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New toys for this trip!

Another key thing I'm doing different this time - more toys! Everyone enjoyed the GPS tracking via Blackberry last time, but it cut out often and chewed battery like crazy, and simply wasn't reliable for post-trip data analysis. If you know me, you know I'm a bit of a data freak - at the very least I love to have it, and I love to play with it.

So I decided I want more data this time. Thus, I've got some new toys and some new processes in place to make things interesting. These include:

Genie BGT-31 GPS Datalogging Device: This is basically the best personal GPS datalogger you can buy, with impressive accuracy and batter life. Every 1s for the entire trip, it will log my GPS position, altitude, heading, and speed. I can use this data for a much more detailed recording of my route and tie it in to geotag photos from the trip.

Canon PowerShot A590IS Digital Camera: I picked this up for $130 at Best Buy the other day. I already have a few cameras, but what makes this unique is that it's a fairly high quality but cheap Canon camera that is fully supported by the Canon Hackers Development Kit that includes image stabilization and runs on AA batteries (this is important, as I don't have time to hook it into my motorcycle's power). I've spent the last couple days learning the scripting language for CHDK and after a lot of testing have completed my own data capture program for this camera. It's primarily a intervalometer designed to capture images at set intervals to later be merged together for time-lapse, but it also includes some unique datalogging which logs the temperature measured by two different sensors (optical and battery compartment) at the time of the photo being taken. I also picked up a $5 mini-tripod which has been sturdily zip-tied to the front of the bike.

If all goes well (I've made a couple test runs where it has, but keeping my fingers crossed), I should have the following data for the entire trip:

- GPS location, speed, altitude and heading every 1s
- Forward facing photo every 30s
- Temperature every 30s

I've already done some proof of concept time lapse videos, but when I get home I'm planning on scripting a custom compilation to create a video of the entire trip as soon by the motorcycle which will include all of the above data displayed over time. In addition, I've looked at some google map programs which I should be able to use or slightly modify to produce a graphical route showing various datapoints along the trip as well.

Yes, it's pretty much as geeky as you can get but I'm quite looking forward to it and expect it to be great fun!


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