iOS: TrackMe

A while back I posted a couple of entries about Swift (here and here) and I stated:

Despite my initial misgivings of Swift (these posts have been on the negative side), I know I’ll end up developing with it.

Well done smarty-pants me! I’m now actively using Swift for some iOS development.

I always like to approach using different bits of tech in a way that is either of some use to me personally (see LearnAWord), or just a bit of a laugh (see ILoveTwitterLamp). This particular app is mostly in the first camp, but a little in the second.

Being a biker, I like to go for rides and explore the countryside a bit – have a look at a map and just pick a general direction to ride in. I’ll put my proper Garmin GPS in my bag as a “just-in-case” measure, but it’s definitely more fun not having some device doing all the navigation for you sometimes. Of course this all goes out the window when you have somewhere specific to be 🙂

Often it’s annoying to come back from a ride and realise you’re really not sure where that great little off-the-beaten-track section of road was, or maybe you can only remember the route again if you were riding it, rather than being able to skip a bit out and head straight to the good stuff. This led me to start developing a little tracking app I can set running on my phone that stores my GPS locations as I ride – and I can view the routes I’ve taken (See the red line in the image below, of a route being simulated in the iOS simulator).

TrackMe Prototype showing a polyline being rendered at the tracked coord points.

TrackMe Prototype showing a polyline being rendered at the tracked coord points.

Admittedly, I can view a large amount of my route history on my normal GPS device, but I can’t really do anything with that data, other than view a cruddy pink line on a cruddy little screen. I have tried getting the data off the SD card, but even the export menu is next to useless.

With this system I can track where I go and (ultimately) share this data via iCloud docs too I hope. This means I’ll be able to create some sort of “Desktop viewing app” for all the routes I save on my iPhone. Of course I’ll add tagging for points of interest and the like to the app too.

Addendum

You may be asking why I don’t just use my iPhone as my GPS unit on my motorbike. Simple answer: I live in the UK, Manchester no less. It rains here on the majority of days (I’m not kidding, see this post on the Guardian!) and I just don’t trust waterproof cases with my very expensive phone. I do however trust my specifically engineered Garmin Motorcycle GPS unit, that I’ve inadvertantly dropped-kicked across many a carpark, to do the job

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