Wednesday, February 7, 2024

OsmAnd & APRS?

Over the weekend I was fiddling with the APIs of OsmAnd & APRSdroid. But why?

The maps in APRSdroid are pretty good and there is even a version with offline map support. So why bother with OsmAnd? There are some interesting potential applications when APRS data is forwarded to OsmAnd.  Things get even more interesting if we can send data from OsmAnd via APRS.

There is already an OsmAnd Tracker app that uses Telegram so why bother with APRS? Telegram requires and account and internet access. For my application I want to be completely offline. Also in my area there are weather stations on APRS, having this data in OsmAnd seems like it could be useful.

Both apps are open source and have documentation OsmAnd & APRSdroid. Should be super simple right? Android is an ever moving target documentation quickly becomes slightly out of date. Slightly wrong is still wrong so it took a bit to figure out what right is enough to run in one version. It may take a little more testing to get it right on various versions, once it is running well in a few version the source code will be published.

The proof of concept is up and running here is a report received via APRS-IS:

OsmAnd is telling me that KE8BSM is about 12 miles NNW from here, I am excited to explore the possibilities that this opens up.

Here is a view with several other stations:

AC8HZ-10 is active so I can see the distance and bearing to that station. In addition OsmAnd allows navigation to that location.  I am wondering about how that will work when AC8HZ moves will the navigation update automatically? If it doesn't the OsmAnd api is very comprehensive the bridge app can watch to see if the destination moves and when it moves beyond a specified threshold update the navigation.

What kind of applications does this open up? 

Think about fox hunting, if I can establish a bearing from a location OsmAnd can remember this and draw it on the map. Travel to a few other points and get more bearing and the intersection is where to look. There are already apps for that. But what if you team up and share bearings via APRS now the initial data gathering is quicker.

What about Search & Rescue? Could we track the movements of the searchers and assign search areas that have not yet been covered?

What if we can do the same bridging via WiFi & Meshtastic? What if we could coordinate all three? Stay tuned ;-)

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