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The description below may appear a bit lengthy, the real procedure is not. It is quick and simple, that's why I like it. Creating a basic magnalog does not take more than two minutes.
You can spend of course a lot more time on writing texts, editing photos and creating images for a rich and exciting report. But that's up to you.
|GPS-device:||I use a »RoyalTek
It is a "GPS Bluetooth Mouse", what means it is just a receiver, which
can do wireless transmissions of position-data to a PDA, PC or
Notebook using the Bluetooth standard. It has no display and no
buttons, just 3 LEDs and an on/off switch. The LEDs tell me a) that it
has GPS reception, b) the battery state, c) whether it has a bluetooth
connection set up. I can tell very quickly what the thing is doing
without fumbling. It has the size of a cigarette box and weights less
than 110 grams. It has an external 5V power connector and a connector
for an external antenna. Its battery lasts up to 11 hours while
continuously recording every 30 seconds. It came with a 12V
adapter-cable that allows non-stop operation and charging in a car or
boat. It was sold in November 2004 for around 200 €.
The feature I choose it for, the ability to record 30.000 positions in its internal memory. That makes it possible to use it without any other hardware. In fact, I usually turn it on, put it in a pocket, in my backpack or behind my windshield and forget about it for the rest of the day. It can log while it is transmitting NMEA over Bluetooh like any other GPS mouse. I can configure it to save a sample after a certain time or after a certain distance, whatever comes first.
I like simple solutions, that is why I took this device.
There are also some issues about my device that could be improved:
One last remark on GPS in general just to clarify a common
|Camera:||I'm using a Fuji FinePix S602 Zoom, any other model will do. Just
make sure that its internal clock is accurately set, because the
timestamps can lateron be used to assign a photo to a location.
If I had to buy a new one, I would focus on: quick power on, quick and reliable autofocus, small size, easy to operate, standard batteries, fixed lenses (no push out optics) because they are slow, consume battery and their fine mechanics are subject to failure.
|PDA:||After using the bare GPS-mouse for almost a year, Santa Claus
brought me a Bluetooth enabled PDA (Loox 720). With that thing I can
|Usually I set my device to record a sample every 30 meters or once
a minute. It actually depends on the speed of the object you are
recording. This is meant for a pedestrian, for a plane every 30 meters
is way too often. In fact, I often have too many samples, not too few.
Assume the GPS accuracy to be at roughly 20 meters under regular conditions, thus it doesn't make much sense to record twice within that range.
Depending on the accuracy you need, place the device so that it "sees" the satellites. When walking, I usually have it in a pocket or in the hood of my jacket, which still is sufficient in most cases, but leads to little weaker signals and thus less precision.
When the elevation is important (like when paragliding), this may be a crucial point. The vertical GPS accuracy is usually worse than the horizontal accuracy, but in open sky the reception is usually better. Especially when circling around the satellites (paraglider pilots know what I mean ;).
My device can use EGNOS, what should further enhance accuracy, but I haven't seen a noticeable difference having it turned on.
|Since I have lots of memory and it isn't expensive anymore, I do
not hesitate but take a picture. Taking photos of signs and crossroads
can make a magnalog even more useful, landmarks etc can also be of
interest when repeating a route from a magnalog.
The resolution of images on the internet is very low for contemporary cameras, even VGA resolution is sufficient. If you also want printouts, just use your normal quality settings and scale down the images to be used in a magnalog, preserving the EXIF information (Picasa2 or IrfanView do that). Some cameras allow speech annotations, which may serve as an inspiration for the story to be written on magnalox lateron.
I am usually creating a new working directory for each magnalog on my desktop and drop (copies of) all related files (logfiles, images, emails, URLs etc) there. Later, when all is done and uploaded, I archive it.
The chapters above were of more general purpose and not especially related to the magnalox website. Now I'll cover the steps required on magnalox.net. I assume you have an account on magnalox and you are already logged-in using the "log in"-page.
For the first steps, I recommend that you use a GPS-log having less than 1000 samples, because it speeds up the whole procedure. Consider your first magnalog as a testcase and start over after deleting it.
Just to explain the wordgame:
|Open the log overview page by clicking on "my magnalox", "my
In the section "Add a new log" at the bottom, enter then name of the magnalog you whish to create. Take a descriptive name you recognize, it will be the log's caption from now on. You can change it later. Then click "add".
You just created a new (but empty) magnalog.
upload the GPS
|You will be taken to the page "edit" automagically.
This page is divided into a sequence of steps, most of them are optional. For now we will do only the required steps.
In the caption, you will find a "Log ID". This is magnalox' identifier (key) for each magnalog. It is unique and assigned automatically. It can't be changed once the magnalog is created.
That's it! If you made it up to here, you now have your first magnalog finished.
Click on "display magnalog" at the bottom of this page and there it is. Still not really "rich" of content and features, but already amazing, displaying how, where and when the log was recorded. Now is the right time to lean back and watch the cursor wandering for a while.
Click on the flashing cursor, and you will find links to more information (streetmaps etc) related to the momentary position. In the browser's status bar, you will find the exact date and time, on the right side. You will see the green line marking the current height, horizontal and vertical speed. Play with the buttons below the map, you can step for- and backward. Click into the graphs, and the time will be set to that moment.
If you want your magnalog to become a top performer in magnalox' charts, you need to add a background map, photos and a story. All that can be done with the other steps on the "edit magnalog" page you just used. They all open a new browser window. Thus when you accomplished the task, you can easily close that window and proceed with the next step.
And now it's your turn to amaze me...