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An Apology and a Tip

First, the apology

I just discovered that a MailChimp draft email I worked on a week or so ago was sent unintentionally to my customers and subscribers. I apologise for my error. I will revert to individual emails.

Last, the tip – OriBooklet

This is for those of you who do not get OCAD newsletters. This item is about a mobile based mapping app for OCAD users.

4. Oribooklet App – Mapping with a Cell Phone
Oribooklet is a free app for Android, made for mapping with a cell phone only. It has a simple and straightforward interface to map objects in the terrain. Once your field job is done, you can export a .gpx file, which you can later import in OCAD and assign to symbols.
At the moment, Oribooklet works with ISOM 2017-2, ISSOM 2007 and ISSprOM 2019, in English, Portuguese and Spanish. Many thanks to Haroldo Cavalcanti for designing the app and sharing it with the orienteering world.
For more information, see this slideshow.
For installation, go to Google Play Store.

In reading the app guide it seemed to me that this is very well designed. So I tried it out. The result is that I can recommend you try it if you think a mobile app may be useful in your mapping. Make sure you setup Preferences first, especially the amil address to which your Saved file will be sent. However, you can get the file from Documents/Oribooklet  in your mobile.

I did have an issue in that only 3 of the list of control symbol groups would show on my screen. In conversation with the designer Haroldo, it appears this isn’t uncommon on some Motorola models even though the app is set to conform to screen size. He is working on mine. I do get everything showing on my Lenovo TAB 7.

For the few of you who use an external GPSr via Bluetooth to a mobile, be aware that OriBooklet does not appear to pick up the mock GPS provider channel. It continues to rely on the mobile’s GPS device which on my old Moto E 2nd Gen probably isn’t even getting Glonass satellites. So while my GNSS Commander app was showing 20 to 26 satellites with 12 or so in use, OriBooklet via Moto was reporting between 6 and 8 – unsure whether that is ‘in use’ or ‘visible’. Haroldo is going to see what is involved in incorporating mock GPS provider reception into the app.

Summarising, it seems to me that this app is well worth trying out if you think mobile mapping will be useful to you.

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GNS 2000 Plus has 1 second recording

Correction to recent post

In my recent post on this device I sated that it recorded only every 5 seconds. Thanks to a tip from Rob Plowright who has an earlier model, I found that when transmitting via Bluetooth, you get 1 second records. In fact you get up to 3 records per second.

This makes the GNS 2000 Plus even more useful.

A quick look

The GNS 2000 Plus records a track point to the device every 5 seconds. However, data transmitted to a smart device via Bluetooth, whether or not also recording to the GNS device, gives 1 second intervals.

The GNSS Commander file records into its own data file only every second. This app is intended for high level use in that it handles data in respect of DGPS land stations. Therefore I believe the additional transmits to an external app such as OruxMaps may be a means of ensuring that at least one data record per second will get through in a more demanding environment.

Tip: If setting the function to record on the GNS device, carefully observe that the green light flashes quickly 3 times as the switching to effect this is time sensitive.

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GNSS Devices in Mapping

Geostationary Satellites

GNS 2000 Plus

Key features

I finally found a small GNSS device that met my key criteria of;

  • handles GPS, Glonass and Galileo satellite constellations
  • small enough to affix to my helmet or hat for best satellites view
  • stores track data for later retrieval

Most either store data for later retrieval or transmit live via Bluetooth but don’t store. The GNS 2000 Plus does both if you select to transmit via Bluetooth. Bluetooth transmission is the default. Storing is effected by rapid Off-On after you turn on the only switch on the device. But make sure you observe the light pattern that confirms you are in storage mode. I find both methods work well.

Satellites in view

This was an eye opener. Without access to Galileo, in the forest I was sometimes getting (via Bluetooth GPS app) barely sufficient usable satellites for good performance.

Add in Galileo and total satellites visible was at least 22 with 12 in use. In general, more satellites in use means better accuracy. As the signal from one satellite in use deteriorates, the next best is swapped in.

What’s not so good?

I wanted a POI button on my GNSSr but very few have these. However, to my pleasant surprise I found that Bluetooth to a smart device with OruxMaps as the tracking app, gives me not just POI function but also easy capability for making notes directly.

It isn’t IPX rated for climatic conditions. However if rain is threatening I put it in a ziplock bag.

The GNS 2000 Plus records a track point to the device only every 5 seconds. However, data transmitted to a smart device via Bluetooth, whether or not also recording to the GNS device, gives 1 second intervals – in fact typically 3 records per second. See my correction post for further information.

When setting the function to record on the GNS device, carefully observe that the green light flashes quickly 3 times as the switching to effect this is time sensitive. [This section updated 24 May 2019 to note BT 1 second intervals – thanks Rob Plowright].

For mtbo I find 5 seconds acceptable. I am used to riding at 12 km/h or less while mapping (at a significant cost of disc brake pads) which means a track point every 17m. On detailed track I tend to go slower and at junctions I generally stop. For foot-o, the Bluetooth transmission gives detailed data and if desired, the GNS device recording can also be on as a backup.

Originally I was disturbed at the lack of ability to set various parameters. Now I am a convert to the simplicity.

Tracking against Trimble

The Lerderderg Track (Vic) trail was originally surveyed on foot in 2000 using a professional Trimble with mushroom antenna. So this is a very good standard against which to compare the GNS 2000 Plus while riding. The Trimble track was supplied smoothed. The pic shows a track portion.

GNS 2000 ride vs Trimble walk in bush

The GNS 2000 Plus was on my helmet thus giving it the same exposure to satellites as the Trimble mushroom antenna. I also wore on my wrist my Suunto Ambit 2S and it showed noticeably more variation. My interpretation is that the addition of Galileo satellite access has enabled the GNS 2000 Plus to virtually match the professional Trimble year 2000 model.

Not all plain sailing

Talking of plain sailing, this device was developed mainly for small plane including sail plane use – hence the 5 second interval. Geoff Peck and I worked on resolving a number of issues. These revolved around getting the track data from all of GPS Glonass, Galileo etc from the device through to a gpx or kml/kmz file format for OCAD.

We found the popular GPS Bluetooth app recommended by GNS 2000 Plus did not handle satellites other than GPS and Glonass! Eventually we came across GNSS Commahttps://www.facebook.com/pilablunder app which as you can see from the images above, handles data from all constellations. So we had the means of getting the data and GNSS Commander would also store it and even email it afterwards.

But I wanted the ability to manage the tracks on the phone, especially creating POIs with text info. Also on occasion having a background map whether online topo or my own orienteering or trail map. Many apps were presented but only one suited – OruxMaps. I originally looked at it askance as it had so many functions. But I found it very simple to set up and use for what I wanted. It also will upload your track to their website or GPSies.com or a few others. However, I just connect via cable to my PC and get it that way already in GPX format.

GNSS 2000 Plus with laptop

Judging by some online chat groups, it can be problematic getting a GNSS device to work with an OCAD on a laptop in the field.

So I did a test and found that using Bluetooth as COM6 at max rate on my PC made the connection. I then started OCAD 2019 Real-Time GPS. When I tried the Test function, data flowed through but an Invalid Data message displayed and stayed on for every record. However, I recalled that my trusty GPS Utility software found an invalid NMEA header in a GNS 2000 Plus file so guessed the error message might be staying on despite the rest of the data being OK.

So it proved and in live mode it worked fine. OCAD Inc should have fixed the persistent error message problem by now.


I have had a breakthrough with the Holux situation on windows 10.  
I started with installing the drivers below and my RCV-3000 now works with the ezTour software. Then to my amazement the 1200e now works also.
https://www.silabs.com/products/development-tools/software/usb-to-uart-bridge-vcp-drivers
I still can’t get the data off in Ocad although the real time gps works but this is not a major issue for me as the export can be done from eztour.

The above from Andrew Slattery for all those Holux GPSr users out there

GNS 2000 Plus In the field

The GNS 2000 Plus got a good workout in the final stages of preparing the Lerderderg Track map. I have since used it on other maps. I mostly ride with the device on my helmet. More recently while walking to check the map for the Daylesford permanent orienteering course, I fixed it to my cap using a combo of velcro strap and 2 safety pins.

GNS2000+ on hat

With my mobile strapped to the bike bar I mostly use Bluetooth – GNSS Commander – OruxMaps principally to enable recording of POIs on the mobile along with comments. I haven’t bothered to date with loading a map of the area into OruxMaps. When in mobile range I can use the generic online maps but find they are of little or no assistance.

Getting OCAD maps into OruxMaps is simply a matter of exporting in GeoTiff format (TIF including World file), then copying those two files into my mobile OruxMaps MapsFiles folder per image below.

OruxMaps files on mobile
map files in OruxMaps app on mobile

The wrap

Despite it’s apparent limitation of recording every 5 seconds, I have found the GNS 2000 Plus to be highly satisfactory for my use in developing mtbo maps and trail maps. When I used it in checking a foot-o map, I found that it delivered dramatically better results than the original mapper’s GPSr – checked via NearMap and my many prior mappings of those tracks over the years. So I believe it is quite likely at least as good as any other GNSSr in its price range – if there is such a thing.

Geoff Peck and I have been sharing experiences re access to Galileo, SBAS, Beidou etc on GNSS devices. We have managed to surmount a number of hurdles along the way and are pleased to share our experiences. Use the Comments section to ask and we will reply there to share with all users of this blog

I bought my GNS 2000 Plus, $175, from a company Geoff recommended – Melbourne based Oz Pilot. Their online shop doesn’t specify the GNS 2000 is the Plus tri-ceiver model, but just specify that in your order and that is what you will get.

Off course

Latest knOCAD post

Symbol Set Conversion warning.

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OCAD & ISOM 2017 update

Recent important OCAD updates

Amongst the continued OCAD improvements are two updates that stand out as being particularly useful.

Convertor for ISOM 2017 latest update

OCAD has just released a function to automatically convert your ISOM 2017 map file to ISOM 2017-2 which has just been announced by IOF.

The function Beta version is in the April service update. However, if you haven’t yet been offered that, (as was the case with me) and you need it now, then you can select Help > OCAD Service Update to download and install the Beta version.

Read more in OCAD’s blog post. Take note that if you have a non-compliant ISOM 2017 map file, then you will need to check carefully the symbols reported as being ‘added’. I tested an OCAD 9 file and due in part, at least, to different colour numbers, the prominent trees ended up as a black circle on an orange background. Mind you, their appearance on the map certainly accorded with the symbol name.

New Course Setting Project Wizard

Now this new function marks a significant improvement in setting up a course. If you missed it because it was buried in my World Orienteering Day post, then take a look now.

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Compose Course faster, easier | World Orienteering Day

Major Course Setting improvements

Compose course

First click adds a start object, each additional click adds a control point and double click adds a finish object to the map and the course.

New course setting wizard

This wizard guides you through the first steps, like choosing the right symbol set and loading a map file in the background layer.

Check out both new functions in this 3m 27s video

World Orienteering Day 2019 is Wed 23rd May

International Orienteering Federation reports…

With World Orienteering Day 2019 approaching, the orienteering community is stepping up its efforts in preparation for the event.

In the most recent WOD Newsletter, you can read about the approach of both British Orienteering and the Swedish Orienteering Federation. Why not see if any of their ideas might inspire your own activity?

Or perhaps you might be inspired by WOD Ambassador Daniel Hubmann? In this interview, he tells us about the event he organised for WOD 2018 and explains why he thinks WOD is a great opportunity to promote orienteering to people around the world.

Also, don’t miss out on applying for OCAD WOD Starter Licence!

So what is World Orienteering Day (WOD)?

OCAD WOD Starter licence image