External GPS [Added: 4 GPS devices now compatible]

Here you can post all things you think are missing within in the app – we really appreciate your input.
toorude
Posts: 32
Joined: October 20th, 2018, 12:32 pm

November 15th, 2018, 2:31 pm

Oliver wrote:
November 9th, 2018, 12:02 am
We have ordered the first BLE GPS receiver to start testing with! Lets see how that goes ;-)
Is there one? Which one is it? I am depending on exact GPS data for scientific usage, and I need a device with batteries that last longer than a smatphone. I do not always want to carry a power bank along.... Please keep us updated!
Nikon D850 FW C1.10 LD 2.017
QStarz BL-1000ST
Google Pixel 4 Android 10
Unleashed N1 A 1.4.5 - B 1.4.9 - C 1.4.0 App 1.3.10
Andy
Posts: 104
Joined: October 4th, 2018, 4:18 pm

November 16th, 2018, 1:01 pm

The GPS logger model is Holux M-241 plus. It looks like we're getting it next week.
Andy
Firmware developer at Foolography
allanimal
Posts: 9
Joined: October 26th, 2018, 6:54 pm

November 17th, 2018, 12:29 pm

Hmm... I didn't get notification that there was activity in this thread.
I'm glad to see that there is. And also to see that I'm not alone in being disappointed that our perfectly good bluetooth GPS won't work as we thought it would when we backed the kickstarter.
Even if you did say that it used BLE instead of "normal" bluetooth, I think the average person would have no idea that they are incompatible.


Oliver wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 4:13 pm

However, since you can pair the Bad Elf GPS Pro (and Pro+) with your phone to provide a more precise location to the phone, and the Unleashed in turn uses the Phone's location, The Unleashed will therefore use the the more precise location of the Bad Elf! So in that way you can use the Bad Elfs with you Unleashed. This should also help with the battery use of your phone while navigating, btw!
How does this work exactly? I can connect the bad elf to my phone using the app, but does it really override the iPhone's built in GPS & location services?

My experience with using my phone in conjunction with the built-in D500 bluetooth for location is that the results are not as accurate (which this will correct, presumably), but also that the results don't always update as often as I would expect.

The older unleashed works great in that way. A 3-device system would be cumbersome, but may work.


Oliver wrote:
November 1st, 2018, 4:13 pm
And yes, we tried convincing Bad Elf to make a BLE version of their great GPS devices, so far they have not agreed yet, but maybe if you all write to them too... ;-)

We did not mean to mislead you, sorry if you misunderstood it that way. If you would have asked, we could have told you that the GPS Pro was not going to be compatible.
That's the thing, I didn't think to ask two years ago when I backed the kickstarter, because I had no idea two things called bluetooth would be incompatible. I think this is not an unreasonable assumption.
I also find it interesting that it was advertised as being compatible with external bluetooth GPS units (even if that was bluetooth LE), yet if there are none* on the market now, how could you make that claim two years ago when the campaign started?

*I'm glad to hear you have found a potential external GPS that may work. I will be interested to hear of any developments.
But still not sure I want to buy a new unit when my Bad Elf is still working perfectly, and wasn't exactly cheap. I'm sure a new one isn't either...
Nikon D500 FW C1.12 LD 2.015
iPhone SE 12.0.1
Unleashed N1 A1.0 B1.0 C1.1
Oliver
Posts: 375
Joined: October 9th, 2018, 4:17 pm

November 20th, 2018, 7:42 pm

How does this work exactly? I can connect the bad elf to my phone using the app, but does it really override the iPhone's built in GPS & location services?

Yes! For sure on iOS, I think on android as well, but have to confirm. This is the main selling point of Bad Elf GPS devices. It's very popular among pilots, because without cell reception, no wifi and high speeds, the iOS devices internal GPS is as good as useless. having the Bad Elf connected via Bluetooth overrides the internal position, and gets a quick, precise location even in adverse conditions.

My experience with using my phone in conjunction with the built-in D500 bluetooth for location is that the results are not as accurate (which this will correct, presumably), but also that the results don't always update as often as I would expect.

Oh, please don't compare this with our solution. Snapbridge updates the location very very seldomly, so when it gets a location (at a large interval) from the Smartphone, it's going to be quite inaccurate even when it's "fresh". and as it gets old, it's obviously not going to get any better, unless you happen to be moving towards the position that was inaccurate before ;-)

Also, when the phone disconnects, the Snapbridge camera will keep saving the old location to the photos, I'm not sure if indefinitely, but certainly much longer than makes sense.

In our app, you can set the interval yourself, so after the first 2-3 intervals, the position should be very accurate. At the moment we actually have a filter built in to only send locations with an accuracy of 1000m or less from the app to the Unleashed, which we know is way too inaccurate, so there'll be a setting in the app to adjust this soon, along with with an indication in the App (and Unleashed LED) if the accuracy is too low.

The older unleashed works great in that way. A 3-device system would be cumbersome, but may work.


We know it's not ideal, but yes, it does work!

That's the thing, I didn't think to ask two years ago when I backed the kickstarter, because I had no idea two things called bluetooth would be incompatible. I think this is not an unreasonable assumption.

No, you're right, we should have been clearer about this. I was actually sure we wrote up some details in an update, and was going to send you a link to the corresponding update, but to be honest, I could not find it!

When we started the campaign, I was actually still trying to find a Dual Mode Bluetooth chip that would be compatible with classic Bluetooth as well as BLE GPS receivers. When we finally made the decision which Bluetooth chip to use, and that it would be BLE only, I was quite sure we wrote an update, including the information that unfortunately, this would break backwards compatibility for many external GPS units, except via the indirect route getting Bad Elf GPS data through the phone to the Unleashed. Either I just couldn't find it, or we never actually posted it. I'm very sorry about that, and it was definitely not withheld on purpose or meant to mislead anyone.

I also find it interesting that it was advertised as being compatible with external bluetooth GPS units (even if that was bluetooth LE), yet if there are none* on the market now, how could you make that claim two years ago when the campaign started?

No, that's not quite right. We were looking at several modern external GPS units from Garmin that we know have BLE, at the same time as hoping we could support classic Bluetooth GPS devices. Unfortunately, Garmin chose not so share the current location with a standard protocol, so we gave up on those for the time being, but will take another look soon, when the main features of the Unleashed are complete and the first wave of bugs have been fixed. Also, we wrote to Garmin a couple of times, and tried to find the right people to contact about this at tradeshows. We were hoping to get information about their protocol, but have made no progress on that front either.

*I'm glad to hear you have found a potential external GPS that may work. I will be interested to hear of any developments.
But still not sure I want to buy a new unit when my Bad Elf is still working perfectly, and wasn't exactly cheap. I'm sure a new one isn't either...

You'll be informed! Like I said, you can use the Bad Elf indirectly - especially if you use iOS, I know for sure that it works, I'll ask my Bad Elf contacts about it again and get our Android developers to test it as well.
The Holux M-241+ seems to be available around the 100 Euro mark, cheaper in Asia.
Founder & CEO of Foolography, Hardware & Firmware developer.
jkates
Posts: 5
Joined: October 30th, 2018, 8:00 pm

November 21st, 2018, 2:07 am

I will purchase a new External GPS (assuming that it has a good battery life and is fairly small) thus I hope you continue to work on getting something figured out.

I have really waiting too long on this. Any thoughts of having B&H stock the 09 version that will work with a D750 (soon) as that will get me what I need until the new version gets worked out.
-Jason
Oliver
Posts: 375
Joined: October 9th, 2018, 4:17 pm

November 23rd, 2018, 3:00 pm

I just sent you an email!
Founder & CEO of Foolography, Hardware & Firmware developer.
reginalb
Posts: 2
Joined: February 19th, 2019, 6:57 pm

February 19th, 2019, 7:03 pm

Oliver wrote:
November 20th, 2018, 7:42 pm


No, you're right, we should have been clearer about this. I was actually sure we wrote up some details in an update, and was going to send you a link to the corresponding update, but to be honest, I could not find it!

When we started the campaign, I was actually still trying to find a Dual Mode Bluetooth chip that would be compatible with classic Bluetooth as well as BLE GPS receivers. When we finally made the decision which Bluetooth chip to use, and that it would be BLE only, I was quite sure we wrote an update, including the information that unfortunately, this would break backwards compatibility for many external GPS units, except via the indirect route getting Bad Elf GPS data through the phone to the Unleashed. Either I just couldn't find it, or we never actually posted it. I'm very sorry about that, and it was definitely not withheld on purpose or meant to mislead anyone.
Well it was misleading, not just to him, but me too. You had a big image of a bad elf right on the Indiegogo page, and the thing is STILL THERE. I guess it's in the "Our story" section, but you weren't clear that there would be feature loss. I think you were very deceptive with the marketing, to be honest. And I want to let you know as well that I emailed support about this and was completely ignored, they never bothered to reply to my complaint.

I bought a Bad Elf to use with it, for goodness sake. And the answer in here was originally, oh you can buy ANOTHER one of our products and send us EVEN MORE money. Sorry, I'm really bitter about this, and quite disappointed with the money I wasted on the Unleashed. Buyer beware, I suppose.

With regards to BLE being incompatible, there are TONS of dual mode chips out there, nearly every BT device I own today is dual mode, so you really needed to provide that update, and I would have canceled my order. As it stands, I have a device that I'll rarely ever use.

EDIT: While typing this, you sent me an email. I hope to receive more information from you soon - as it was just a promise for more information. I apologize if I'm coming off as a jerk, but I feel quite misled by this.
Oliver
Posts: 375
Joined: October 9th, 2018, 4:17 pm

February 19th, 2019, 11:19 pm

Hi Reginald,

I just sent you that longer email I promised. I hope it helps you understand that it was never "deceptive marketing" but rather "unintentional misleading" for those expecting full backward compatibility.

Yes, there are many dual mode Bluetooth chips, but we had very many constraints that ruled out most of them, and as I wrote you, we had to cross that last one off our list quite a while after the campaign, despite all our efforts to make it work.
The Unleashed is a much better product because of that decision, but I completely understand your disappointment, being most interested in the one feature that had to suffer because of it.

Sorry again for the lack of communication about this - both in the updates and in my delayed response to your email

Oliver
Founder & CEO of Foolography, Hardware & Firmware developer.
Oliver
Posts: 375
Joined: October 9th, 2018, 4:17 pm

February 20th, 2019, 12:06 am

Since I'm on this thread - some good news too:

We've made good progress with the Holux M-241 Plus. We've reverse engineered the protocol - at least for the most part, and have gotten it to play nice with the rest of the Unleashed.
We're still testing how well it works, and are still optimizing how to pair it, making sure the Unleashed reconnects (and disconnects) when it makes most sense, etc. We've added new GPS modes for using only the external GPS device, or keeping the smartphone as a fallback option too.

I was in the US for a week in January, so I was able to confirm correct decoding of Western longitudes, as well as longitudes near 0º, which was very helpful.
The only thing I'm not yet 100% confident in is the decoding of Month and year, but that's not quite so easy to do without a timemachine ;-) I have tried to reach out to Holux for some more details, but have not had any success.

The data from the Holux unfortunately is also missing some info, such as the number of satellites used to calculate the position, and it adds the geoid to the altitude into a single value. That might actually be the more interesting value, but with other Bluetooth GPS receivers, Nikon only stored altitude and ignored geoid, so the info stored is now different. To be honest, we also don't get the number of satellites from the phones, nor do I know for sure how the phones calculate their altitude.

Oliver
Founder & CEO of Foolography, Hardware & Firmware developer.
jkates
Posts: 5
Joined: October 30th, 2018, 8:00 pm

February 26th, 2019, 2:59 am

Oliver wrote:
February 20th, 2019, 12:06 am
Since I'm on this thread - some good news too:

We've made good progress with the Holux M-241 Plus. We've reverse engineered the protocol - at least for the most part, and have gotten it to play nice with the rest of the Unleashed.
We're still testing how well it works, and are still optimizing how to pair it, making sure the Unleashed reconnects (and disconnects) when it makes most sense, etc. We've added new GPS modes for using only the external GPS device, or keeping the smartphone as a fallback option too.

I was in the US for a week in January, so I was able to confirm correct decoding of Western longitudes, as well as longitudes near 0º, which was very helpful.
The only thing I'm not yet 100% confident in is the decoding of Month and year, but that's not quite so easy to do without a timemachine ;-) I have tried to reach out to Holux for some more details, but have not had any success.

The data from the Holux unfortunately is also missing some info, such as the number of satellites used to calculate the position, and it adds the geoid to the altitude into a single value. That might actually be the more interesting value, but with other Bluetooth GPS receivers, Nikon only stored altitude and ignored geoid, so the info stored is now different. To be honest, we also don't get the number of satellites from the phones, nor do I know for sure how the phones calculate their altitude.

Oliver
Please let us know when you think that the Holux M-241 Plus will be ready for prime time, I looks it could fit the bill. $100 fix to make this do what I want would be great.
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