Saturday, July 19, 2014

Getting started with the Canmore GP-102+ GPS

Here is a set of quick instructions to get started with the Canmore G-Porter GP-102+ GPS for speedsurfing, all the way to posting data to the GPS Team Challenge.

1. Read the user manual
Using the GP102 is pretty straightforward. It has two buttons at the button for navigation which allow you to access all the functions. Still, it worth to download the user manual from here, and spending 5 or 10 minutes reading it.

2. Setup the GP-102
The device comes with enough battery charge so that you can use it right away. The first time you switch it on, you'll have to put it outside for a few minutes so that it can see which GPS satellites are in view. Just put it outside where it has a clear view of the sky, and leave it there for 10-15 minutes.

The only other thing you have to do is change the log rate. By default, the GP102 logs every five seconds. You need to change this so that it logs every seconds. The user manual explains how to change settings.

3. Gather some data
To make sure we have something to play with in the next step, switch the unit on, turn logging on (I usually use the biking or running mode, but I don't think it makes a difference what you choose), and walk, bike, or drive around for a few minutes. Then, switch the unit back off.
Please note that the GP102 is not waterproof! Several users (myself included) had units break after minimal water exposure. This can happen even inside a water-proof bag if just a little bit of water gets inside the bag. I strongly recommend to double-bag the GP102: put it inside a zip lock bag, and then inside a waterproof armband.

4. Install the Canmore GPS software
Update 8-31-2014: 
Steps 4-7 are now optional, since ka72.com has recently added support to read Canmore GP102+ files directly. The newest version of GPSResults can also read .fit files.
There are several ways to get the data off the device and ready to be analyzed, but the easiest way is to use the Canmore software. It's Windows-only, but in my tests, it worked perfectly fine on OS X with Parallels and Windows 7.
Download the installer from the "Datalogger software" installer from the download section on the Canmore web site, and run it. When asked, install the USB driver, too. When you run the "CanWay" software the first time, it will ask you your name, birthday, weight, etc. Enter it, or just use whatever the defaults are, it does not matter.

5. Download the GPS tracks onto the computer
Start the "CanWay" software you just installed. Connect the GP-102 to the computer with a standard USB cable (included in the box the unit comes in), and switch the GP102 on. After a few seconds, it should show a cable icon on the display, and Windows should mount the data logger as a regular USB disk.
In the CanWay software, go to the "Logger" menu, and select "Download Trip" (or choose the "Download Trip" icon in the toolbar). That will open a dialog that shows you the trips on the GP102 (every time you turn the unit on and start logging, it starts a new trip). Select the trip(s) you want, and download them.
The Canmore software seems to have a bug which sometimes causes the import to fail. I have seen this problem on Windows 98, and a friend has also reported the same issue on with a Windows7 computer.

6. Check your trips in the CanWay software
The CanWay software lets you look at an overlay of your tracks onto Google maps, see your speed over time, and gives you a basic summary (top speed, average speed, total time and distance). It's nice to get a first glance at your data, but it does not give you all the information you need for posting to the GPS web sites. For, that, you need to..

7. Export your trip as a GPX file
Select the trip you want to analyze further, go to the "File" menu, and choose "Export" => "GPX" (or use the "Export to GPS" icon in the toolbar). Save the file to a location where you will find it again, for example your desktop.

8. Upload your trip to ka72.com
The simplest way to get the speeds you need for posting to the GPS Team Challenge site is by uploading the data file to ka72.com. The site now supports the Canmore "fit" file format. Simply connect the GP102 to your computer; after a few seconds, a new "Canmore" USB drive should show up. The data files are in the "Activities" folder in this drive, and can be uploaded directly. Alternatively, you can upload files in GPX format created from the Canmore software or with GPSBabel.
After uploading, the ka72.com site will automatically analyze the data, and show you your top speed, 5x10 second average, 1 hour, alpha 500, etc. speeds - everything you need to enter your trip on the GPS Team Challenge Site. 

9. Post your data to the GPS Team Challenge
Near the bottom of the results page from the previous step, there should be a button "Post to the GPSTC website". Click it, and the data will be automatically entered on the GPS Team Challenge web site. You may need to log in first, however, and you'll have to press the "Post" button on the GPSTC web page. You may want to enter some information about the session in the "Comments" section first, though - it's always nice to be able to see what gear others were sailing, and what the conditions were.

That's it. You're done. Next time, you can start at step 5, so things will go faster. The instructions above are just one way of doing this, but it's the easiest way. If you want to have a closer look at your data, you can use software like GPS Action Replay Pro or GPSResults.  I like GPS Action Replay a lot, for example to analyze jibes. But I'm a geek. Both programs run on Windows and OS X (GPS Action Replay is Java-based, so it should run on Linux, too).

If you are a Mac user without access to Windows, you will need to do a couple of things differently. You can connect the GP102 to your Mac with a USB cable, and the device will show up as an external drive, making it easy to copy the data files from the unit. However, the files are in ".fit" format, which some GPS analysis software versions cannot read (but ka72.com and GPSResults can!). If you want to use GPS Action Replay to analyze your data, you'll have to get the current version of GPSBabel, and use it to convert the .fit file to a file format that can be read. As the format of the input file, you'll need to choose "Flexible and Interoperable Data Transfer (FIT) Activity file". For the output file, I suggest that you use "GPS XML" as the format - that seems to work well.
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If you are German and therefore (or for other reasons) feel obligated to play strictly by the rules, you'll have to omit step 9. That's because right now (July 19, 2014), the GP-102+ is not in the list of "valid" GPS devices for the GPS Team Challenge. However, I have demonstrated in previous posts that the GP-102+ appears to be at least as accurate as the official "best" GPS, the GT-31 (which has been discontinued by the manufacturer). The GP-102+ is clearly more accurate than many of the older GPS units that are still on the "approved" list. I hope that he GPS Team Challenge Technical Advisors will soon add the GP-102+ to the list of "approved" GPS units.

16 comments:

  1. A small correction: GPS-Results is available for Macintosh in a Mac. specific version, and it is very good indeed! :-)

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    1. Thanks for the correction. I fixed it in the blog post. Yes, the OS X version of GPSResults works fine. I occasionally use it, for example to read files that GPS Action Replay has problems with.

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  2. Thanks for the info! A bunch of the local sailors have bought the unit andwill be using it at our speed event

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  3. See step 5.
    The Canway bug (ver. 1.1.11 and 1.1.10) causes a Windows Forms Error in Windows XP and Windows Vista.
    There is a fix?

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    1. I don't know about a fix. The workaround is to use GPSBabel to convert the files, or to use GPSResults or ka72.com to analyze the files directly.

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    2. Try out the following:
      http://notizen.netzjahre.com/2016/10/canway-planner-fehlermeldung-zu-pois-im-gp-102/
      Look at "In German Pidgin English"

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  4. Im considering buying a Canmore GP-102+, but am curious as to if your were able to get HDoP and num sats into gpsresults via the .fit format. If thats the case, i guess the GP-102+ is a real contender to GT-31 or?

    Thanks for a Great GPS resource :-)

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    1. The .fit format does not include any precision data, nor does it include the number of satellites. You can see what satellites it is tracking when you use it, and I usually get a couple of satellites more than with the GT-31.

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    2. Ok, thank you for the info. So there is no real documentation behind the achieved speeds - other than me trying to convince my surfbuddys that its genuine.

      Very exciting to see what flysight and or Roo comes up with or if canmore are willing to expand their format to also include precision data..

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    3. Quite a number of people have done comparisons of the GT-31 and the Canmore, and gotten basically the same results. The Canmore is definitely more accurate than the GT-31 when the GT-31 is used in "power saving" mode (which is allowed on the GPS web sites). Since the Sirf4 chip tracks more satellites than the Sirf3, it will be quite rare that the data are based on 5 or fewer satellites, if it ever happens while above the water outdoors.

      I don't think accuracy is an issue with the Canmore, unless you go for records. Feedback on the water is a different issue - all you get is current speed and top speed, and the small screen makes the numbers hard to read.

      As far as I can tell, the Flysight development for speedsurfing is dead. Roo has played a big role in the GT-31 development, but I'd be surprised if whatever he does results in something you can buy (unless he works with Locosys on their new model).

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  5. Hi BoardSurfer,
    After reading your blog I decided to buy a G- Porter 102 (had my GT31 stolen). Now, it is working, and I have a few files, but, the problem is that I have a Mac Pro, and cannot open the .fit files, have GPSresults installed, but it cannot open the .fit files. How can I solve this problem? Can you help me? Best wishes, Robson

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    1. Robson, your version of GPSResults is probably old. Simply update to the newest version, it can read .fit files on Mac and Windows.

      If you want to use GPS Action Replay, you need to convert the .fit files with GPSBabel, as I described towards the end of the post.

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  6. Hi ,
    I see be default the selfAGPS is on, but there is also a the option of ticking on the differential AGPS.
    Should I leave as is or is there any point in turning both on ? Your advice would be much appreciated.
    Many thanks
    Neil

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    1. Hi Neil, I never changed these options, so I don't know if they make any difference. Let me know if you find out something!

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    2. Think I'll probably leave well alone for now then unless someone advises otherwise
      Thanks,
      Neil

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