TrackGuide – Getting Started

(Nederlandstalige handleiding hier)

Main window

Start TrackGuide on your phone, and you get the window below. At least – that is wat we get. You probably get an empty screen. (or a welcome screen with some info on how to add walks to your library from which you clicked to this page).

main

For each walk you have on your phone, this screen gives you

  • A background map
  • The name of the walk (eg. Citadel Lille)
  • The distance from your current location to the start of the walk (=> 121.26 Km)
  • Total distance from start to finish (5.29 km)

Scroll down this page to learn how to get walks on your own phone! But first, we”ll talk about…

Settings

The upper left corner of the main window of TrackGuide shows a cog. Tap it to open the settings dialog :

settings

A walk in TrackGuide is a sequence of points you have to follow – just think of the breadcrumb in some fairy tails (Hansel and Grete to name one). Every crumb is a trackpoint, and you must walk from point to point to complete a walk. A point is reached when your position matches the position of the point.

That is the theory. In the real world, GPS locations are inaccurate by some meters – 10 meters off is not exceptional. And most GPS tracks you find on the internet are recorded by inaccurate GPS devices. So the crumbs you follow are not exactly where they should be neither. The chance that your inaccurate position matches the inaccurate postion of the trackpoint is quite small. There for, we use some margin to determine whether you reached a point or not.

The settings dialogue lets you customize this margin (note that the initial settings work well for us. However, you might set them higher if you walk a city with a lot of huge buildings) :

  • Passing distance <= … m : if the GPS of your phone or your watch tells you that you are les than … meters from the next point, TrackGuide will consider that point as reached. The 12 meters initially proposed is more or less the width of a two way street with parked cars on each side.
  • + GPS Accuracy Factor : Every GPS measurement on your iPhone comes with an accuracy in meters. Whe add a percentage of that accuracy to the first number.
  • But no further than … meter : The eror margin of a GPS measurement can sometimes be huge – a few 100 meters. A lot of points would be marked ‘reached’ when 100% of such a big error would be taken into account. Use this setting to set an upper limit on the ‘Consider point as reached’ distance. If GPS reception is really bad, you might up this to 36 meters.

Other settings are

  • Show distances in meters/kilometers or yards/miles.
  • Do you want to share walks with other TrackGuide users standing next to you (bluetooth distance)? If this setting is on, other TrackGuide users can see your iPhone in a list of devices they are allowed to request walks from. This process is further detailed on this page.
  • Do you want to export your walks as standard GPX (no pictures, names and descriptions in one language only) or extended GPX (includes pictures and texts in all language available). Applications other than TrackGuide might struggle with files exported using the extended version, so limit extended GPX for sharing with other TrackGuide users.

The “+” symbol in the upper right corner

When we start TrackGuide, we get a nice list of walks. Unfortunately, this list is empty when you just installed TrackGuide for the first time. (We are working on a cloud database with sample walks btw…). That is were the “+” comes in. It opens the menu below :

03 add menu

  • Pick a gpx/tcx from iCloud : opens the fileBrowser where you can select a gpx-file to import.
  • Create one by hand : Tap on a map to create a walk. This process is detailed over here.
  • Plot route to destination : Just imagine : You just left Centraal Station and want to go to Hotel Huppeldepup. Then you can use this option to find your way. It generates a breadcrumb from where you are to where you want to go with turn by turn instructions. More info on this option over here.
  • Receive walk from nearby device : to get a walk from someone standing within blueTooth distance from you. That person must have indicated in the settings that walks can be shared over the air. This process is further detailed here.
  • Record a new walk… : Just walk and let your phone record your track. While recording, you can take pictures to add POI’s (Points of interest) to your track. More info can be found here.
  • Tap ‘Sorry, wrong button’ to close this menu. Tapping outside the menu also does the job.

Anytime you add or delete a walk on your phone, and TrackGuide is started on your Watch, the list of walks on your Watch will be updated. If TrackGuide was not started on your Watch, just start it, pull down the walktable on your iPhone and let it go. You can also start the app on your Watch before opening it on your phone. Whenever the iPhone app starts, it tries to synchronize the list on the Watch with the one on the phone.

Things you can do with a walk

Tap a walk to open the guidance screen. More info here.

If you slide a walk to the left, you get some options :

row menu

The options you get are

  • Delete: Removes the track from your phone.
  • Edit: to add or delete trackpoints, move trackpointspoints to a different position or attach POI’s (Points Of Intrest) to a trackpoint. More info here.
  • The three dots open a menu with some more options.

The options are a little bit different for generated tracks (tracks that guide you to a destination). For these tracks, the ‘Edit’ option is replaces by  ‘Refresh’ :   recreate the track from your current position :

IMG_0021

Edit is replaced with a refresh symbol for generated walks. Screenshot taken from a Dutch screenshot.

The WalkMenu (opened by tapping “…”)

You open he WalkMenu by sliding a walk a bit to the left and tap the three dotted button. Some of the options in this menu – delete and edit – were already availabile as rowbuttons.

row option popup menu

  • Recreate the backgound image : if you changed from an iPhone SE to a Xs Max, the background images might look blurred. Use this option to create a new image that fits the size of our phone. Can also be used when Apple updated its maps and you want a background image with the latest maps.
  • Share as a GPX file : Create and share GPX file for the walk. This file can be shared by airdrop, by Files, sent to another app that knows how to handle GPX etc… . Generated files can be used on other devices from other manufactureres like Garmin to name one. The generated GPX files do not contain images and only include names and descriptions of POI’s in the default language. To add this missing info to the GPX, enable the option ‘Extended’ in the settings dialog. Note that applications other that TrackGuide might not know how to handle this extended format : they will prbably ingnore the photos and show all languages at once.
  • Send walk to nearby device : this option is not shown on the screenshot above. it is only available if you choose to share walks in the options dialog. Sends the walk over the air to everyone who requested walks from you. This process is detailed here. Walks sent over the air do contain photos and multilingual names.

What about the Watch app

Look here for general info on the Watch app. Walking with the Watch is furher detailed here.