Last class of the (calendar) year

It was the last hands-on class for my last-year students in engineering. They looked like they were enjoying the project : given a GPS “simulator” (accurately so, since I wrote most of it myself ;) ), they had to imagine something interesting to do with it.

The first session (4 weeks ago) was devoted to understanding the NMEA format, and more specifically the GPRMA feed. GPRMA is mainly used for boats, since it contains no information on altitude or vertical velocities, only “flat” coordinates, course and speed. It was a dry and somewhat tedious session, but they managed to get the data out without too many problems.

The second session was for a “basic” GUI : getting all the points in a list, and then doing some stuff with it, like drawing in a window, or displaying statistics, etc…

And the last session was freestyle : now that the core worked, what is the point of having a GPS localization tool?

I was positively surprised by the variety of the projects :

  • Stats : average speed, total distance, etc… Suitable for sports or research
  • Localization : where am I, relatively to a given point (starting point, destination, landmarks,…)
  • Flotilla : track several items relatively to each other
  • “Emulation” : re-create a compass, or a speedometer
  • Tracking : draw the movement trace

All in all, I’m glad the students took so much interest in such a short class. They definitely created worthwhile pieces of software in a very short time, each with its own set of features.

And of course, now that the stress has dwindled down a bit, I got a cold ;)


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