MrGPS for Symbian offers super-detailed GPS logging

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We've had a fair number of GPS-related utilities over the years, offering to keep us company on outdoor activities and log our progress, but these usually err on the side of cosmetics, at the expense of customisability. If you want really hard core location logging, with every single parameter reported, multi format tracks recorded - and absolutely zero effort expended to deliver eye candy, then MrGPS is the application to go for. Screen and comments below...

From the Nokia Store description:

MrGPS is the ultimate GPS tracking and real time statistics tool for sport professionals. With MrGPS you get a high-performance, compact, robust, comprehensive application which logs GPX tracks and provides 60+ statistical data with voice support and with 240+ configuration settings. Speech capabilities allow hands-free assistance while you are fully focused in sport activities requiring physical and mental concentration in optimal performance.

Intriguingly, the developer also notes:

MrGPS also works in case the mobile phone is dedicated to tracking, even without a SIM. The support of Symbian phones allows sport professionals to select lightweight mobile devices also starting from the cheapest or old ones and dedicate them to long running tracking and real time support, without the risk to damage new and very expensive smartphones or tablets while making sport.

The technical implementation of MrGPS allows consistency even if the mobile phone is accidentally switched off and on, or in case of need to change the phone battery. Allowing the user to bring additional batteries provides longer continuity for days of uninterrupted service, useful for instance when hiking or sailing. As MrGPS is a native and compact Symbian application designed for low memory and limited resource consumption, it easily supports concurrent navigation applications providing complementary assistance on mapping, directions and business POIs. MrGPS will not stop in case phone calls are placed or received, or in case other applications (like mapping tools) are concurrently executed.

MrGPS has specialized functionalities to monitor and report altitudes via visible and voice based alerts. It can manage uphill and downhill directions and provides real-time information of achieved quotes, limiting prompting to effective data. Considering that generally a GPS device might not be as accurate with elevation data as for horizontal coordinates, MrGPS is able to automatically discard unreliable values and, through an advanced proprietary algorithm, it can report percentages of slope with reliable figures, for instance useful while cycling.

MrGPS has many corollary functions, like automatic time GPS sync, also supported through advanced settings, and a configurable voice clock, where you can define different volume settings for different time periods. It also provides an Astronomic Calendar, with ephemerides of sun and moon, as well as a system information tool providing detailed information of the mobile device.

MrGPS has been accurately tested and tuned with many Symbian devices and supports Nokia Belle Feature Pack 2, Nokia Belle Feature Pack 1, Nokia Belle Refresh, Nokia Belle, Symbian Anna, Symbian^3, S60 5th Edition, S60 3rd Edition FP2, S60 3rd Edition FP1 and even S60 3rd Edition.

You get the idea - that's a LOT of functionality and, below, I can only claim to have exercised a small fraction of it. Still, it'll give you an idea of the interface and reporting.

Here's MrGPS in action on a short walk round my neighbourhood:

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GPS logging can be set to output in raw NMEA, GPX or KML formats - your analysis software on your PC or online will accept at least one of these (as shown below); (right) there are plenty of heavy duty configuration options, though 99% of users will be fine with the defaults.

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Starting logging (I chose KML in the end, because I wanted to try the output against Google Earth); (right) as you walk/cycle etc., your position, altitude, distance travelled (etc.) are reported, live. Note the toolbar buttons - in particular the 'pause' control. When you're out logging exercise and you have to stop to talk to someone, it can be annoying to see all your speed averages go to pot. Use 'pause' here and everything's put on hold while you're stationary.

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There's a pop-up display of speed, but it's not entirely clear when this gets generated. I found tapping the screen once the display had auto-dimmed worked - sometimes; (right) the 'Statistics' tool on the toolbar will give you the tiny-fonted information above. 

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Similar information is available via the menus, e.g. to show detailed GPS status (derived from the NMEA strings); (right) there's also a selection of barebones graphical displays. This one shows the GPS satellites which are visible and locked.

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There are other graphical displays, but I can only assume that the developer only tested with one particular theme, since labels definitely seem to be missing here; (right) the Help text gives lie to MrGPS's S60 origins, with keypad/keyboard shortcuts...

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The Configuration menus are nested two deep and contain (literally) hundreds of possible settings and tweaks - there's a very high learning curve here if you want to get the absolute most from the application.....

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Log files appear in c:/data/others/MrGPS - I took the .kml file generated above and opened it directly in Google Earth, with stunning success above. The numbers are individual GPS NMEA data point numbers.

I did mention above that no effort had been made in presentation here - you'll have seen the font in some of the screens above. Even the main displays are too small to be seen on a phone while fast walking or jogging - I do think the developer should have a large font 'live' display in addition to the detailed ones above, plus a screen saver plug-in (as we saw on MeeRun) would work well.

Of special note is, as quoted from the developer, the binary here will run on just about any Symbian phone in any form factor. You can buy MrGPS for £6 in the Nokia Store here. Yes, £6 is expensive by modern standards, but I'd argue (as someone who sold shareware apps for £12 a decade ago) that the modern standards are what's wrong. MrGPS is a very, very niche application - and if you need it then I'm sure you'll be happy enough to pay for it - compared to your other cycling/hiking/geocaching costs, I'd argue that £6 is quite reasonable for a lifetime of location logging.

Source / Credit: Nokia Store