Idea: Android GPS logger with auto-start feature

I’m active user and contributor of the Openstretmap project. One of the major ways to help the project is to collect and upload GPS traces. These can then be used to draw and tag map features. Logs can be collected with almost any device that has GPS chip in it.

I’ve started market research for a low-maintenance GPS logger a few times. By “low-maintenance” I mean something that could be kept in car, would automatically start and stop logging as needed, and would keep itself charged from car battery. Essentially, I want a device that is always around and does its thing, and then once a month or so I’d just dump the data to PC and process it further. The market research hasn’t been going well so far… There’s a huge list of devices on OSM wiki, dedicated loggers, dongles, PDAs, smartphones, navigators. Almost none of them do the “auto-start” thing. Most are restricted on memory and battery. Some are pricey and some are not sold any more.

Then there’s my Nexus One: tons of memory, always with me, when in car I often have it in phone holder, car charger plugged in, navigation app wide open. Also, there’s already a dozen of existing Android apps for GPS logging. The only missing thing is the auto-start feature. Maybe I could hack it together myself? Piggy-back on some existing open-source GPS logger app, and make it start logging on specific condition like:

  • phone is docked in car dock
  • phone is connected to BT car audio
  • phone is connected to USB charger, and accelerometers indicate vibration for a minute or so (my case–don’t have official car dock, don’t have fancy car audio either)

I’m currently looking into GPS Logger for Android, the code looks nice and clean, and is GPLv2.

Not sure if I’ll jump onto this project, I’ve got enough half-finished projects as-is, but, well, we’ll see 🙂


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