Maptitude can track and log data from a connected GPS receiver, as well as import and animate previous GPS tracks. All GPS activities are on the Tools->Geographic Utilities->GPS menu.
Configuring a GPS Device
In order to use a connected GPS receiver, you will need to configure it in Maptitude. This is performed using the Options tab on the GPS Setup dialog box. This is displayed by selecting Read GPS Data on the GPS menu (or by pressing Setup on the GPS Toolbox – see below):
Most, if not all, GPS receivers meet the NMEA 0183 standard, and this is what Maptitude requires. This is an old marine standard that actually requires a serial RS-232 interface! Modern computers generally lack these and modern GPS receivers usually only have a USB plug, so they typically ship with a driver that makes them look like a serial RS-232 connection. You must install this driver first. The NMEA 0183 specification mandates a baud rate of 4800, stop bits 1, no parity, and 8 data bits – so these are the default in Maptitude. However, Maptitude does support other variations if you need them. Maptitude cannot scan the COM ports, so you will need to find on which COM (serial RS-232) port your driver has located the GPS receiver. Ideally the driver will tell you, but you may need to dig around in the Windows Control Panel. Here, it has been installed on COM3.
Note that Maptitude can also read logged NMEA 0183 messages from a file. Although the file is set on the above dialog box, the live GPS device vs. Playback File switch is set on the Settings tab:
Maptitude’s GPS behavior is set by the Reporting Options box. Here we have it set to track the position on the map (as a moving red arrow), and to log positions on a new layer (called GPS data). These positions are logged every 2 seconds and appear as a series of ‘breadcrumb’ dots. If the data is live data from an attached GPS device, then you also have the option to save this data to a playback file for viewing at a future date.
For reference, this is what the Options tab looks like when it is set to use a playback file:
This is what the GPS tracking looks like on a Maptitude map:
This is taken from the example playback file (“San Diego to LA.gps“) in the Maptitude tutorials.
The current location is drawn with a red arrow, complete with the direction of motion. The previous locations are shown as black ‘breadcrumb’ dots which have been drawn on the GPS data layer.
Tracking information is also shown on the GPS Toolbox:
This is displayed and updated for both live device locations and playback files. Notice that the Longitude and Latitude are displayed using the internal Maptitude format of “millionths of a degree” (e.g. longitude is actually -117.282050 degrees).
Maptitude can animate a series of pre-recorded vehicle records. This is performed using the Animate GPS Data option on the GPS menu. Data is animated from an existing data view table of tracking information. This table must have the following data fields: a label or ID for the vehicle; a time stamp, and longitude, latitude values.
The animation is controlled using the Vehicle Animation toolbox, which can be used to play, pause, and stop the animation; as well as set the required start/end time and refresh rate.