Android + gps + OziExplorer

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 10:21
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Hi All,

I'm looking at combining a 10" Android tablet with a USB GPS with the Android OziExplorer. Got all the bits, but it isn't coming together.

Checked on the Yahoo Ozi user's forum and discovered that an Android tablet isn't capable of accepting a USB GPS. Checked with Des (Ozi's creator) who confirmed that to the best of his knowledge it simply can't be done.

I can usually blunder my way through Windows stuff, but Android is way outside my experience. I've got Ozi installed and it looks excellent, but I need to interface with a gps.

Questions -

There have been posts here reporting success with Android implementations, but has anyone managed to get Ozi to talk to a USB connected GPS? If so - how????

What type of setups have been found to work? Internal GPS? Bluetooth GPS?

Help please!

Cheers

John
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Reply By: Mr Pointyhead - Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 10:44

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 10:44
As far as I could find out the nature of the implementation of the USB drivers in the Android prevents usb devices like GPS's from working. These are USB devices the provide a stream of data rather than something that has a filesystem like a flash drive.

However, I have manged to get Ozi working on a 10" android tablet with a Bluetooth GPS. Only extra you need is the android app "Bluetooth GPS Provider" by mobile-j.de.

The combination works very well. The Tablet I am using (Lenovo Thinkpad) also support a 64GB SD card which provids heaps of room for maps as well.

For mounting in the vehicle I use a RAM mount.

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 11:14

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 11:14
Thank you - The Android driver limitation was alluded to by Des too. If the usb drivers are the issue, then I wouldn't expect to resolve anything by using a bluetooth dongle on the usb port. I note that your Thinkpad comes with bluetooth capability.

Starting to think I may have bought a very nice ebook reader!

Cheers

John
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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 13:05

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 13:05
John
I've been running Ozi on an Aldi 10" Android tablet successfully for some time now, it does have an internal GPS though which doesn't help you.
I know of someone using an Android tablet with a bluetooth GPS successfully but have no idea what brand or type it is. From memory the actual tablet didn't have bluetooth but he managed to get it working with a dongle.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 14:32

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 14:32
Hi Peter,

Thank you. The key seems to be to use a tablet with an inbuilt gps. Getting the right combination of features seems very hard! 3G, GPS, 4:3 ratio screen, XGA or better, WiFi, Bluetooth, support for extra storage, rugged, inexpensive........ Looks like I didn't get the combination right!

I'd be very interested to hear of anyone installing a USB bluetooth dongle on an Android device. Hundreds available on ebay for windows and with windows drivers, but none mention Android.

I have been using a HP TC1100 windows tablet and I can see that will continue. With the same sized screen it weighs twice as much as the Android one and is pretty tired by today's standards. But it works and is well proven on corrugations. Another case of "If it's not broke, don't fix it!"

Cheers

John
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Reply By: TerraFirma - Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 13:10

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 13:10
GPS Enabled Android Tablets

Probably not what you had in mind, but I know a lot of people have been caught out buying tablets that did not come with GPS functionality. I use an Ipad 3G which off course comes with GPS and I use Memory Map although I am not a serious off roader so I know everybody prefers OZE. I bought the Ipad because it supported some neat marine chart applications along with other navigational aids. It has been a tool I couldn't live without. If you have to have an Android based device there are tablets that include GPS, perhaps you could on-sell your device and buy one of these.

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 14:42

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 14:42
Thanks TerraFirma. A useful link. I'm firmly attached to Ozi, so though I've no doubt the Ipad is good gear, I don't want to go up that path. As I mentioned above, I can see myself staying with my nice working windows based system.

Hopefully others can learn from my experience - don't make windows based assumptions about Android!

Cheers

John
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Reply By: Member - Minty (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 17:55

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 17:55
Hi John
I have a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, Tel$tra tablet and two android phones...all with built in GPS. These all run OziExplorer without any issues. The combination of features on tablets can be frustrating but not as frustrating as owning an iPad.
I have a Bluetooth GPS which I use with my laptop...this may be the way to go. I am surprised the tablet does not have a built in GPS.
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 21:08

Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012 at 21:08
Thanks Minty,

Looks like the answer is to have an internal gps. I deliberately avoided that so as to use an externally mounted one installed on top of the vehicle.

Still, it makes a nice browser! (I'm using it to type this). Nice ebook reader, games machine, etc. In fact just about anything except a gps!

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo. (River Rina) - Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 08:15

Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 08:15
Hello Minty, I have just bought a Galaxy tab 8.9 with inbuilt gps, can it run a moving map with ozi? thanks
"the only thing constant in my life is change"




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Follow Up By: Member - Minty (SA) - Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 13:33

Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 13:33
Hi dingo

I have the Galaxy 10.1, the kids bought it for me for my birthday, and I'm very happy with it. It does run OziExplorer very well. I think you can down load the trail Android version from here. (http://www.oziexplorer3.com/android/oziexplorer_android.html)
If you like it $25 is good value IMHO.

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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 18:25

Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 18:25
John the issue you are facing is that Android does not support USB host mode until version 3.1 ( google "android 3.1 USB host support").

This is what USB GPS devices are expecting to connect to, like a PC.

Depending on your Tablet you may be able to upgrade to 3.1, look at the manufacturers web site. Otherwise bluetooth?


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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 19:37

Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 19:37
Thank you for that Boobook. Details of my purchase are here. The O/s is said to be "Android 2.3/3.0 and ANDROID 4.0 ICS" (whatever that means!) so maybe it complies??

The other unknown is the historic one - baud rate. My gps is 9600 and unchangeable. Could be a compatibility issue there too.

Too many unknowns! I'll follow up the USB host support literature as you suggest.

Cheers

John
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Follow Up By: Member - John R (cQld) - Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 22:19

Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 22:19
Hi John

Some confusing items there. The O/S should be only one of those 3 you list, and tablets are normally either android 3.x or 4.0 if they are very new. Perhaps it means you have some strange hybrid of these! (your link no longer gives a listing, as it appears to have been sold too long ago).

The other point is that you mention baud rate, normally associated with serial ports not USB. But maybe that's just the rate at which the gps updates in this case.

Also, having a look at the android trial version of Ozi on my smartphone, there doesn't appear to be any way of specifying the gps is external to the phone, so you would probably need an additional app to have the data from the external gps appear as though it was coming from an internal gps.

Doesn't sound promising, I'm afraid.

Cheers, John

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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 23:01

Thursday, Mar 29, 2012 at 23:01
Hi John,

Thank you for your thoughts. The link to the current offering is this one.

The weird version number is a worry. Maybe the stuff at this link will make more sense to you than it does to me. I confess total ignorance of Android and Unix.

Baud rate? I understand that the raw output of a gps is in serial form, and that usb ones include a converter. It's probably a furphy, unless the android ozi is expecting some particular data rate or format.

I'm now pretty well resigned to remaining with my old windows tablet.

Cheers

John
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Reply By: Member - Boobook - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 07:09

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 07:09
John.

The Android version 4 update is here

But a word of WARNING before you start.

The instructions are all in chinese as far as I can see, and no English, and as John R mentions, Ozi may not even have the ability to access an external GPS even if you get one going. You could brick your Tablet with that upgrade unless you really know what you are doing, and for no reason if Ozi can't find it anyway.

I would discuss this the 3.1 USB host issue with Des of ozi and see what he says. Otherwise your options are to possibly use a bluetooth mouse or possibly Androzic instead of Oziexplorer. Though I have not checked if that has the same issue.

Good luck.



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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 13:08

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 13:08
Hi Boobook,

I've managed to find my way through the labyrinth to find that my tablet is running Android 4.0.1, so maybe it's all possible, just beyond my skill level.

One of the basic teachings of our 4WD club's head trainer is that when the going gets excessively challenging, ask yourself "Do I have to do this?" Great advice and relates well to challenging technology too. I'm giving up on android with usb gps!

re Androzic - There's been talk that it is at best an Ozi clone, and at worst little more than a pirated version of Ozi. For $25 I'm more than happy to support Des and stay with the proven quality software.

I take to heart your warnings, and John's too.

Thank you everyone for your assistance.

Cheers

John




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Follow Up By: get outmore - Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 04:05

Saturday, Mar 31, 2012 at 04:05
I was an androzic fan but it just cant produce proper tracks.
1/2 the time it cant produce tracks it can read itself (wrong file format the error messege says

and when it does create a proper track it gets random points 000s of kms away creating track spikes

2 things it does better than ozi is it sits up in the tool bar when other screens are being used and better detail internet maps can be zoomed into when in internet range
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Reply By: Member - John R (cQld) - Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 15:08

Friday, Mar 30, 2012 at 15:08
Hi John

I'll start a separate reply to continue the conversation.

There is a faint glimmer of hope. I see from your link that the tablet comes with an OTG port. That is a type of USB port that does have the host capabilities that you need. But:
It doesn't have much power output (only 8mA is the base spec), so you would probably need a self-powered gps mouse, eg it's own battery. Would be good to know how much power your tablet could put out through the OTG port;
The OTG port doesn't have good driver support, so unless the makers have thought about connecting to a gps mouse, then it probably still won't work.
However, if you do have a battery powered gps mouse, then there's probably no harm in plugging it into the OTG port (you should have an OTG to USB adaptor) and seeing if anything happens.

I think with the O/S, all they're really saying is that they have put in their own modified version of Android, now version 4.0, on your tablet.

I suspect that even if you did manage to get the mouse gps to talk to your tablet, you would still need software that can select a gps mouse as the input. Neither Ozi nor Androzic provide this option, as far as I can tell.

Cheers, John
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Follow Up By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 21:10

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 21:10
Hi John,

Thank you for your ongoing interest, and my apologies for the tardy response. Other priorities interrupted and the Android project has gone to the back burner.

You seem to have had better luck (and more patience!) finding information than I have. Final straw today when it wasn't recognised by the Google Play store when I tried to download an app. Recognised previously, but today it's not on the list of supported tablets, and nowhere is there a "Cube"on that list. Coupled with intermittent ADSL2 dropouts, today has not been a good one for computers!

The existence of the OTG port may offer possibilities, but as you say, that's only the start - drivers? is Ozi able and willing to talk through that port anyway? I can't spare the time just now to go through a big learning experience which is likely to simply lead me to the next obstacle! What did we do with our time before we had computers to eat it?

Again, I'm grateful for your input. Thank you.

Regards

John
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Follow Up By: Member - John R (cQld) - Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012 at 09:49

Tuesday, Apr 03, 2012 at 09:49
Hi John

Can well understand where you're coming from! The signs are not looking good if you can't get apps any more either.
However I did also see since that people have successfully connected USB mice and keyboards into the Cube through the OTG port, so it probably has enough power to run a gps mouse. When you're feeling in a reckless mood one day, why not just plug it in and see what happens with Ozi? The reply below also provides some optimism. Worst you can probably do is kill the OTG port, but you still have the other USB port to connect to computers, etc.

Regards
John
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Reply By: AWJ - Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 23:18

Monday, Apr 02, 2012 at 23:18
Maybe of interest for some readers of this page.
I try to use Androzic on a cheap(€ 80,) tablet with Android 2.2 for my navigation on board of my sailboat. The tablet don't have a GPS. So I use my handheld GPS(old Magellan with serial port!) and a serial to USB cable. Until now I only tried the NMEA-simulation from the GPS. It is working, after starting the Androzic program, a satelite-icon came up and the simulation has created a track.
BUT.. on board i have a AIS-receiver, with a multiplexor: the GPS NMEA goes to the AIS box and then together with the AIS NMEA to the serial port. In this configuration (with the same serial to USB cable) I dont get the satelite-icon after starting the program. The reason I think is: in the first configuration the COM-port has a baudrate of 4800 and in the second situation of 38400. On my laptop with another navigation program anything is working OK.

On my problem: No GPS & AIS Nmea, the programmer told me Androzic is using the Android GPS API. To check my system, I installed an app: Serial Port API sample v1.1 and this app gives me the possibilty to see a device "/dev/ttyUSB5"; I have set the baudrate on 38400 and:.. Yes this app shows me the NMEA from my multiplexor: GPS+AIS. So the Android 2.2 and his USB API is not the problem. It should be nice if Androzic also gives the device that is used for GPS-NMEA communication, and a possibility to set the baudrate.
Maybe I will have a deeper look into the Android GPS API later on, to see if I can solve my problem.
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