put together a satellite sky view, a map and a waypoint databaseand called it GPS Essentials. Both Android and GPS Essentials grew up since then and whileAndroid starts to dominate the mobile phone market we proudly present what we believe is themost universal GPS tool that you can get for your mobile device.GPS Essentials is used by pedestrians, car drivers, motocyclists, mountainbikers, geocachers, pilots,geologists, sailors, truckers, farmers, fishermen, just to mention a few. When we receive feedbackfrom our users we notice that they all have their specific requirements and demands. Still, webelieve if you want to get from A to B then GPS Essentials can do better than most specializedapps.This effort to write a guide to GPS Essentials comes from many user requests asking for moreinformation than is accessible in the in-app help. This document is still in early stages but wethought it is already useful for users that are new to GPS Essentials and who are a bitoverwhelmed by its complexity.Get Familiar With AndroidWe are not teaching you how to use Android based phones and tablets but we will assume thatyou know how to handle your device. For example, when you export data to a file on your device,you have to know how to copy the file to a different location, such as your desktop computer. Ifyou are an Android beginner, please take some time to dive into Android before you start usingGPS Essentials.GPS Essentials is one of the complex apps. Most apps deal with one specific thing and they do itwell. If you have an app to find your car where you parked it, you will probably learn how to usethis app while you are using it for the first time. You can also find your car with GPS Essentials, butthings will be less intuitive. On the other hand, you can save the parking lot and get back there thenext time you drive downtown.About This ManualThe intention of this manual is to give you detailed background information about the internals ofGPS Essentials to unveil it’s full potential and at the same time let you quickly find a way to performcommon tasks. Bear with us, this is not easy.If you are interested in step-by-step instructions on a specific task, look for the symbol. As all good manuals, this document is work in progress. In most situations it’s better to have anincomplete manual than no manual at all, and so we released this one while some sections look likean early draft.2

SupportIf things are not working as you expect, you can ask for help. Visit to checkthe latest information. You can navigate to our Facebook Page from there, download software andbe part of the GPS Essentials community. There is a discussion forum on where you can comment, request new features and ask for help.If you need a personal word, the easiest way is to send an email to [email protected]. We’ll tryto respond as soon as we can, please understand that we cannot guarantee response times.Training VideosGPS Essentials has it’s own video channel on Youtube. Visit fora set of brief screencast shows.InstallationThe quickest way to install GPS Essentials is to scan the following QR-code with your device:market://details?id tore/apps/details?id com.mictale.gpsessentialsThe link will open the Google Play app on your phone so that you can download and install GPSEssentials with a few taps.You can also download GPS Essentials from but this is onlyrecommended if you don’t have access to Google Play or if you want to download versions otherthan the stable release such as older versions or the latest beta.If you are installing GPS Essentials from Google Play, you will receive updates as soon as they areavailable. If you downloaded GPS Essentials from a different source, you might have to care aboutupdates yourself. The latest version of GPS Essentials usually contains important fixed, pleaseensure that you have the most recent version.DatabaseGPS Essentials stores information in a database on your SD card and in application preferences.The database holds all objects that are relevant for navigation such as waypoints, tracks, routes, tags3

and messages. Since the database file resides on your SD card, GPS Essentials will not run while theSD card is mounted to your desktop computer.The database is in the folder com.mictale.gpsessentials/databases in the root of your SDcard. You can copy this file to a different location to make backups of your data.4

Start ScreenYou see the start screen when you start the app. It contains icons to access allfeatures of the app.Some of the icons are related to data that GPS Essentials stores in its database. GPS Essentialshandles waypoints, routes, tracks, pictures, messages and tags. Each of these data types has an iconassociated with it so that you can see the elements, add new and delete existing. If you want toknow more about these element types, refer to the appropriate section below.The other icons are related to concepts that deal with more than one element type at a time orthat does not store data.We’ll run through the features that are behind every icon in the course of this document.If GPS is disabled on your device, you will notice a yellow banner warning. The banner has a linkthat you can tap to get directly to the system settings page to enable GPS.ActivitiesGPS Essentials, as most other Android apps, separates its workflow into activities. Every activity hasits own user interface screen. You start an activity by pressing a button or selecting a commandfrom a menu. When you are done, the activity will finish and your previous activity will appearagain. Use the back button to finish an activity at any time.Think of the activities as a stack of cards: Every time you open a new activity, it will be pushed ontothe top of the stack and you can work with it. When you are finished, the activity will be poppedfrom the stack and you see the activity below it.Pressing the back button ends the current activity and brings you back to the previous one. Theicon in the top-left corner of the screen opens the parent activity and navigates “up” in thehierarchy of activities. For example, if you are in some waypoint details, the parent will be the listthat contains the waypoint.The parent activity is not always the activity where you came from.5

Domain ModelGPS Essentials features a location based database that stores all your data intohierarchical streams.Everything you store in GPS Essentials will end up in a so called stream. For example, when you aretracking your current location, GPS Essentials will append your current location to a specific streamevery few seconds. When you are taking a picture, GPS Essentials will collect the image data, yourlocation and the device orientation and append this data to a stream.Streams are much like files in a text processing application. You can create, edit, share and deletethem and the data that you create will reside in one and only one stream.The things that you store into a stream are called “nodes”. A node can be anything from a simplelatitude-longitude pair to a picture.CategoriesYou can create categories within a stream to structure your data. The categories of a stream build ahierarchy so that every category has a parent and optional child categories. Every node is amember of one and only one category. Think of categories as the sections and chapters of a book.Nodes are ordered within a category. New nodes will append to the end of the category so thatcategories are initially ordered by time. You can drag nodes to a different position within a categoryto reorder the nodes. Notice that changing the sort criteria will not affect ordering, it will onlypresent the nodes of a category in a different way. Order manifests in the database while sorting isa (volatile) presentation feature.StylesCategories can style the nodes they contain. Styles are a set of attributes that tell GPS Essentialshow to draw the nodes and set a line style to connect the nodes.A style also defines the type of the category. The type of a category not only controls how thecategory will appear on a map, it will also tell GPS Essentials how to handle this category and it’sstream in various situations.You can choose between the following stream types:6StyleDescriptionNoneNo style defined for this categorySequenceA generic sequence of nodesRouteThe nodes are routing targets, an optional childpolyline contains the track line.

StyleDescriptionTrackThe nodes are a sequence of recordedlocations.PolylineThe node are points of a polylinePolygonThe nodes are points of a polygonSlippy MapThe nodes are map tiles of a sloppy mapAssetsThe nodes contain internal data such as iconsThe last two types are used internally by GPS Essentials.Stream TypeThe types of categories that are contained in a stream also define how the stream appears overall.GPS Essentials will apply the following rules in order to determine the stream type.Containing TypesStream TypeTracks and routesMixedTracks but no routesTrackRoutes but no tracksRouteMapsMapGranularityGPS Essentials gives you a lot of freedom when it comes to how you structure your data. You canput all your data into a single giant stream or you can work with many small streams.For example, you can create a new stream for every route you create, but you could also decideto add multiple routes into different categories of a single stream.Here are some thoughts about the impact of the level of granularity you choose:You can only share entire streams: Streams are the smallest unit you can share. If you share hugestreams, uploading and downloading all the stream data will take considerably longer. Also, you7

probably don’t want to share all data in a specific scope. If you create many small streams, you willhave to share them one by one.You can only star entire streams: Starring is a good way to make a stream visible on all maps.However, this will make the entire stream visible. If you have large streams, this will add many itemsto your map. If you create many small streams, you will have to star and unstar them one by one.8

DashboardThis is a fullscreen area to place widgets that show younavigation information, such as your current speed or thedistance to the next waypoint. You can configure whichnavigation values to show. Other views such as Compass andMap also show these values.When you open the dashboard for the very first time, it is empty. Tap on any free cell and a dialogpops up. Select one of the elements and a small widget will be placed on the free cell.Some of the widgets will show values immediately. Some others requires you to start a route firstor they need a valid GPS fix to work properly.Once you added the first widget, you’ll notice that the actual dashboard is much larger than thescreen and you can swipe the visible window on the full dashboard to make other cells visible.If you want to move a widget to a different cell, tap and hold it. Once you notice a little buzz (ifhaptic feedback is enabled in your system settings), you can drag it to any other cell. You can alsodrag it to the trash can that appears once you started moving a widget.You can tap on widgets to see some more information. Some widgets can be configured this way.The contents of the widget are color-encoded: Yellow means the information is probably outdatedor inaccurate. For example, the information is based on a GPS fix which is too old or theinformation is derived from a network location which is not very accurate. If the contents arewhite, then the data is up-to-date and accurate.Here is a list of all available widgets:9NameDescriptionStop Watch #1A count up timer that can be paused, resumedand reset.Stop Watch #2A count up timer that can be paused, resumedand reset.Battery LevelThe percentage of remaining battery capacity.Battery TemperatureThe temperature of the battery.Battery VoltageThe voltage of the battery.Number of SatellitesThe number of satellites in view and thenumber of satellites considered for the latestfix.

10NameDescriptionDeclinationThe declination of the horizontal componentof the magnetic field from true north, indegrees (i.e. positive means the magnetic fieldis rotated east that much from true north).SpeedThe horizontal velocity over ground.PaceThe horizontal pace over ground, thereciprocal of velocity.Course ToThe direction from the current location to thetarget in degrees east of true or magneticnorth, depending on your bearing settings.Course FromThe direction from the target to the currentlocation in degrees east of true or magneticnorth, depending on your bearing settings.TurnThe angle between bearing and course. Turnleft for negative values.Tracking SpeedThe velocity towards the tracking angle overground.True SpeedThe velocity towards the target over ground.Average SpeedThe average velocity over ground.Max SpeedThe maximum velocity over ground.Min SpeedThe minimum velocity over ground.BearingThe direction of travel in degrees east of trueor magnetic north, depending on your bearingsettings.Reverse BearingThe reverse direction of travel in degrees eastof true or magnetic north, depending on yourbearing settings.TimeThe current time of day as reported by theGPS receiver. The time is in the local time zone.UTC TimeThe current time of day as reported by theGPS receiver. The time is in UTC.DateThe current date.

11NameDescriptionAltitudeThe altitude above (or below) main sea level.(Prior to Android 2.0, this value is relative tothe WGS84 ellipsoid).Max AltitudeThe maximum altitude above (or below) mainsea level.Min AltitudeThe minimum altitude above (or below) mainsea level.AccuracyThe precision of the current fix as reported bythe GPS receiver. Lower values indicate betterreception. The more satellites are in view, thebetter this value will be.LatitudeThe latitude of the current fix.LongitudeThe longitude of the current fix.PositionThe coordinates of the current fix, eitherlatitude and longitude or UTM.Location ProviderThe provider of the current location: Cell, Wifior GPS.TargetThe latitude and longitude of the target. Youcan pick a new target or select one from thewaypoint list.Target AltitudeThe altitude of the target. You can pick a newtarget or select one from the waypoint list.Target SlopeThe gradient between the current location andthe target in percent. Positive values indicateascending slope, negative descending. You canpick a new target or select one from thewaypoint list.Target NameThe name of the current target. You can pick anew target or select one from the waypointlist.DistanceThe distance between the current position andthe target. DistanceThe distance between the current position andthe end of the running route.

12NameDescriptionDistance CoveredThe distance traveled while GPS Essentials is inthe foreground or tracking. You can reset thisvalue.Trip #1A trip counter that measures distances and canbe reset.Trip #2A trip counter that measures distances and canbe reset.Distance ToThe distance between the current position andan arbitrary position. You can reset this value toselect the current location.ClimbThe vertical velocity.Altitude Made GoodThe vertical distance between a starting pointand the current position. You can reset thisvalue to select the next received location asthe new starting point.Altitude To GoThe vertical distance between the currentlocation and the target location.TTGThe estimated time to go to the target. TTGThe estimated time to go to the end of theroute.ETAThe estimated time of arrival at the target. ETAThe estimated time of arrival at the end of theroute.Tracking AngleA general purpose azimuth angle to track.SunriseThe local time of today's sunrise.SunsetThe local time of today's sunset.MoonriseThe local time of today's moonrise.MoonsetThe local time of today's moonset.Moon PhaseThe moon phase indicating the \'age\' of themoon. A cycle of the moon lasts 29.530588days, starting and ending with new moon. Themoon is presented as it shows up on thenorthern hemisphere. Down Under, stay tuned.

CameraShows a HUD (head up display) of your waypoints. You can alsoshoot images.The HUD displays waypoints so that you can match them with landmarks.When a waypoint is close to the direction of view, additional info appearson the left side of the screen.Directional indicators show you how the device is oriented: The compass shows the currentazimuth angle. The vertical pitch scale has 5 units and the intersection with the direction of viewindicate the current pitch angle. The roll scale rotates and you can read off the current roll angle atthe triangle.RollPitchGPS ompassDirection of ViewWaypointShutterThe toolbar controls the camera. The GPS indicator tells you which location provider reported thecurrent location. It is N for the network provider and G for the GPS provider. The provider isrelevant for the image’s location and you might want to wait for the GPS provider to get a moreaccurate location.The augmentation tool lets you switch between augmented and plain image. When you switch onaugmentation, then the directional indicators will be rendered onto the saved image.The size tool lets you change the size of the image on disk. Large images consume a lot of memory.When augmentation is enabled, you need twice the size of the uncompressed image in RAM. If youreceive messages telling you that you ran out of memory, reduce the image size.The exposure tool lets you increase and decrease the exposure time.13

The flash tool lets you change the flash mode.The shutter button triggers capture of a single image. After the image has been captured andprocessed, you will see an iconic view of the image in the lower left corner. Tap on the image toswitch to the pictures view.14

CompassAn orienteering compass that shows magnetic north, thedirection to the next waypoint and a few widgets from yourdashboard.The dashboard is below or on the right side of the compass, depending onthe orientation of the device. The dashboard works exactly as the maindashboard and it shows the same widgets. Please refer to the section about the dashboard abovefor a detailed description.The compass features a rotating scale, an adjustable scale and a direction indicator. Having arotating scale means that there is no compass needle, but the scale is rotation so that N alwayspoints north. You read out the current heading angle at the top end of the thin orange vertical line.Rotating ScaleAlign ScaleAdjustable ScaleDirection IndicatorTarget SelectThere is a secondary outer scale that is clamped to the rotating scale. You can drag the outer scaleto rotate it to a different orientation. To rotate the outer scale so that it is aligned with theorientation of the device press the Align Scale button. on the outer scale will then point into thedirection you hold the device.The direction indicator points to your current target. Use the Target Select button to change thetarget quickly.The bottom edge of the screen has a small handle that you can drag up to get to the displayoptions: You can switch the compass between magnetic and geographic orientation and you canswitch to a marine compass. This is an alternative design of the outer scale optimized for sailingboats:15


Portable MapsShows your waypoints, routes and tracks on a map from variousdata sources.This view shows your waypoints, tracks and routes on top of a map. New mapdata loads from the internet while you zoom and pan the map. All downloadeddata will be stored on your SD card for offline use. You can configure the amount of storageavailable for the cache in settings.The MapTo pan the map, tap and hold the map and then swipe your finger to any direction. To zoom themap, pinch it with two fingers.CursorsYou use cursors to interact with the map. You can either place cursors onto items on the map, suchas waypoints or track or route elements or you can place a cursor on an arbitrary location. Tocreate a new cursor, long press somewhere on the map until the cursor appears. Now drag yourfinger to move the cursor. As soon as the cursor detects an item under it, the cross lines will moveonto the item.There is one active cursor which is bolder than the others. You can have a maximum of 3 cursors,when you attempt to create the fourth cursor, the oldest cursor will be used instead.The Toolbar17

The map’s toolbar is for page navigation, shows the info pane and the search icon. looks Thetoolbar is divided into 3 sections:Page NavigationMoves back and up inthe app views.Info PaneShows infofor theselected itemSearchFind things onthe mapThe page navigation brings you back to the start screen of GPS Essentials. When there is a pendingoperation on the toolbar, such as a search, tapping on the icon cancels the operation.The info pane shows information about the item under the active cursor. When you tap on theinfo pane, it shows a list of all available aspects. Tap on an aspect to load it into the info pane.IconNameDescriptionNameThe name of the selected item, e.g. the name ofthe waypoint, route or track.LocationThe location or the item or the plain cursorwhen there is no selected item.AltitudeThe altitude of the item.TimeThe time of the item, e.g. the track time for atrack element.TargetThe distance and bearing from the previouscursor location to the current cursor location.Dial MenuYou use the dial menu to run map commands. The dial menu is located at the bottom right cornerof the map. It has it’s name from the rotary dial, a long gone input device.In its initial state, the dial menu is collapsed to a small disk. Tap on it to expand. The dial menu hastwo rings, the inner ring shows command categories and the outer ring shows commands. You canrotate both rings to show hidden icons. When you tap on an icon on the inner ring, the outer ringrotates to show the command icons of this category.18

Below is a list of all commands. Some of the commands are only available when you created acursor over an existing element (Long tap and drag the cursor until it lock onto an element):119EditCommands to change the nodes underthe cursor or add new nodesEditOpens the selected element for editing. This isthe same as tapping on an element in list viewAddAdds a new node under the current cursor.The element will have the default icon, useedit to change it’s propertiesContactsFind a contact and adds a location for it(Requires the free contacts plugin)MarkMarks the element under the current cursor.This is same as marking in edit node. You canthen copy or move it to a different streamRemoveRemoves the element under the currentcursorChartShow the chart of the selected element’scategoryExportExports the selected element’s streamBulkDownloadLoads all map tiles for the current viewport.Only supported on Mapquest maps.ViewCommands to change the presentation ofthe mapMyLocationPans the map to show the current location ankeep centered while movingZoom InZoom the map inZoom OutZoom the map outZoom AllZoom to show all contents of the currentstream.

Zoom LegZoom to show the current location and thecurrent targetMapSelect a different map. The map will be savedfor the current streamNavigateControls route navigationStartNavigate to the selected targetPreviousNavigate to the previous targetPauseSuspend navigationNextNavigate to the next targetPlaybackControls track playbackPlayStars playback at the selected elementPauseSuspend playbackMoreShows miscellaneous commandsHelpShows the help page for the maps viewSettingsShows app settings Create a new waypoint1. Tap and hold on the map to create a new cursor.2. Now drag the cursor onto the location where you want the new waypoint.3. Tap on actions to show the actions pane.20

4. Select the add toolto create the waypoint. Measure the distance between two waypoints1. Place a cursor onto the first waypoint2. Place another cursor onto the second waypoint.3. If the search or tools pane is active, tap on page navigation to cancel.4. Tap on the info pane and select the target aspect.5. While you are dragging the cursors, the info pane will keep its values updated so you can makesuccessive measures quickly.Dashboard Split ViewIn the previous examples in this section we did not mention the part of your screen that shows aportion of the dashboard. Your screen is actually divided into a section that shows the map and asection that shows the dashboard.Here is a split view that shows map and dashboard in both portrait and landscape orientedscreens:There is an invisible divider bar between the map and the dashboard. When you tap onto theborder between the map and the dashboard, the divider will become visible and you can drag it tomake more room to either the map or the dashboard.21


Google MapA multi-layer map display that shows all your waypoints, tracksand routes.The map view is probably the most versatile and complex view of GPSEssentials. It has a different layout in horizontal and vertical orientedscreens and features a multilayer map and a dashboard. The dashboardworks exactly as the main dashboard and it shows the same widgets. Please refer to the sectionabout the dashboard above for a detailed description.ToolbarDashboardYou can adjust how much space you want to use for the map and the dashboard by dragging theslider up and down (or left and right on horizontal screens). The slider appears when you tap onthe screen near the separation between the map and the dashboard. You can drag the slider all theway down until the dashboard is completely hidden and you can also drag it all the way up to hidethe map completely. Doing so can make it hard to find the slider again, remember that the map isalways above the dashboard, even when it is hidden.The Map23

To pan the map, tap and hold the map and then swipe your finger to any direction. Press theminus button to zoom out and the plus button to zoom in. You can also pinch to zoom by tappingand holding with two fingers at the same time and then moving the fingers together or apart.You can switch between different map types using the map type button.WaypointsThe map shows the waypoint icons at their location. If you tap on the icon, a popup menu appearsto run operations on this waypoint:OperationDescriptionMarkMark this waypoint, then use the selectioncommand in any stream to move or copy thewaypoint.Use as TargetCreates a new route with this waypoint andstarts the route. Please refer to the routesection for a detailed description of routes.Edit DetailsOpens the waypoint editor. Please refer tothe waypoint section for a detaileddescription.MoveRelocates the waypoint. Tap onto the map tomove the waypoint. If you know thecoordinates of the waypoint, use thewaypoint editor instead.DeleteErases the waypoint from the database.To add a new waypoint, select Add Waypoint. Then tap on the location on the map to create awaypoint there. If you want to create a waypoint at your current location, select Add Waypointagain.Tap on the My Location button to pan the map to your current location. The map will follow yourlocation when you move until you pan to a different location.24

StreamsList all your streams, lets you filter streams by type and editstreams.Streams are a core concept of GPS Essentials. A stream is a series of locations (waypoints, pictures,messages) that are structured in categories. Feel free to review details in the chapter “DomainModel” if you don’t feel comfortable with the code data concepts.When you tap on streams, you see a list of all streams.Tap on All Streams to change the filter. Every filter limits the streams in the list based on a specificcriteria. The following filters are defined:25FilterDescriptionAll StreamsShows an unfiltered list of allstreams on the device

FilterDescriptionAll TracksShows all streams with streamtype “Track”All RoutesShows all streams with streamtype “Route”All MapsShows all streams with streamtype “Map”Shared StreamsShows all streams that havebeen shared on mapfinity.comStarred StreamsShows all streams that arestarred.Review stream types in the Domain Model section for an explanation of stream types.Notice that the filters are overlapping, some stream may appear under multiple filters.Stream ViewTap on a stream to view this stream. GPS Essentials will open the list view of the stream. The listview shows the nodes of a stream by category. The list itself contains a number of cards followedby the nodes of the selected category.26

Tap on the title bar so change the category. For every category, you will also see the length andnumber of nodes for this category.Creating New NodesThere are a few ways you can create single new nodes in stream view. If you want to add a singlewaypoint with name, description and icon from known coordinates or your current location Add a new waypoint1. Tap Plus from the action menu.2. Swipe to Waypoint.3. GPS will start, wait until you have sufficient accuracy.4. To enter coordinates, man

again. Use the back button to finish an activity at any time. Think of the activities as a stack of cards: Every time you open a new activity, it will be pushed onto the top of the stack and you can work with it. When you are finished, the activity will be