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API for Sleeves or CF cards

 
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agorman
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Joined: 05/06/2003 17:32:36
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Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 8:04 am    Post subject: API for Sleeves or CF cards Reply with quote

I am a researcher working on an application that combines handheld prompting (memory aid) devices for people with cognitive disabilities and web-based monitoring systems for caregivers.



See:

http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~l3d/clever/projects/lifeline.html

http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~l3d/clever/projects/maps.html



I would like to add location data to the application so that caregivers can track the location of their clients. I have been looking into CF cards to attach to our iPaq 3850. I am really not very interested in the software provided with the card, I am more interested in whether they provide an API so that I can access data directly.



I have looked at the TeleType products, but their two solutions are not ideal:



1) I can pay $5,000 a year to license the API to access the receiver directly, but this is too expensive for our research budget



or



2) I can access their mapping software (and location data) with a free developer kit, but I would rather not have their application always running in the background.



Does anyone have any suggestions. I am willing to settle for option 2 described above, but I was hopping that someone could point me to a cleaner solution? Also, we would like to move from the iPaq to a T-Mobile Phone/Pocket PC. Can anyone recommend a solution (I guess a sleeve) for that device?



Thanks,



Andy
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DavidW
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Joined: 17/05/2003 02:26:21
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Location: Bedfordshire, UK

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 8:04 am    Post subject: API for Sleeves or CF cards Reply with quote

I'm wondering whether GPS is even suitable for your application, seeing as it requires a clear view of the sky - or at least reasonable proximity to a window. However, it's the best that can be done.





Anyway - rather than getting tied up with proprietary solutions, what's wrong with finding a Pocket PC with a CompactFlash slot, and marrying that with a standard CompactFlash GPS card. You simply open the COM port relating to the CompactFlash card 4800bps 8 N 1, and you should receive an incoming stream of NMEA 0183 version 2 data.



There's sufficient documentation lying around on the net for common NMEA "sentences" not to require any proprietary kit or to require you to buy a copy of the NMEA 0183 standard. This page should give you a pretty good idea.





To my knowledge, the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone (which is pretty much the same device as the O2 XDA - it just has radio hardware on different bands) doesn't have any facility to fit sleeves or CompactFlash expansion. Your only option on that hardware is, I believe, a GPS 'mouse' (a serial GPS), which requires external power.





Does that help?









David
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agorman
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Joined: 05/06/2003 17:32:36
Posts: 3
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 8:04 am    Post subject: API for Sleeves or CF cards Reply with quote

Quote: Originally posted by DavidW on 05June2003

I'm wondering whether GPS is even suitable for your application, seeing as it requires a clear view of the sky - or at least reasonable proximity to a window. However, it's the best that can be done.




Actually we are working in parallel with a group that is developing an indoor sensor network that will eventually be GPS enabled. This will allow us to achieve indoor and outdoor navigation.



See: http://mantis.cs.colorado.edu



While we're waiting for the MANTIS project to provide us with a device, we want to see what we can do outside with GPS. I think the pointers you gave me should be very helpful. Thanks!



Andy
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agorman
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Joined: 05/06/2003 17:32:36
Posts: 3
Location: United States

PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 8:04 am    Post subject: API for Sleeves or CF cards Reply with quote

Quote: Anyway - rather than getting tied up with proprietary solutions, what's wrong with finding a Pocket PC with a CompactFlash slot, and marrying that with a standard CompactFlash GPS card. You simply open the COM port relating to the CompactFlash card 4800bps 8 N 1, and you should receive an incoming stream of NMEA 0183 version 2 data.




I have two follow up questions:



1) would a CF GPS with a PCMCIA adapter be the same (sorry, I'm not a hardware guy at all)? If so, I can just use the iPaq with the PCMCIA sleeve.



2) would pretty much any CF GPS provide this stander interface? Is there one you can recommend?



Andy



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DavidW
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2003 8:04 am    Post subject: API for Sleeves or CF cards Reply with quote

You can put a CompactFlash GPS into a PCMCIA sleeve using an adapter without any problems. Indeed, that's precisely what I do on my setup!





NMEA 0183 is the standard, even if other modes are supported, and pretty much any CF GPS would provide this interface. There are a couple of CF GPSes that get the 'thumbs down' from various reviewers (particularly the Pretec LP GPS, which is a kind of soft GPS that relies on a software driver), but most are good.



I'd recommend you look for something SiRFstar IIe/LP based. That's the latest chipset from SiRF, which is a lower power consumption, high performance chipset. Products using this chipset include the Holux GM-270 and the Haicom HI-303MMF (the latter supports both CompactFlash and serial connection).





As you're in the US, there's a news item here about a SiRFstar IIe/LP based CF GPS for US$120. How does that strike you? I have no direct experience of the retailer nor the supplier, but both seem to have a good reputation. Sounds like you even get the PCMCIA adapter thrown in!



For ultimate weak signal performance, you should probably consider something running SiRF's Xtrac firmware (such as the Holux GM-270 Ultra), but such CF GPSes are to the more expensive end of the market.







David
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