[aprssig] APRS System Overriding Fundamentals

William McKeehan mckeehan at mckeehan.homeip.net
Mon Mar 21 10:00:13 CST 2005

I was re-reading this note this morning and one statement caught my eye:

  The critical criterion is having non-ham, non-radio, non-technical folk
  understand what they see because they have used a paper map.

One thing I noticed Saturday what that John was able to look at the map and
tell where the one vehicle I was tracking was and where he had been/was going.
That was a nice thing to see.

On Thu, March 10, 2005 1:48 pm, aa8ei said:
> This image display of assets, situations, and important items is what
> attracted me the first time I saw APRS.
> The critical criterion is having non-ham, non-radio, non-technical folk
> understand what they see because they have used a paper map. Another is a
> gentle learning curve in order to quickly train inexperienced operators.
> I need to display unpaved state/federal park roads and have tight control
> of objects. "Highways" would be county numbered roads. I need to draw lines
> and symbols and indicate fixed and moving assets, but I also need a variety
> of symbols and text boxes.
> I need maps, not vectors, displayed. If you have seen the NationalG's topo
> maps, you know the kind of detail I am looking for. PM3, SA, other common
> software doesn't show all the back roads of interest, though they do show
> much useful material.
> The basic visual aid without radios and tracking CAN be done with
> commercial mapping software that shows the necessary details and is
> operated with an ear to the comm network. Show it with a projector and it
> makes a good display. It's the ability to send the details to other places,
> and have categories entered from other places, and the other aspects of
> APRS software that make desirable a more complete client. The tracking
> features are just extras since, as has been pointed out, having enough
> trackers available is not likely anyway.
> I'm not able to get current APRS software to show what I need and do what I
> need, as far as I know, at the moment.
> If APRS could display using NG TOPO I would have the bull by the horns. The
> display, by computer projector, would be in the command and control center.
> Being able to use the map software features, overlay the material on APRS,
> and transmit the result by some medium would be ideal.
> Another 'image making' problem is the stuff that mapping software lets me
> do - lines, labels, funky symbols, etc. - and which APRS clients don't. In
> my application, coloring and sizing sections of the road to indicate
> various status and use functions is essential. Indicating situations that
> happen along the route can be as important as showing assets, but I need
> text boxes and other features to explain what is happening.
> I live 6 hours or more from the places of interest so I can't drive a
> route, record it, and then add it to a map. I need to 'draw' the route on
> the APRS/mapping software image. I need the 'real' looking map to make
> sense to the officials trying to use the display. All that detail, such as
> railroads and buildings, is important.
> I hoped that, in time, the map image problem would be solved, still
> retaining all the 'radio' (and then internet) capability. I haven't tried
> UI-View and PM7. I gave up on UI-View some time ago because I couldn't get
> maps of interest to me. WinAPRS does make great images, but doesn't do the
> work I need to do. APRSDos would be great for knowledgeable hams, but not
> much use for anyone else with a lot of explaining.
> I believe what is needed is a large-scale, volunteer professional, effort
> such as produced the first TNC boards, cooperatively creating a new,
> integrated, mainstay APRS client. There are lots of authors with good
> ideas, but no single effort has a complete product. I'm not sure how to
> solve the quality map problem, but if we could get a group to concentrate
> on the real use as Bob defined it, rather than big networks and
> GPS/tracking technologies, we can have the kind of APRS we have visualized.
> I believe we need to slip off the concentrated internet networking for a
> while and concentrate on a useful product which happens to be able to use
> multiple media to connect to other users; we need to concentrate on
> fundamental modern client software instead of worrying about network rules
> and TNC settings.
> Then, when a really super software with dynamite applications is developed,
> APRS will no longer appear as a toy, or a solution looking for a problem,
> and all the networking specs can be subsequently developed and implemented
> willy-nilly. (I will admit I have no interest in big, fixed, permanent
> networks. Only temporary, special situation and event use has my
> attention.) With greater APRS utility, there will be greater interest in
> spending the capital to implement proper networks among a larger group of
> hams, greater impetus to cooperate with the 'rules'.
> I hope so, anyway.
> I have an application over the 18-19th of March where I could use APRS if I
> had the client software and the map (Cherokee National Forest and
> Chattanooga area). Anyone want to help? No GPS or trackers needed, although
> they could be used if they were available.
> 73,
> Tony AA8EI
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William McKeehan
Internet: mckeehan at mckeehan.homeip.net

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