Jun 122011

BackPackTrack for AndroidWhen I am traveling I like to display the route I have traveled so far for the people at home. To simplify this I wrote an open source Android application to keep track of my route automatically. To save batteries the application turns on the GPS of my Android phone periodically and tries to acquire an accurate location for some time. It is also possible to mark important locations manually (make waypoints), like an attraction or the hotel I am sleeping in. It is also possible to geocode an address (find the latitude/longitude for an address), for the case I forgot to make a waypoint. When I have internet access I can upload the route information to my weblog easily, maybe after I have reverse geocoded a few marked locations (find the address for a latitude/longitude). To make the upload to my weblog possible, I wrote a little WordPress plugin to extend the WordPress XML-RPC protocol. The route information is stored as a standard GPX file attached to a post which is automatically created at the first upload. The excellent XML Google Maps WordPress plugin can be used to display a map based on the GPX file (example).

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QR code BackPackTrack for Android

  36 Responses to “BackPackTrack for Android”

  1. Support questions can be asked in this forum now.

  2. Is it possible to display on my website the route that I am traveling, while still moving? (or) do I have to wait until I finish my route and press stop, then upload?

    • You certainly can, that is what I do all the time 😉

      I mostly upload once from the App when I start travelling and write a little story about my plans and then publish the post (initially the post is draft) and during my travelling I update the track regularly.

      • Ok so I figured out how to create a track using the app. I have also downloaded and installed the BackPack Track plugin for my wordpress site. But I am not sure how to display the track I made, and (or) display tracks while I am traveling..

        Is there a help guide (or) forums that explains how to display your tacks while currently traveling? I am a route driver for AVON and I would like to offer a page on my site that the ladies I deliver to can see my progress as I make my deliveries so they can see approximately when I will be delivering at their place..

        Thanks in advance for any help.. I think this app is totally cool..

        • I understand now that you want to upload the track automatically with each update. This is not yet possible, but if you have a little patience I will make this for you. The application was made for offline tracking, but it is easy to adapt to send each update if there is an internet connection. I will make an option for this.

          • Sweet if you can make this happen that would be awesome.. Your the BEST!


            • I have just released version 0.5 which includes this feature. If you use this application commercially, a donation is appreciated.

              • Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.. I will gladly make a donation expect to see it by middle of next week. I am very impressed with how quickly you responded to my comments and how quickly you added the feature that I needed..

                Very impressive.. I will upgrade now and try it out..

                • You are very welcome. I forgot to tell you, that you need XML Google Maps to display uploaded maps.

                  • [ java.io.FileNotFoundException: data/journey gpx permission denied ]

                    I get the above error message when I try to update / upload. Do I need to create the data/journey/ folder in my phone?

    • You have found a bug 🙁
      But it is fixed in version 0.5.1, which you can download here.

      • [ org.xmlrpg.android.xmlrpcException: http status code 404 != 200 ]

        I downloaded 0.5.1 and now I get this error message. is this related to the http address i entered into the android app under Settings-URL?

        • Indeed, this is related to the address you have entered as blog URL. 404 means not found. Make sure the address is in the format http://www.example.com/.

          • Awesome, thanks for your help I have successfully achieved displaying the map / tracks on my site.

            My next question is;

            Can I adjust the accuracy of the track better? I currently have the settings for accuracy set at “1” and when it displays the track line on the map it doesn’t follow the roads I travel, but it shows the line off to the side of the roads and sometimes looks like i am driving on a nearby river instead of highway…

            Also I have the Locus Free map app on my Android phone and it does a great job mapping my tracks exactly where I traveled. Is it possible to use the BackPackTrack to display the tracks from the Locus Free maps app?

  3. Love this app. I actually was looking at your apps because I use add link to facebook and I wanted to see what other great apps you have. I’m a hiker so this app comes in very handy.

    I have had the problem where the app doesn’t update. I open the app and press start. It does the first track (0/1) then it never updates again. Not sure why. I put my phone on airplane mode (HTC Droid Incredible) and the GPS seems to function OK in that mode. I had the app set on 5 minute interval updates but no luck.

    Today I got the app to work properly by starting the app and letting it do a couple updates on its own before putting it into airplane mode. I let it run for a whole hour on my commute home and it worked great. If there is any kind of bug tracking or anything I can do to help you make the app work better, I would be happy to help, just let me know. Great app!

    • Thanks for your report, Jay!
      I had this same problem too while travelling in Peru and I still have to fix it.
      Since I want to be prepared for my next travel, I will look into this soon.
      Let me know if you want something changed too.
      This problem has nothing to do with airplane mode, but with the kind of timer that is being used.

      • Thanks Marcel! Nothing I can think of at the moment to make it work better for me. Just the timer issue. If you need me to test it out, just let me know.


      • Marcel, I wrote a short review about your app on my blog. Feel free to check it out. After contemplating your question about wanting anything about the app changed, I did think of something. Currently it looks like it is only possible to globally turn the elevation profiles on or off in the Google Maps XML options. It would be great if there was a way to have the elevation profiles on or off on a per GPX basis. Not sure if that would be outside the scope of your app but it would be nice to remove the elevation profile on some posts. Thanks again for the great app.


        • I like your review! Thanks for writing it.

          You can enable the elevation profile with a parameter. See here for details.

          I will look into the timer issue this weekend.

          • Excellent, thanks Marcel!

            • Could you please test the just released version 0.4?

              It could be that this version consumes more power, since a partial wake lock is being acquired while tracking to prevent stopping the CPU from running (most probably the cause of the problem of ‘stopping’ the timer).

              See the changelog for other changes.

              • Sorry for the late response, I’m away on a work trip and hard to find time to respond. I tested your app the day (0.4 not 0.4.1 yet) and it worked flawlessly. When I find time I’ll DL the newer version and check it out. Also excited about the other changes you described in the other thread. Keep up the good work Marcel!


            • I have uploaded another version (0.4.1) that vibrates when a waypoint has been added.

          • Tested 0.5.1 yesterday. Seems to work great. No issues to mention.

            • Thanks for reporting back!
              So, I can plan my holiday now? 😉
              Did you also test the new auto update feature?

              • I haven’t tried the auto update yet but I will. Not entirely sure how it works. Does it overwrite the previous GPX with each update? If I am in airplane mode to save the battery, does it update once airplane mode is turned off? I guess this would be useful to me, interesting idea.

                To answer your question, yes plan your holiday now! Go somewhere fun and track it!

                • When auto update is enabled, the app test for each new trackpoint/waypoint if there is an internet connection and if there is, it automatically generates and uploads a GPX file (overwriting the previous GPS-file).

              • App seems to work great with your latest update. It ran in airplane mode fine. When I switched out of airplane mode to let it auto-update there were no issues. I went in and out of airplane mode a few times and no problems. The GPX uploaded and displayed fine between updates and I could see the progress I made on the map between updates. Solid programming – good job Marcel. Thanks again.

  4. That’s absolutely useful. i also like to display the route I have traveled. and in case of lost. i will do full preperation for my traveling.:)

  5. Sorry to bother you again…

    Does the gpx file get appended after restarting the Android app, or is it overwritten each time?

    • It will be overwritten. In this way the track is updated, since the GPX file contains the previous and new data.

  6. I have made the same program in 2008 but then for windows mobile platform in combination whith wordpress XMLRPC protocol

    I used sms to send my gps location because gprs and umts are not available everywhere and when there was no mobile network i placed the gps coordiantes in a queue to send them when the mobile network was available.

    i made an sms gateway which also made and reverse geo lookup throug the google maps api.

    Maybe we can combine those functions?


    henk hermsen