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  1. #1
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    The Bike Computer on iPhone 3G

    I work for GlobalMotion Media, Inc, a Palo Alto startup dedicated to GPS-powered travel blogging, or in somewhat more widely understood terms, telling stories with maps. Our main website, www.everytrail.com, and our mobile phone apps are free, so having declared myself an employee and not offering anything for sale, I hope I am living within the letter and the spirit of BikeForum's rules and regulations.

    About 5 weeks ago, we introduced a new cyclocomputer for the iPhone 3G. Unlike most bike computers, this one is a gps-logger, so through the cellular or WiFi networks, your route is uploaded to and can be shared from our website, www.everytrail.com. The computer itself is a simple single screen design, showing key statistics in large, easy to read font. Like any consumer device, it won't satisfy everyone. We designed it to be beautiful, easy to use, to have the bare minimum of functionality, to get people interested in the idea and to solicit user feedback about the requirements for a more fully featured version.

    EveryTrail is a travel blogging site, offering the world's best integration of maps, photos and stories, for example http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=74576 This phone application doesn't take advantage of the iPhone's camera, but our site allows you to upload other photographs and it automatically places them along the track where you've taken them; the geotagging is done by us on the site, not by you with your gear. If you want this feature integrated into the phone, then for now you'll have to use another iPhone app, called EveryTrail; ET will soon be available for Android and Blackberry, too.

    We look forward to your feedback about this.

    Dan
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Dropping my iPhone while cranking along at 18 mph could
    put a serious hole in my budget...

    Jerry

  3. #3
    Senior Member embankmentlb's Avatar
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    Please excuse my ignorance in regards to electronics. I have a i-phone more than a year old that runs system 2.2. Am i a G3? Will it work?

  4. #4
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    if your iphone is more than about 6 months old it is not a 3G model. But many apps will run on either.

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    I used this on a ride today, pulling it out periodically to compare w/my Polar CS200. My max speed was off 5 MPH than the polar but the distance seemed nearly spot on. Couldn't tell you actual speed as my phone was in my saddle bag.

  6. #6
    Scott n4zou's Avatar
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    You might want to adapt VeloAce software for it.
    http://www.engbedded.com/veloace
    It's open source for the Palm PDA so you may be able to port it to the iphone. I use an old Palm IIIx with it. I use a sync cable with a DB-9 connector with an old bike computer sensor connected to pins 3 and 8. There is also a simple IrDA circuit that can be built making it a wireless setup or a standard Bluetooth interface circuit available from Mouser.com should also work with a few more lines of programming. Cadance as well as Heart rate should be doable via bluetooth as well. Here is a photo of my old Palm, sync cable, and sensor cable I use as a bike computer.
    Last edited by n4zou; 01-03-09 at 07:18 PM.
    [SIGPIC]http://www.bikeforums.net/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=57360&dateline=1197386754[/SIGPIC]
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  7. #7
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Interesting apps.

    For me, though, I can't say that they'd work. I usually ride with full-finger gloves (it's either cold enough that I need the insulation, or it's hot enough and even my fingers get sweaty), and the iPhone's screen only responds to flesh-on-glass contact. I'd also have to get the iPhone mounted somehow, and that'll take up a lot of bar space; maybe there's a stem mount that could work. Keeping it in my pocket like I usually do would defeat the purpose of a computer/speedometer since I wouldn't be able to see it.

    But what they hey, you've released them for free, so I'll give 'em a shot.

  8. #8
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    I would keep my phone in my pocket the whole time and work off the cyclometer I have on my bike, so I would get no use out of the cyclometer features. However, I think uploading the route afterward could make it worth a download.
    Last edited by Karenjack241; 01-04-09 at 07:31 AM.

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    Metric only

    Hi all

    I had a go with it but it's metric only so utterly useless when you are 10 miles away from your target going at 50 KMPH i want to pedal not do mental arithmetic. Imperial units are a must for the UK and of course US.


    Jon

    how come a US company does KMs?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by gus. View Post
    I used this on a ride today, pulling it out periodically to compare w/my Polar CS200. My max speed was off 5 MPH than the polar but the distance seemed nearly spot on. Couldn't tell you actual speed as my phone was in my saddle bag.
    The speed we post comes directly from the iPhone's "location manager". I'm surprised that it's 5mph off, but an on-wheel magnetic speedometer pickup samples at 5 samples/sec at 30 mph, whereas the GPS is sampling at less than 1 sample/sec. So, you're going to get much better "responsiveness" from the on-wheel system.

    There are alternatives, such as computing the speed from "distance over time". Noise in the data stream from the GPS can create excessively high, false maximum speeds. We elected not to use that method for that reason. If user feedback is consistent on this matter, we'll look into it again.

    Thanks for your comment.

    Dan

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BarracksSi View Post
    Interesting apps.

    For me, though, I can't say that they'd work. I usually ride with full-finger gloves (it's either cold enough that I need the insulation, or it's hot enough and even my fingers get sweaty), and the iPhone's screen only responds to flesh-on-glass contact. I'd also have to get the iPhone mounted somehow, and that'll take up a lot of bar space; maybe there's a stem mount that could work. Keeping it in my pocket like I usually do would defeat the purpose of a computer/speedometer since I wouldn't be able to see it.

    But what they hey, you've released them for free, so I'll give 'em a shot.
    I can't argue with your observations. This device is not for everyone. We do think a lot of our users will be people who cycle but who are not cycling enthusiasts. They may be happy to put it in their pocket. Also, because this is in landscape, it is particularly well suited to handlebar mount. We have a good design, but haven't yet put that into manufacture.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karenjack241 View Post
    I would keep my phone in my pocket the whole time and work off the cyclometer I have on my bike, so I would get no use out of the cyclometer features. However, I think uploading the route afterward could make it worth a download.
    We hope you will like the route upload. Our site, www.everytrail.com, is the leading online community of its kind. Over 41,000 trips have been created, and our growth is at an all time time. We have unique photo geotagging capability, so your digital photos (from a phone or other camera) will be automatically attached to the spot on the map where they were taken. We didn't enable the iPhone camera in this application because we wanted the simplest possible configuration. We'll probably put it in later, but we're waiting for Apple to make some fixes to the OS. If you do need the camera for this purpose, try our other application, EveryTrail, also free.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Lewis View Post
    Hi all

    I had a go with it but it's metric only so utterly useless when you are 10 miles away from your target going at 50 KMPH i want to pedal not do mental arithmetic. Imperial units are a must for the UK and of course US.


    Jon

    how come a US company does KMs?
    Jon, I'm sorry you're disappointed, but thanks for the feedback. We chose to let the iPhone do a conversion (from m/sec from the GPS unit) based on the carrier's units. In your case, they settled on metric. For me here in the US, I'm in English. For my friends in Amsterdam, I know they're getting metric. We didn't think about what might happen in England. In subsequent releases, we'll consider letting the user select units and override the carrier. Thanks, Dan

  14. #14
    Roll Tide
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    Is this only for the iPhone with GPS? How well --if at all-- will it run on the Touch?

  15. #15
    Non-Spandex Commuter jdmitch's Avatar
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    I don't have an iPhone 3g (YET) but in concept this is a pretty cool app. I'll definitely flag this for later use. Oh, and I have to agree this screams for a handlebar mount... actually I was thinking a stem or top-tube mount would be best, unless said mount sticks 'out' from the handlebars to keep from infringing too much on available hand placements.

  16. #16
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimothyF View Post
    Is this only for the iPhone with GPS? How well --if at all-- will it run on the Touch?
    Since it needs GPS (and at least some cell tower triangulation, which the 3G iPhone uses alongside its GPS), then no, it won't work on an iPod Touch.

  17. #17
    NFL Owner monogodo's Avatar
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    Tried using this tonight, but it wouldn't connect with the GPS satellites, so I switched to iMapMyRide, which connected nearly instantly.
    198? Colnago Super (Campy Record) | 1989 Eddy Merckx 7-Eleven Team Issue (Dura Ace) | Catamount MFS (1x8) | Top Image Neptune (SS)

  18. #18
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    Could you tell me whether you tried once, or multiple times, with The Bike Computer?

    Thanks,
    Dan

  19. #19
    Senior Member stric's Avatar
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    I've had numerous opportunities to use some of the applications for the latest iPhone 3g, in particular the cycling/mapping computers and I have to say that they are very disappointing in most cases.
    I believe that the problem is not necessarily with the computer software but the iPhone itself. Since the GPS on iPhone is not that great the quality of "GPS" signal is spotty at best, and if one is moving fast enough it can be noticed. Namely, the triangulation that iPhone uses is not the best and tracking applications tend to fail miserably. Recently, one of the apps I was using while cycling to work indicated my maximum speed of 703mph. Impressive, eh?
    anima sana in corpore sano

  20. #20
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    703 mph on a bike

    Stric,

    I hope you did not get 703mph with our device, but I will be interested to know if you did. I believe I can explain why you got such a number with some other devices. If would be happy to have a private conversation with you about that if you would contact me at dan AT globalmotion DOT com.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  21. #21
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    On NOT getting a GPS lock

    Dear Monogodo,

    I won't speculate on what is happening with iMapMyRide, but I can tell you something about the choices made in The Bike Computer app.

    The phone gives a location update immediately, the last known location, maybe one from several minutes earlier. We choose to ignore it until we get a fresh update with known time. Depending on signal strength, that fresh update might be a long time coming. In fact, the time to a next update is dependent not just on signal strength, but also on positional accuracy thresholds set by the developer. Another developer may use a looser threshold, and therefore get a "lock" sooner than we do. We've decided to favor positional accuracy over "time to lock". We would appreciate your input on this.

    Thanks,
    Dan

  22. #22
    NFL Owner monogodo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlvlvr View Post
    Could you tell me whether you tried once, or multiple times, with The Bike Computer?

    Thanks,
    Dan
    Quote Originally Posted by mlvlvr View Post
    Dear Monogodo,

    I won't speculate on what is happening with iMapMyRide, but I can tell you something about the choices made in The Bike Computer app.

    The phone gives a location update immediately, the last known location, maybe one from several minutes earlier. We choose to ignore it until we get a fresh update with known time. Depending on signal strength, that fresh update might be a long time coming. In fact, the time to a next update is dependent not just on signal strength, but also on positional accuracy thresholds set by the developer. Another developer may use a looser threshold, and therefore get a "lock" sooner than we do. We've decided to favor positional accuracy over "time to lock". We would appreciate your input on this.

    Thanks,
    Dan
    1. I haven't given up on The Bike Computer app just yet. Just because I couldn't get it to work that once isn't reason enough for me to delete it.

    2. I live in Downtown Dallas, in a 33-story building. There are other tall buildings in the area. There is, however, a small park just outside my building. Last night I went down to ride, and went into the park where I had fairly clear line of sight to the sky. I powered up The Bike Computer and waited for the Finding Location notification to finish finding my location. I waited a couple minutes & gave up. When I switched to iMapMyRide, it found my location with a good quality signal within 30-45 seconds.

    3. I just now powered it up (so that I could tell you the exact message I was getting), and it did find a signal. This is odd because I work in the basement of a building. It keeps alternating between Tracking, Poor Signal, and Finding Location. I clicked Start, and the stopwatch started, then it said I was going 24mph, and that I'd gone 0.1 miles. This is odd because I'm not moving (although I was waving the phone back & forth a little bit, but surely not at 24mph). I'll give it another shot the next time I ride.
    198? Colnago Super (Campy Record) | 1989 Eddy Merckx 7-Eleven Team Issue (Dura Ace) | Catamount MFS (1x8) | Top Image Neptune (SS)

  23. #23
    It's ALL base... DScott's Avatar
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    Thanks for putting this out there for us! I love the idea, it would simplify the "stuff" we have to deal with when riding.

    However, fwiw, I used the mapmyride application recently and was astounded at how fast the battery was chewed up. After about two hours of use just tracking a 20 mile climbing ride, it was almost entirely drained. My rides typically last at least two hours, often more, and a functioning bike computer has to last longer than two hours.

    I'm downloading this one, and hope to see an improvement in this area. It should be interesting!

  24. #24
    NFL Owner monogodo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DScott View Post
    Thanks for putting this out there for us! I love the idea, it would simplify the "stuff" we have to deal with when riding.

    However, fwiw, I used the mapmyride application recently and was astounded at how fast the battery was chewed up. After about two hours of use just tracking a 20 mile climbing ride, it was almost entirely drained. My rides typically last at least two hours, often more, and a functioning bike computer has to last longer than two hours.

    I'm downloading this one, and hope to see an improvement in this area. It should be interesting!
    Yeah, I have also noticed that battery life suffers when running iMapMyRide. I think it's more a function of the GPS than the software itself. I also make sure to turn off WiFi and to have a full charge before I head out, and I don't use the iPod feature.
    198? Colnago Super (Campy Record) | 1989 Eddy Merckx 7-Eleven Team Issue (Dura Ace) | Catamount MFS (1x8) | Top Image Neptune (SS)

  25. #25
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    FWIW, I just noticed that Marware has a handlebar mount for the iPhone while it's clipped into their Sidewinder case. Haven't seen it in person, though, but I think it'll rotate to landscape view.

    http://www.marware.com/Bundles/biker...m_medium=email

    http://www.marware.com/PRODUCTS/Case...es/Bike-Holder

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