How to track and display your trips for free!


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How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby WingAdmin » Tue Jun 23, 2015 1:08 pm



With people riding their motorcycles all over the place, they sometimes like to share their travels with others - and we love to live vicariously through those travels. Posting pictures at the end of each day is great, but not everyone has the ability - or desire to do this.

With the advent of smartphones and GPS trackers, this can be done fairly easily, and automatically - and for free! How this is done is with a free web site called SpotWalla. Unfortunately, the configuration and setup to get things working is not exactly user-friendly, so I thought I would write a simple user guide to get people started.

SpotWalla works with Android and iPhone smartphones, as well as SPOT trackers, among other devices. SPOT trackers are entirely satellite driven, and work anywhere in the world, whereas the (free) smartphone method relies on a cellular network. The smartphone apps will however store datapoints from the GPS when a cellular network is not available, and upload them as a batch when the cellular network does become avaialble.

To start, you need to register for a free account on SpotWalla.com at this URL: https://spotwalla.com/register.php

Once registered, you'll need to log into SpotWalla with your new username and password. All the configuration is done with the menu on the top right, which shows your user name (scribbled out below). To start, we need to add a device in SpotWalla. Click on your name, and select Devices:

Selecting the Device menu
Selecting the Device menu

You will be shown the Devices screen. Click on the "Create a Device" button, and you'll be shown the Adding Device screen:

Adding a device
Adding a device

Select the type of device you are adding, and give it a name. If you are installing the Android app, you want a device type of "Bubbler GPS" - if you're using an iPhone, you want "SWConnect iOS App Device." You can also select "SPOT Personal Tracker" if that is what you are using. If you are only adding one device (likely), then click the "Default Device" checkbox. When finished, click the Update button.

If you are adding a SPOT tracker, the setup is a bit more complex, and is described in detail here: Adding a SPOT Tracker Device.

For smartphone users, we next need to update the device to enable the smartphone to work with your account. Click on your newly added device, and select "Web API":

Selecting the Web API
Selecting the Web API

Click on "Enable/Disable Web API Access", then click the Enable button:

Enabling the Web API
Enabling the Web API

Your account is now setup and ready to work with your smartphone.

Android Users
Visit the Google Play store for Bubbler GPS and install the app on your phone: https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... bbler.lite
More information on the app can be found on the Bubbler GPS web site.

After Bubbler GPS is installed from Google Play, go to your app list/drawer and open Bubbler GPS. If this is your first time opening Bubbler GPS, you will automatically be sent to the Settings Dashboard where you will see a mixture of Red, Green and Grey lights. You must resolve any Red lights to be able to communicate with SpotWalla.com. (You may reach this page in the future by pressing the menu button on your phone from the Home screen of Bubbler GPS, or by selecting the the word "Settings" on the home page.)

Choose "Spotwalla Login" from the list. Enter your login and password to the SpotWalla.com website and click save. Wait a few moments while your account information is verified by SpotWalla.com, then click the "back" button on your phone to return to the Settings Dashboard.

If your SpotWalla Login now has a green light, choose "Spotwalla Device" from the dashboard. Choose the device you created above on the SpotWalla.com website. Wait a few moments while your device information is verified by SpotWalla.com, then click the "back" button on your phone to return to the Settings Dashboard. If no red lights appear, select the "back" button on your phone again to return to the home page.

Make sure the GPS on your phone is enabled, and Bubbler will begin to track your location and report that location to SpotWalla.com every 15 minutes (Lite), or 10 minutes (Pro), If a GPS signal is received.

iPhone Users
Visit iTunes for SWConnect and install the app on your phone: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/swconne ... ?ls=1&mt=8
More information on the app can be found on the SWConnect web site.

The SWConnect Home Screen is the primary interface once properly logged into Spotwalla. There are three sets of status lights at the top of the screen:

Spotwalla Connection
Red - No login information, email or password.
Yellow - Email and password have been validated, but no device chosen.
Green - Successfully logged in, and appropriate Spotwalla device has been selected.

The Tracking light indicates current tracking status:
Red - Tracking is currently disabled.
Green - Tracking is current enabled.
Blinking - Tracking is enabled, and Auto-track mode is active.

The Internet Status light:
Red - Internet is not currently available.
Yellow - Internet is available via WiFi.
Green - Internet is available via cellular.

The lower section of the Home Screen displays the current GPS tracking information. If the text is in red, then the latest GPS location lacks accuracy to be considered for tracking to Spotwalla. When tracking, if locations cannot be sent to Spotwalla, they will be buffered internally. The Buffered: line indicates the number of points that are contained in the buffer.


Adding a Trip - All Devices
Running the app on your phone is not enough - we need to tell SpotWalla where to store your data. We do this by creating a "trip" in which your location data will be stored. Log into the SpotWalla web site, and from the main menu, select Trips:

Selecting the Trip menu
Selecting the Trip menu

Click on the "Create a Trip" button, and you'll be shown the trip creation screen:

Create a trip
Create a trip

Make sure your device is selected. Add a name and description for your trip, and give it a start date/time and end date/time. SpotWalla will automatically assign any location data it receives from your device during that timeframe to this trip. When finished, click the Create button.

Next, click on your newly created trip, and select Update:

Update Trip menu
Update Trip menu

Click on Security Options:

Select security options
Select security options

There are a few items you can configure for security. You can select anything you like - but in order to share the trip with others on this web site, you must make sure it is NOT a "Private" trip, and that it does NOT have a password.

I won't go into the purpose of each security option, you can read more about them on the SpotWalla Trip Help Page. Once you are sure that the trip is not marked Private, click Update.

The last step is to retrieve the ID of the trip. The easiest way to do this is to click on the trip and select Trip Links:

Trip Links menu
Trip Links menu

The trip link window will open and you'll be shown a URL. The last part of the URL contains the trip ID, highlighted in yellow below:

Trip Link
Trip Link

This is the ID we are interested in. To embed your trip in a GoldwingDocs message, compose a new message, and click the "spotwalla" button in the editor. Then paste in the trip ID you copied from the Trip Link window. The end result will look like this:

SpotWalla Link
SpotWalla Link


When the message is viewed by anyone, this bit of code with the trip ID will automatically transform into a real-time map:





As you ride on your trip, anyone viewing this message will see where you are, and your progress on your trip!

This is a basic introduction to this whole process; there are more capabilities such as embedding pictures, statuses (i.e. show where you got gas, show where you stopped for the night), but I'll leave those for another day.



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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby Old Fogey » Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:06 pm

This is a great idea for travellers like me who forget to do this kind of thing manually.

But, cheezzzzz, that is some process! I'll need to get my 10 year old granddaughter to sort me out. She'll do it in 10 minutes whereas it would take me 10 days to figure it out!
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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby cardinal » Fri Dec 04, 2015 1:37 pm

This looks like fun.....but I, like so many here, will have to enlist the help of one of my grandchildren to get it set up.
A question...Does this app use any internet data? My data usage is limited and I already end up limiting my usage near the end of each month.

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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby WingAdmin » Mon Dec 07, 2015 11:15 am

cardinal wrote:This looks like fun.....but I, like so many here, will have to enlist the help of one of my grandchildren to get it set up.
A question...Does this app use any internet data? My data usage is limited and I already end up limiting my usage near the end of each month.


Yes it does - how much exactly I couldn't say, but my guess is that it is minimal. Sending Lat/Lon coordinates are a very tiny amount of data - maybe 20 bytes at most per position report. That's 0.00002 MB, or 0.00000002 GB. If it is reporting that every 15 minutes, even if you left it running 24/7 for a month, that's only 2880 position reports, at 20 bytes apiece, is only 57.6K. That's about the size of a small JPEG image, like the little motorcycle image that shows at the top left of this web site.

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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby cardinal » Mon Dec 07, 2015 3:15 pm

Thanks, I'll start working on my grandkids to get some help installing it!

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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby garlo » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:44 pm

:D 10 minutes and all done. :D

Ready for the spring to show up and we see how it actually works

Thank you for the info. I have been pondering on how to allow my grandkids access to where I am when I am riding.

Appreciate this a lot
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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby flogger » Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:10 pm

Nothing is free... Read the fine print. They are in the business to make money and they have all the info and data about you/your account and your travels. Now I am not sounding alarms about a scam, it's the same with Google, Facebook, Twitter and many many others... You are giving up a lot of personal information and privacy for the service. How do you thing ads are so targeted at you on the Internet? Everything about you gets collected, analyzed and is for sale. I become most wary of sites tracking me and knowing so much info about me... Privacy risks, security risks, legal issues... It all makes the hair on my neck stand up... But I have a military, security, antiterrorism background... My smartphone is set up so that my privacy is mine and no one can invade it... Most younger folks welcome all the "free" stuff and intrusions without even knowing what they are giving up...

Like I started, nothing is free...
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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby Dennis613l » Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:51 am




Been using the Bubbler app as of last year and fairly happy with it. The minimum set point for logging track points is only five minutes, wish it was down around two or so, to make the spotwalla track a little smoother.

Been trying the following app this spring, seems interesting. Tracks a little smoother, plus has poi's, etc.
Only thing don't care for is that stop using data for maps, you have to purchase the maps ($2 per state) for offline gps. This can add up if like to do a lot of travelling.

http://www.bikerseason.com/en/

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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby chads920 » Mon Jul 18, 2016 11:04 pm

I also like to track and share route info and have purchased the CascaRun Pro app for my smart ph (Blackberry Z10). There are listed many many different options as far as mobility is concerned even to include a wheelchair. Your workout or trip can be Exported, backed up, done with a group or you can import other routes. Have a look I think I may have spent all of $4.00 on this app and I think it is great and its used friendly
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Re: How to track and display your trips for free!

Postby Rayvn » Thu Oct 20, 2016 8:20 pm

flogger wrote:Nothing is free... Read the fine print. They are in the business to make money and they have all the info and data about you/your account and your travels. Now I am not sounding alarms about a scam, it's the same with Google, Facebook, Twitter and many many others... You are giving up a lot of personal information and privacy for the service. How do you thing ads are so targeted at you on the Internet? Everything about you gets collected, analyzed and is for sale. I become most wary of sites tracking me and knowing so much info about me... Privacy risks, security risks, legal issues... It all makes the hair on my neck stand up... But I have a military, security, antiterrorism background... My smartphone is set up so that my privacy is mine and no one can invade it... Most younger folks welcome all the "free" stuff and intrusions without even knowing what they are giving up...

Like I started, nothing is free...


Thanks for the write up, but flogger is right on. No way do I use apps like this. Like flogger I have everything on my phone shut off and set up not to track that I can. I also do not belong to face book, twitter or any other one. Besides, when I travel I do not want anyone knowing where I am. That's why I escape.




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