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GPS Import

This screen is entered from Tools - GPS Import on the main menu.

The main purpose of a GPS interface is for those drivers who need to keep track of each and every road on which they drive.

This interface will read in a GPS interface file (GPX), analyze the GPS coordinates, determine addresses from the coordinates, and provide the necessary Log File entries.

How to Use
You must first know how to use your GPS device in order to track your route. There are many programs (including phone apps) that can track a route. Your GPS device is capable of recording GPS readings. You must be able to set up your GPS device to record points in at least 15 second intervals.

You may record as many GPS routes during the day as desired.

Step 1: Write down your odometer setting and start GPS logging on your GPS device.

Drive as you normally do. Make your food and fuel stops. Pick up and drop your loads.

Step 2: Stop GPS logging and export the data.

After you have reached your destination, stop the GPS logging. You should have an option in your software to export the GPS data as a "GPX" (.gpx) file. Export the data, giving it a meaningful file name in a location that you can easily get to.

Step 3: Import the GPX data file into Rig Expense Tracker.

In Rig Expense Tracker, choose Tools - GPS Import from the main menu. The top part (green) of the "GPS Import Menu" screen will list the GPX files with which you are currently working. The bottom part (cream) are the details for the file selected on top.

Begin a new import by clicking the button. Navigate to the folder in which you saved your GPX file. Then, select your file and click the Open button.

Phase 1: Import GPX Data

As your data is imported, the first phase box is displayed in the lower, left-hand corner. This phase will read your GPX data, calculate the distance between the GPS points, and prepare the data file for Phase 2.

Step 4: Reverse Geocoding

Reverse geocoding is the process of turning a GPS point of longitude and latitude into a street address. From Rig Expense Tracker's perspective, this means getting the road name, city and state (or province).

Not every point in the GPX data file will be reverse geocoded. That is way overkill and would place too much stress on the websites which provide this service. Rather, the program selects points based on the distance driven and the speed driven between points.

For example, if you need to record the roads driven, it is not very likely that you will be making turns at 70 MPH. However, at speeds under 15 MPH, you are more likely to be turning from one road to another. So, the slower you go, the more often this software will look to "see" where you are.

Phase 2: Reverse Geocoding

After Phase 1 has completed, you will be asked if you wish to proceed with Phase 2. Phase 2 requires a good Internet connection. If you have an Internet connection, proceed with Phase 2. Otherwise, you can always come back to the GPS Import menu, select the GPX file from the list, and click the Get Addresses from Internet button at the bottom of the Phase 2 window.

As each point is reverse geocoded, you may notice a clicking sound on your PC. This is normal, as the software needs to communicate directly with websites in order to attain the address information. The clicking sound is the website responding to the request.

Phase 2 may be repeated as many times as is needed to complete looking up all points.

Step 5: Log File Update

Phase 3 of the GPX file import deals with adding entries into the Log File. 

Phase 3: Log File Update

You must first make sure that the correct truck is selected in the Phase 3 window. If not, click the Truck button and select the correct truck from the list.

Next, input the starting odometer setting that you wrote down from Step 1

Above the Phase 3 window, please select the time zone in which this trip started. (This is important! The times provided in the GPX data file are GMT: Greenwich Mean Time. If those times are used, Rig Expense Tracker may think you are driving on tomorrow's date.)

Then, click the Prepare Log File Entries button. You will be taken to a Log File "Preview" screen so that you can look at the entries that are about to be made.

The new entries will appear on the preview screen with check marks in front of them. To accept the entries, click the I accept the proposed Log File changes button at the top of the screen.

Step 6: Clean Up

Once you have added the records to the Log File, the GPX data information is no longer needed. Use the button at the top of the GPS Import Menu in order to delete the import. You will be asked for confirmation. You will also be asked if you wish to delete the corresponding GPX data file.

A Word About Reverse Geocoding
Reverse geocoding is not a perfect science. One of its biggest flaws is that the same road may have many different names. You may think that you drove on US 287 through Claude, TX, but you really drove on US 287 onto 1st St. and back onto US 287.

Rig Expense Tracker uses reverse geocoding provided through the "OpenStreetMap" project. Google Maps does provide a similar service, but they charge a lot of $$ for their service. OpenStreetMap is a free service, but is younger than Google Maps. Your experience may find some inaccuracies in the road names provided. Therefore, please review the resulting road entries and correct them where needed.

A Word About GPS Accuracy
Civilian GPS readings may be off up to 25 feet (7.8 meters) per reading. As you drive down the road, this inaccuracy does not come into play very much. However, when you are sitting in one spot, your GPS will "bounce" all over the place. 

To illustrate how this affects you, consider this example.  Say that you stop at a rest area for 15 minutes and your GPS is set up to give readings every second. For this example, we will be conservative and say that the GPS is accurate to 10 feet of you current position. This means from one reading to the next, it could be off 20 feet total. So, 20 feet times 60 GPS reads per minute, times 15 minutes equals 18,000 feet! That's 3.4 miles and you haven't even moved!!

To limit the inaccuracies, you could simply stop GPS tracking when you stop. Although that would be a pain in the fanny to do, it would eliminate a lot of the "slop."   Another thing is to try and find the setting in your mapping program that controls how often it logs a GPS reading. If that could be set to 15 seconds, then our 3.4 miles reduces to 20 feet times 4 GPS reads per minute, times 15 minutes equals 1,200 feet...or just under a quarter mile. That's a huge difference.