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Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Live tracking in Lofoten and Vesterålen

Last weekend, I had a great trip to scenic Lofoten and Vesterålen in Northern Norway. I brought my tracking gear to test my new real time travel map. How did it go?

Our first trip was to Trollfjord, a 2 km long fjord with a narrow entrance and steep-sided mountains. It's a famous tourist spot in the Lofoten archipelago, but not many leave the boat at the fjord's end to hike up to the Trollfjord hut.

The small Trollfjord hut.

Trollfjord goes in an east-west direction, and I expected to be in the "satellite shadow" being far north and having steep mountains blocking the sky towards the south. My good old Garmin GPSmap 60CSx did well in the rugged landscape, while my satellite SPOT messenger had some difficulties finding and sending positions. 

Live track from my SPOT messenger (interactive map).

GPS track from my Garmin GPS.

The great thing of using CartoDB to sync my SPOT-data, is that you can edit your positions with ease after the trip. 

Tip! The default basemaps in CartoDB are not very detailed for Norwegian mountains, but you can easily add a basemap (Topo2) from the Norwegian Mapping Authority ("Kartverket") with this URL: 

http://opencache.statkart.no/gatekeeper/gk/gk.open_gmaps?layers=topo2&zoom={z}&x={x}&y={y}

Changing the basemap of CartoDB.  


It's then easy to edit or delete the wrong positions:


Be aware! I was struggling editing my CartoDB-tables from my smartphone, but it was not possible to edit the content of table cells. Hopefully, the CartoDB team will make their editor more mobile friendly in the future. 


Another issue was to get the correct time and position of Instagram photos on the map. Trollfjord is an area with poor mobile coverage. When I took photos with the Instagram app it was struggling placing the photos on the map. It worked better if I took the photos the the built-in camera app of my phone (with geotagging activated) and then posting the photo with the Instagram app. 


If I didn't have mobile coverage, I would just retry posting the photo when back to civilisation. The time associated with the image is when it was sent and not taken. I'm going to check if I can extract the shooting time from the Exif headers of the image.

Our second trip went through Møysalen national park, one of very few national parks in Norway that goes all the way down to sea level. 

Møysalen national park

Here we went in a south-north direction, and my SPOT messenger did better as there was less mountains blocking the satellites. 

Map and elevation profile of a 2-day hike through Møysalen national park (interactive map).  

The web service from the Norwegian Mapping Authority ("Kartverket") seemed to have some technical troubles this weekend, so the altitude values and place names was not updated instantly. When the web service was failing my script stopped and the weather report from yr.no was not fetched either. I'm going to improve the error handling before my next trip. 

I also took a lot of photos with my compact camera while trekking, and I would like to show these on the map as well. My camera don't have a GPS receiver, but I should be able to geotag my photos by using my GPS track. It will be the topic of my next blog post. In the meanwhile, here are some of the photos: 

Hurtigruta in Trollfjord

Trollfjord by night

Cloudberries

Trollfjordtindan.

Seagull

Seagulls

Sea eagle in Raftsundet.

Durmålstindan

Tverrelvtindan

Cold and fresh bath at Snytindhytta.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's really cool Bjorn, I like the responsive interface. Are these awesome bits and pieces being released on github? Have a few hikes I've done with my new gps camera I'd like to post somewhere.

Great work on the 3D stuff too