CruisingLog users Manual v4

CruisingLog has been primarily designed for boaters cruising the canals and rivers in the UK. However it can be used anywhere where a record of your boat movements on a daily basis would be useful.  

Boaters on the UK inland waterways are encouraged to keep a log of their boats movements in order to show that they are cruising in accordance with the provisions of the 1995 British Waterways Act and/or the provisions of their licensing terms.  I wrote Cruising Log to show that I move my boat on a regular basis. I find keeping a written log tedious, and rather difficult as I prefer to moor in the wilds rather than defined places, so I wrote CruisingLog to look after all the details for me.

The reporting is as accurate as the position reporting used by any other GPS system and could be invaluable should any dispute as to your movements arise.



Overview

Main functions

Log position with or without taking a photograph

Map shows markers where positions have been logged.

List shows date, direct distance, whether or not a photo was taken, and a short address.

Email shows date and time of position logged, the latitude and longitude and the level of accuracy of the position fix, the approximate OS grid reference (if in the UK) , the id of any photograph taken at the time and the address of the location.

Photographs show images of points that have been logged with a photograph.

Public Display shows up to 9 most recent positions you have logged from within a browser.



CruisingLog allows you to record your boats position. CruisingLog only keeps one position report per day, it is the last position recorded that will be kept.

For reporting purposes, if two or more consecutive days show less than about 80 metres of movement CruisingLog will consider that no change of place has occurred and ignore the subsequent entries. This is to keep the movement record as clear as possible. The exception to this is that: you record your boat's position on day 1. On a following day you record your position and take a photograph (using CruisingLog) then a second entry less that 80 metres from the first will show in the reporting functions.

 

The first time you start the app

When you first start CruisingLog it will ask you to fill in some basic information that it needs for it's reporting functions.



Screen “Basics”

Boat Name: The Name of your boat.

Index Number: Normally the number that identifies your boat to the Navigation Authority. It is not a required field, but will make life easier when communicating with said Navigation Authority. Any combination of numbers and letters may be used.

Default email: This is the email account that the Email function will use when sending emails, it can be overridden at the time of sending the email.

Miles/Km button: This is to show what distance unit will be used for reporting. Tap the button to change it. The unit shown will be used in reporting functions. It may be changed at any time.

Log/date button: This is to control the Public Display function (see below). “Log 0” means that Public Display is disabled, Log 1-9 will limit the Public Display to a maxim displayed entries shown. Date 1-9 indicates that the date and time the positions were recorded is also shown. Tap the button until the display you wish to use is showing. It may be changed at any time, but will only be activated the next time you log a position.

D/M/Y-M/D/Y Button: Allows you to chose the date format shown in reporting functions. Tap the button to change it. The value shown will be the one used in reporting. It may be changed at any time.

Internal identifier: This is simply an identifier used to make boat names unique for the Public Display function. It is simply the date and time your copy of Cruising Log was first activated. If 10 boats are called “Willow” it ensures that they will get the correct report. It cannot be changed by the user.

Store button: Use this to store the information displayed and exit the screen.

You may return to this screen from the main screen (shown right above).



Position logging and reporting

Main Screen

The main screen is used for logging and initiating all reporting functions except Public Display.

Logging

The GPS engine is initiated as soon as the main screen shows. When a reliable fix is obtained, the logging button will turn green and the fields for longitude, latitude place and accuracy will be filled in. The current accuracy is shown in metres. The accuracy of the fix should improve as more satellites are acquired. At any point, you can press the “Log position” button and the fix will be recorded.

If you are using the Public Display option CruisingLog will display that it is updating the database, followed by a confirmation that this is complete.

If your Android device has an SD card, or equivalent storage and a camera device (most have)  the opportunity to take a photograph will be offered. If you wish to do so press the “Photograph” button and you will be transferred to your Android device camera app. This could take a few moments. Obviously it is best to include your boat and recognisable scenery/architecture in the photo.

In the event that a very poor fix is obtained where the accuracy is greater than 100 metres the accuracy figure will show up in orange. You can still log that position but it might be better to get “line of sight” to more satellites to improve the accuracy.

In the event that your Android device has poor, or no reception of a telephone signal then one of the “address not available” messages may appear. There is nothing to be done. The GPS position will be recorded and is valid. If you are using the Public Display reporting you may well get a message that the website update failed. The next time you log position it will automatically correct the situation.

In the event that the “Place” information is in blue text rather than black, it means that the The Town component (if it exists) is a nearby town as you are not in an area designated as a town, the other information such as nearest road and postal code will be correct. The location recorded in the Email (see below) will be prefaced by a tilde(~) to indicate this.



Mapping

Mapping is intended to give you a quick visual overview of your movements

Mapping is simple and straightforward. Tap the “Map” button. You will then be asked to select a time period (unless you have already selected one from a previous reporting function). Select the appropriate time period and tap “Show Map”. Provided you have a telephone signal the appropriate Google static map will be displayed with your way-points.

List

List is a quick extract from the Android device's internal database showing date, direct distance, whether a photo has been taken (an asterisk) and the locality.

It uses a similar procedure to map. Tap the “List” button. You will then be asked to select a time period (unless you have already selected one from a previous reporting function). Select the appropriate time period and tap “Show List”.



Email

 

This is a detailed report of your movements over a given time period, an invaluable tool should you get into any form of dispute that relates to your movements .

Tap the “Email” button. You will then be asked to select a time period (unless you have already selected one from a previous reporting function). Select the appropriate time period. The email address shown can be changed at this time if required without affecting the default email. Then press “Send”. From this point your Android device's email handler will allow you to choose the email system that will send the email and start the sending process.

The email should be easily readable on your PC, but may not be perfectly aligned depending on the font you,or more correctly, your email client uses.

The approximate NGR (National Grid Reference) is only valid for the UK.  Outside of the UK it will show as zeros.



Photographs

Photos are a level of proof that what has been recorded when logging is indeed accurate. Be sure to include your boat and a bit of scenery or architecture that is unique. 

Technically CruisingLog will use the first available public storage area available in your Android device. This may either be the SD card or internal storage that substitutes for an SD card.

Depending on the version of Android, your device uses, will depend on how easy it will be to access the photos. Older Android systems using an sd card are very easy. Normally a USB connection to a PC works fine, or alternatively, remove the SD card and read it on the PC.

Later versions of Android hide the photos considering them private data rather than public images. Just about any android file manager will show them (download free from Google Play if you do not have one already installed).

In all cases the photos will be in a top level directory named com.gpslogs.cruisinglog.photos .



Public Display

The Public Display facility stores a small subset of your data on the GPSLOGS server. This can be called up in a browser and is useful for friends and relatives to visualise your travels. It has a special feature that if a single entry is available (Log 1 or Date 1 in Basics screen) the zoom level is increased on the map. This is useful for roving traders so that the public can easily find them (it can easily be linked into their own website).

 

 

The difference between “Log” and “Date” is that “Date” not only shows the position, but the date and time that the position was logged.

Log 0 means no logging and is the default. Log 1 to Log 9 shows up to that number of the most recent entries, whereas Date 1 to Date 9 the same as Log 1 to Log 9 including the date and time the positions were logged. You should consider the possible security issues before using “Date”.

This display is available to any member of the public and has no security. Do not use it if you think it poses a threat to your privacy.

To see the Public Display type the following into a browser:

www.gpslogs.com/cgi-bin/location.pl?id=Boat name-Internal identifier-index number. All are available in the Basics screen. An example would be:

www.gpslogs.com/cgi-bin/location.pl?id=willow-20150706011323-987654321  (example link only)

In the event that you have not entered an index number in the Basics screen it would be:

www.gpslogs.com/cgi-bin/location.pl?id=willow-20150706011323  (example link only) 

Overall considerations:

Using the reporting functions (Email, List and Map) will suspend logging, and restart it, if needed, when they finish. They can be used at any time.

Normally it is sensible to log your position before doing any reporting as reporting is always up to the current date, however if you are just showing the app to fellow boaters in the pub I advise against logging the position there. If you do log your position you can always log your position again when you return to your boat.

CruisingLog  needs an internet signal for Emailing, Mapping, updating the database and to get the place name. If you get "No address Available" as your location then you probably have not got a good internet connection. It is not very important as your actual position will still be logged. 

While the GPS location (Longitude, Latitude and accuracy) will always remain accurate, the components for making up the location name may not always be available. If you are cruising out in the wilds you may not, in fact, be close to anything recognised by Google. The “best attempt” will be made to produce a recognisable place name, however it may be very approximate.

It is recommended that you place Cruising Log on the home screen of your Android device, it makes registration so much quicker and easier.



Android considerations

In order to use your phones GPS it must be turned on. You will find this in your phone's settings. Settings>location>use GPS>satellites.

If you are using Android 6 you must activate the permissions manually, as required for all apps installed under Android 6, otherwise CruisingLog will not function. You will find these in settings/apps/CruisingLog/permissions. This will be changed to a prompting system at the next revision of CruisingLog.

 

Where do I get CruisingLog?

To download this app click on the button or, normally much easier, start the Google Play app on your Android device and search for "cruisinglog" 

 

Have fun with CruisingLog, and I hope that you enjoy using it.

John

Any questions or comments please email me at info@gpslogs.com