Mapping feature question /suggestion

The GPX drag-and-drop functionality in the SMP tracks page has now been extended to include a graphical GPX “editor” by means of which the dragged-and-dropped GPX track may be optimized.

Why optimized? - well, it can often be the case that GPX tracks recorded by your GPS device contain more information than is necessary to define a “clean” ascent route. It should be understood that GPX files which are to be uploaded to the SMP should contain only the ascent section of the route taken or suggested, unless:

  • the descent section follows a route SIGNIFICANTLY different than the ascent section (in which case keep both sections), or
  • the descent section represents a better route to take while ascending: in this case, the ascent section should be discarded.

GPX tracks can also contain sections where you may have been moving around at some particular place, but did not make any significant progress along the route (you may have had a rest, and looked around for a while) - such sections contain no useful information and should therefore also be removed.

So, you may need to optimize your GPX file, and that’s what this editor is for.

How to use the new functionality? - drag-and-drop a GPX file onto the map area in the SMP tracks page, then click the “Edit…” button in the left-hand area to display the edit dialog. Then, either work it out yourself, or consult the Help for more information - follow the links there for drag-and drop.

HTH, Rob

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Thought I’d again bring this topic to the attention of those who use the tracks page - especially those who upload GPX tracks regularly to the SMP.

The salient points are:

  • drag-and-drop of GPX files onto the tracks mapping area is enabled;
  • those tracks may now be edited in a custom window;
  • edited tracks may then be saved to file;
  • the file can then be imported into the SMP system.

HTH, Rob

The range function is indeed one of the greatest features on SMP. I was fine with the manual entry of grid locators but this is a nice extension.

It’s really a pity Rob has never received access to the database for such features. I do not know whether the following workaround would be suitable:
What about having the user upload his activator log to SMP for this purpose? Every activator can easily download this file containing all his activations from the database. As all QSOs are listed in this file, this could even be used to reactivate the lovely QSO display Rob had to close down due to lacking database support.
I fully agree this is far from an nifty solution but better than hoping for direct access to the SOTA DB.

73 de Michael, DB7MM

Well, the MT are making plans to make data available via a published API, but I fear it will be much too inflexible a system to cope with the fine details which my solutions - which have already been proven to work - would, and do, require.

But there is yet another way to get the data from the SOTA system, and it’s a method which I would have thought impossible, or at least unworkable. That method consists of laboriously downloading or scraping the details of all activity of each of the SOTAWatch/database users in turn, one by one, from the database pages themselves. This has in fact been done - not, I hasten to add, by me - and an automated system set up to pull the data at regular intervals has been established.

And here is where I have to thank my very good colleague, Christophe ON6ZQ for his amazing efforts in pulling off this incredible feat. He’s put in a lot of work to get this running and I think we owe him a round of applause for his initiative, energy and skill.

Unfortunately, things haven’t gone so well at my end, where I have struggled to integrate the new data into my own database, and to get it all running in tandem with my copies of the SOTA summits data. It’s always a problem to deal with copies of copies, and to reconstitute a relational database reliably from flat text files where all the data are mixed. And we’re talking of nearly 1 1/2 million records here, which I would have to maintain on my own test machine at home (moderately difficult), as well as on the shared server (difficult due to various restrictions) where the SMP is hosted.

I have to date already created three different versions of the activations page and its’ supplementary files - each time dealing with differently-structured datasets -, and I have to say that each time it’s been a nightmare to manage. This is the reason why I had to put the latest development version of that page on hold, since I was, to put it mildly, exhausted and irritated with the whole thing. It’s taken me a few months to get over it and there’s no easy way forward to make this thing work.

Except one: allow this one-time database administrator (already very familiar with the database type (and, incidentally, the tables and database structure!) used by SOTAWatch) access to the database. There would, in fact, be no real technical obstacles in the way; only issues of a personal, or social, nature. And that’s how it’s going to stay with this MT. As somebody once said on the old forum, the MT are having a party, and if you don’t like the music, you can go elsewhere and find another party.

Anyway, I can still play around with other stuff and try to develop a tool here, an update there, in the SMP: it all keeps “ze little grey cells” active.

In that regard, and in response to a specific request by Christophe (thanks again!) for such a thing, I’ve developed a little tool for mobile-phone or pad use, which simply gets a user’s current location from the device and shows a table of summits within x kilometers/miles of that location. It’s still in development, but seems to work OK: go to to try it out on your phone browser.


Here’s a tinyURL version of that mobile tool: . It would be nice to know if anybody has tried it on a phone or pad, and to know what results they got…

Rob, thanks for the comprehensive reply. I fully agree running a separate copy of the SOTA database is a demanding task. That’s the reason I suggested the users uploading their own activator log in order to get a visualisation of activated summits. But definitely I do not understand all the problems this idea brings up on the programming side.

This reminds me of the sad fact, that many German activators will not need to use SMP in future anymore. With the majority of DM references to be deleted, many Germans will leave this party.
That’s also the reason I stopped uploading tracks to the SMP: What is the use of uploading tracks for references which will be deleted anyway?

Apart from this you are running a valuable tool for many SOTA participants.

Tried it out on my Android Tablet with Android browser and also my desktop with Firefox: Works like a charm. Personally I would prefer the first result sorted by distance instead of reference. But that’s only a single touch to change this. I expect the Export button being greyed out is intended.
To be honest, up to now I used my dedicated Garmin GPS receiver for this feature. (We talked about this when we met at the Ham Radio.) Of course I had to load suitable summits lists on the Garmin before. As mobile coverage is often quite patchy a lightweight online solution is a nice supplement for this.

73 de Michael, DB7MM

It sounds to me as if you know more than the MT do at present. Certainly at this point in time I do not know how many invalid summits will be deleted - though I do know that there will be some additions since I found one of them myself!


The whole results table in this little app can be sorted in any one of 10 ways: by clicking on any of the column headers, the table will be sorted according to that column type. Click again on the same header, and the table will be sorted in the opposite direction. So, 5 columns * 2 directions = 10 ways to sort. If the mouse (or device pointer) is hovered over the column headers, you’ll get an indication of this.

…you and a few others :slight_smile: - I’ll get back to this shortly…

… ah well, what will be, will be…



That tool works fine on my iphone 5s. very neat! You probably know that a similar function is built into the sotagoat app. But yours offers the extra sorting options.



Andrew, since I possess no kind of smart phone or pad whatsoever, and have never seen the sotagoat app, I have had no way of knowing what it may provide.

As I said previously, it was Christophe ON6ZQ who came up with the idea, and so I put this little thing together in response to his request. Now, since I know for a fact that he has a lot of shiny toys at his disposal, it’s not entirely beyond the bounds of imagination that he may have had sotagoat in mind when he made the request :wink: .

Nice to know it works OK there - I’d be interested to know how accurate the estimate of your position is using that, or other, devices.

Incidentally, I’m working on an extension to this app to provide (at the user’s discretion) continuous monitoring of the device’s position, and hence to make regular updates to the list of summits found “within range”. Use of such a functionality would, of course, only make sense if the device is moving: for instance in a moving vehicle, and where the device’s built-in GPS unit has a good enough fix for the duration of the journey.


Rob, it appears to give similar results to the list from SOTAGOAT.

here are screenshots using the same device, same location.

Hope this is of interest.

Regarding continuous updates, I have found anything like that tends to reduce phone battery life, ie. it uses up the battery power much more quickly. On an activation I turn off wifi, bluetooth, most location checking except for maps. I did try using Pocket Packet app and sending positions to APRS but even that tended to churn through battery. Once I get a solar panel on the backpack perhaps that won’t be so much of a problem!


Thanks for the piccies - I can see I’ve left out any mention of summit points… I’ll get on to that.

Yes, I had my gaze firmly fixed on that particular problem for which there is no easy solution :sob: . Oh well - back to the drawing board.


PS - it was a specific part of the request from Christophe that the name or SOTA reference of the summits in the list be links back to the SOTWatch page for the summit. So that’s what they are and do…

[quote=“DB7MM, post:28, topic:11699”]
Personally I would prefer the first result sorted by distance instead of reference
[/quote]…you’re absolutely right, as usual Michael :wink: - it’s better that way, and I’ve changed the script accordingly.

Also, summit names now show some little points-icons… To make it pretty.



here is the updated view, as seen on an IPAD. Lots more screen real estate here, but I do like the distance icons.

And from iPhone:


Another point which may not be evident from the pictures is that the button labelled “km” in the screenshot toggles between km and miles…

Regarding a “continuous” update option, I meant the script would look once every five or ten minutes for a new position, and then update if the position had changed. So the battery drain would no be so great…


I tend to forget that some places still use miles. VK switched to metric in 1976 or so. I guess we can be grateful there is no requirement for furlongs or cubits.

Re the screen updates, yes a 5 or 10 minute update period would not be too much of a load. The main battery burner for mobile devices is probably the backlight.

73 Andrew VK1DA

The other popular app is Rucksack Radio Tool for Android devices.
It does a similar but slightly different display, showing the 5 closest summits to your GPS coordinates.

Thanks for all the updates Rob.

Pete and Andrew, thanks for the input and the images. I’ve improved the display a bit, and introduced a “skin” switch to toggle between a light display and a dark one; also added a few tooltips, including one which gives a “NNW”-type hint when hovering over a bearing.

The skins are not “real” skins, but just toggle style-sheets to change colouring. The first time you try it, the switch-over may not be so neat (depends on your browser), but after that it works OK. Also improved the summit-points icons.

As you can see, I’m lucky enough to live within 50 km of 285 SOTA summits, of which I’ve done 2 or 3! Hope to do more next year when I might have a little more spare cash :wink:

EDIT: The display now reacts to different widths of screen and shows extra columns (variously Latitude, Longitude, Locator) when there is room for them.


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Hi Rob,

I guess the hover feature is probably done with a mouseover javascript event? There isn’t really an equivalent of mouseover for a mobile device as far as I know. If I “select” a line of the display with a finger, there is a small popup which indicates the data I was “selecting”, but no direction indications.

I have never been able to get the same mouseover data using either the phone or ipad, as I get when I mouseover an activation on the main sotawatch site. I quite like the display of operator name, but selecting the activation on either of my IOS devices does not display that on the target page. Might be different for Android powered devices.


73 Andrew VK1DA

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Hi Andrew,

OK on the hover thing - not having one of these devices, I wasn’t sure of hover-tooltips availability. Now removed them, and also introduced an extra dynamic column showing the compass direction (the “NNW”-type direction).

The dynamic columns thing can be useful when the screen-width changes; for example, when the device is rotated between portrait and landscape orientation. So, the more horizontal screen space, the more information is displayed.

Now, I know that hardly anybody will use this thing, but it helps to pass the time of day for me here…