It has long been my objective to aim for a handheld bat detector which could show you bat calls in real time. Well, it's here! In the last few years, PDA technology has really improved and there now seems more stability in this area than there used to be. So I took the plunge and wrote software (AnaPocket) to make it possible to show Anabat displays on a PDA. I am so pleased at the results that I have now made this my standard equipment for field use, and no longer take a laptop into the field with me. The savings in weight and power consumption are immense, and the increase in portability opens up new possibilities for surveying and finding bats. AnaPocket has allowed me to find bats in places where I wouldn't have been able to look for them before.
Being able to watch bat calls on the screen in realtime gives you a much closer connection to the bats and their behaviour, and is a superb tool for learning how bat calls vary under different conditions. Appreciating this variation is essential to understanding how bats can be identified from their calls. Most bats produce a wide range of echolocation calls, many of which can be very similar to calls of other species found in the same geographic area. Understanding how each species varies its calls depending on its immediate surroundings will give the user a much better appreciation of the problems inherent in acoustic identification of bats, and will also illustrate how to make best use of the differences between species. Observing bats in the field while being able to see their calls displayed on a screen in real time, will give you the best chance of identifying free flying bats. As far as possible, it will let you watch bats in the field much as you would watch birds.
The Anabat SD1 and SD2 detectors allow you to easily mount a PDA on top of the detector. This arrangement lets you see bat calls displayed in realtime as you watch the bat making the calls, and all from a package which can be held in one hand with no wires trailing to external devices.
There are lots of different PDAs available, but few of them are really suitable for this purpose. The AnaPocket software has been written for the Windows operating system, so unfortunately, Palm Pilot type devices will not work. Unfortunately, I don't have access to all the different types of PDAs which might be useable, so I have no way to test the system out with other PDA devices. For this reason, if you decide to deploy a PDA for your own purposes, it would be safest to use one of the PDA's I have already tested, since you can then be sure it can be made to work!
AnaPocket must be run on a device which uses Windows Pocket PC 2003 or later. In fact, there are real advantages to the newer Windows Mobile 5, because it uses flash memory and will not lose its data or programs even if the battery is removed for months at a time. With the advent of Windows Mobile 5, there isn't even any built-in backup software, which at first seems an annoying loss, but in my experience, it is no longer needed. This operating system seems much more reliable than the earlier Pocket PC versions, and I have encountered no serious problems with it. I have never had to set up a PDA again after initially doing so, and I have never lost any data or had to restore the setup in any way. So really, a Win Mobile 5 or later device is to be preferred.
IPAQ devices which run PC Pocket 2003 and can be assumed to work are the 2210 (which is identical to the 2215) and the 2410 and 2415.
More recent devices which run Windows Mobile 5 and are known to work are the 2190, 2195, 2490, 2495, 2790 and 2795. Of these, the 2190/5 are rather slower than the others. This is rarely a problem, but it means the display is more likely to lag behind realtime by a portion of a second. The 2490/5 seem to me the best compromise, being noticeably faster than the 2190/5, but not much more expensive. The 2790/5 are significantly faster again, but quite a lot more expensive. I don't think the higher speed of the 2790/5 is likely to be noticed by the user.
In Windows Mobile 6 devices, those known to work are the 200 series, which includes the 210, 211 and 212. These don't have a serial port, so in effect, should only be used with an SD2 which has USB capabilities.
There will be many other types of PDA which might be suitable, but I haven't tested them, so can give no guarantees. I have seen cases of some other PDAs which had different button assignments, which will mean their operation isn't the same as the units I am familiar with. You also need to be aware that not all PDAs include a serial port, which is essential for use with an SD1.
Another point to note about PDAs is that not all have a CF card slot. Although this isn't essential for using AnaPocket, it is a fact that there are many advantages to using a GPS while using the PDA. While a GPS can be connected via Bluetooth, this interface has proven a bit unreliable (though I used it very successfully for ages) and I now recommend the use of a CF GPS unit, which requires a PDA with a CF slot. See below.
If you don't have access to an Anabat SD1 or SD2, then the Storage ZCAIM can be used in Serial ZCAIM mode by removing the CF card. See here for details of ZCAIM modes. It is not possible to use the Storage ZCAIM as a serial ZCAIM while storing data on the CF card. The Storage ZCAIM must be connected to an Anabat II detector in the usual way.
The problem with using a Storage ZCAIM with a PDA is that you must have two boxes instead of just the one SD1/SD2. This reduces portability, and makes it impractical to use in one hand. On the other hand, some people have built setups in which an Anabat II detector and Storage ZCAIM are placed on their belts, cabled to the microphone and PDA which are held in the hand. While I personally don't like the idea of being limited by umbilicals, it does have the advantage of reducing the weight you have to carry on one hand.
Here are some notes on setting up a PDA. There are obviously other ways to do it, but I find the following arrangement works well for me.
Using ActiveSync 4.5
IPAQ 2190 (but it will be the same for other Win Mobile 5 devices)
Many of the principles are the same for later devices, but later Windows versions don't work with ActiveSync. If using Windows 7, you need the Windows Mobile Device Center (WMDC), which can be downloaded for free from Microsoft.
Setting your Time Zone
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, System, Clock and Alarms, and set up your time zone to suit your current location. It is important to make sure your PDA clock is correct when you use AnaPocket, as it determines the names of any Anabat files you save and allows you to relate those names to where you were at the time.
Name your PDA
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, System, About, Device ID
Enter a name for the Device Name (eg PDAname)
OK, OK. Make sure you tap on OK till you are back to the main screen. For good measure, you might benefit by turning the device off and back on again, then check that it still has the correct name.
Making the BatFiles folder
On your PDA, tap on Start, Programs, open File Explorer, open the My Documents folder (maybe already open - see the folder listed on the top line of File Explorer), tap and hold on open space, select New Folder, rename it BatFiles (be careful to get the case right!), close, close. NOTE - this is no longer necessary. Use Opts, Path in AnaPocket and tap on My Documents and OK.
On your PC, save the file AnaPocket.exe to a folder on your hard drive (eg into C:\AnaPocket). Connect the PDA to your computer using ActiveSync or WMDC. If you see a Synchronization Setup Wizard or something similar, dismiss it. You don't want any synchronization to occur, and you don't want to set up a partnership. Just get connected as a Guest and then Explore your PDA. In WMDC, choose the "Connect without setting up your device" option once a connection has been made, then "File Management" and "Browse the contents of your device". This will open an Explorer window into your PDA.
On your PC, in ActiveSync, click on Tools, Explore Pocket PC. This will bring up a typical Windows Explorer window on your PC, showing the contents of the My Documents folder on your PDA. Click on My Windows Mobile-based Device, which will take you up a level on your PDA. Now double click on Windows, then double click on Start Menu. This will display the contents of the Windows\Start Menu folder on your PDA. Copy the AnaPocket.exe file from your PC into this folder (eg by drag-and-drop from another instance of Windows Explorer on your PC). Close the Explorer window showing the PDA contents.
Copy the AnaPocket.exe file into the folder Windows, Start Menu on the PDA. Note that this might not work if there are 7 items already in your Start Menu. In that case, remove some items you don't use from the Start Menu.
Setting up the Start Menu
On your PDA, tap Start, Settings, Personal, Menus. You will now see a list of the programs which can be included on the Start Menu of your PDA, and it will include AnaPocket. To include AnaPocket on the Start Menu, you need to check the box beside AnaPocket. However, you will most likely need to remove other items from the Start Menu first to make room for AnaPocket on your Start Menu. To do that, uncheck other, unwanted items.
My recommendation is to remove everything by unchecking all the checked boxes, then check AnaPocket, and File Explorer as essential items and anything else you particularly want (up to a maximum of seven items). I find Calendar and Calculator useful, and Notes would be useful if you want to use the voice-recorder function on your PDA. Tap on OK and Close. Tapping Start will now reveal AnaPocket and your other chosen applications on the Start Menu.
Allocating AnaPocket to a button on your PDA.
I assign AnaPocket to BUTTON4 (the right hand button). This means that pressing Button 4 will automatically start AnaPocket, even if the PDA is switched off.
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, Personal, Buttons. Tap on Button 4 and under Assign a program, tap on the down arrow at the right hand end of the box to open up the selection of programs. Navigate through this till you find AnaPocket, and tap on that. You will now see AnaPocket assigned to button 4. You can change the other button assignments to suit your taste. Tap on OK, Close.
Adjusting the backlight.
You should set the backlight to the lowest possible setting (but on!) for operating under battery power, as otherwise the screen will be too bright for night-time use.
Remove any external power source from your PDA (eg a USB connection to ActiveSync) so it is running on battery power. On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, System, Backlight, Brightness and turn the On Battery slider down to the minimum setting at which the backlight is actually switched on.
Now tap on the Battery Power tab and uncheck the Turn off backlight box. This will prevent the device from turning off the backlight when it feels like it, which can be annoying. Tap on OK, Close.
Adjusting Power Settings
You will probably not want your PDA switching itself off whenever it feels like it while you are trying to record bat calls. So you want to disable that option.
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, System, Power, Advanced and under Battery Power, uncheck the box. You will probably want to make sure the box under On External Power is also unchecked.
Tap on the USB charging tab. You will probably want to check the box to Use USB Charging and select Fast Charge, though I'm not sure it makes any difference.
Tap on OK, Close.
Disabling Sounds and Notifications
These may be mostly a matter of personal taste, but some of the notifications apparently have the undesired impact of making the PDA turn itself on at unexpected times, rapidly flattening the battery when you are not even aware the device has been activated.
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, Personal, Sounds and Notifications, Notifications. My preference is to cycle through the entire list via the down arrow at the right hand end of the Event box, and turn off every checked option. Then tap on the Sounds tab and turn off all options there. Tap on OK, Close.
This procedure may well disable some features you would like, so make your own decisions, but just be aware of the risk of unwanted side-effects.
Disabling ActiveSync scheduling
On your PDA, tap on Start, ActiveSync (or maybe Start, Programs ActiveSync) to open ActiveSync. Tap on Menu and you will find the Schedule menu item greyed out. However, underlying scheduling might still be activated which will cause your PDA to activate itself when you don't want it to, resulting in a flat battery when you don't expect it.
First disconnect the PDA from your PC. To activate the Schedule menu item, you need to tap on Add Server Source and make up a completely fictional server so ActiveSync thinks a server will be connected. In Server Address, just put in any name (even a single letter), then tap on Next. In the same way, fake a User Name, Password and Domain. All you have to do is enter something in each field. Tap on Next, then Finish. Now tapping on Menu will show you the activated Schedule menu item. Tap on Schedule and set the options for Peak Times and Off-Peak Times both to Manually (at the top of the drop-down list). Uncheck Send Outgoing Items Immediately. Tap OK. Now you have disabled automatic scheduling.
Now delete the fake Server you entered. Tap on Menu, Options and select Exchange Server. Tap on Delete and Yes, then OK. Now if you tap on Menu, you will again find the Schedule menu item greyed out. Tap on Close to exit ActiveSync.
Customizing the Today Screen
This is entirely a matter of personal taste. I just prefer to have a much less cluttered screen to look at when I firsts turn my PDA on.
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, Personal, Today. Under the Appearance tab, you can choose a picture as background if you so desire. You would need to first upload the picture you want, much as you uploaded AnaPocket (above), but put it somewhere in you My Documents folder.
Tap on the Items tab and you can select which items appear on your Today screen. I'd suggest turning off everything except the date and the Today Panel (which offers you quick access to a few useful things). Tap on OK, Close and you will see a much simpler opening screen.
Turning off HP Protect Tools Reminders
Not sure this makes any difference, but I try to turn off everything which might make the PDA switch on by itself and waste battery power.
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, Personal, HP Protect Tools, then choose No and you will get to the Security Configuration screen. Uncheck the "Remind me about" box and set the period to its maximum time (2 months). Tap Finish, OK.
Setting up AnaPocket
The following section deals with how to setup AnaPocket once it has been installed on your PDA. To start AnaPocket, you can simply press Button 4 if you have allocated it to AnaPocket as described above. Otherwise, you can tap on Start, AnaPocket if AnaPocket is included on your Start Menu, or you can tap on Start Programs if it is stored there. If you can't find it, navigate to the file AnaPocket using File Explorer and tap on it there.
In AnaPocket, tap on Opts, Path and select Main Memory or My Documents, depending on the version. Tap on OK. You won't be able to check the appearance of any data unless you copy some Anabat files into the BatFiles folder.
Choice of screen colours is important because it will affect how well you can see the various items on the screen at night when it matters. It is wise to check the appearance in a dark place before having to use it for something which matters.
In AnaPocket, tap on Opts, Display, and tap on each of the Colours options to change the colour of that item. I prefer to use Black for the background, because it reduces the overall brightness of the display and makes it less distracting in actual field use.
The Ybars should be visible without being distracting. A dark Red or Blue will work well. The Status option chooses the background colour of the Status Bar at the bottom of the screen. I usually prefer to have it the same colour as the general screen Background chosen above. The Dots option selects the colour of the dots which show the calls on the screen. It should be a light colour to contrast well with the Background. I find yellow or green works well. The Scale options chooses the colour of the writing on the Status Bar and on the vertical and Horizontal Scales. It should be easy to read at a brief glance, but not be so bright as to be distracting. I like dark orange, for example.
These are the colours used to draw the GPS map if that is being used. They are selected by opening the Map (tap on GPS, Map) and tapping on the Colours button on the lower menu. The Map option sets the background colour, while the other three option set the colours of the various elements of the map. I prefer black for the background, yellow for the track, blue for the recent part of the track and red for the Current position marker.
Choosing display resolutions.
The resolution of the display is very important to how a bat call looks. The shape of a bat call (eg how steep it looks) is profoundly affected by both the horizontal and vertical resolutions. A call which looks quite steep at one setting can look quite flat in another.
You may find it most useful to use a consistent set of display settings, so that calls always look familiar to you. But this approach has its limitations, because if you move to another place, you may find you would be better off with a different frequency resolution, depending on what species of bats you might encounter. The best approach is to get comfortable understanding how the appearance of a bat call varies with different combinations of vertical and horizontal resolutions, so that you can make the leap to understanding the underlying nature of a call irrespective of what it looks like on the screen.
Tap on Opts, Freq to choose the maximum and minimum frequencies which can be displayed.
NOTE: Neither the maximum nor minimum frequency is likely to appear on the frequency scale. Also, frequencies outside the displayable range will still be properly stored in Anabat files saved in AnaPocket.
You can select preset values by tapping the buttons under the Min and Max labels. Alternatively, you can choose any value between 4 and 100 for the minimum frequency, or any value between 10 and 250 for the maximum.
There are several different possible values for the time scale, depending on what mode is being used to display the calls.
Open a file (save an Anabat file into the BatFiles folder first if necessary) then select each mode in turn (True, Comp and All), then for each mode, tap on Time and select the desired resolution. A good choice would be to use F6 for Comp, F1 for True and D4 for All if using a division ratio of 8, or D2 for All if using a division ratio of 16. I recommend always using a division ratio of 8 for data. This is the value selected as Data Div on an SD1 or SD2.
For recording, the necessary options can be set in Opts, Record. Again, use D4 (by selecting DPP = 4) if using a division ratio of 8, or D2 if using a division ratio of 16. It is also necessary to select the correct division ratio, according to what will be used by the bat detector to which the PDA is connected.
Choosing other Recording options.
Two other options need to be set up for Record mode. These can be chosen from the Opts, Record page. The AutoSave parameters should be set to LineLength = 5, Max TBC = 5 and Slack = 1. The Save On Cal should be checked, assuming you want to be able to control the saving of a file by pressing the Cal/Save button on the detector.
Turn Off the IR interface
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, Connections, Beam. Uncheck Receive all incoming beams. OK, Close.
Turn Off the Wireless
On your PDA, tap on Start, Settings, Connections, iPAQ Wireless. Turn Off any wireless interface installed, unless you need it (eg you will need the Bluetooth ON if you are going to use a Bluetooth GPS unit). OK, Close.
There is no help in the software, so here are the command details for the AnaPocket software.
There are 4 navigation buttons on the IPAQ models mentioned above, left to write these are called BUTTON1 to BUTTON4. Also a Jog dial, which provides UP, DOWN, LEFT, and RIGHT, and ACTION by pressing it in the middle.
There are 3 major modes of operation for the software:
For recording from the serial port of a Serial ZCAIM or SD1, or the serial or USB port of an SD2. In recording mode, incoming ZCA bat call data is displayed on the screen, and files can be saved either by pressing BUTTON4, by pressing the CAL button on the detector (providing SAVE ON CAL is checked in the OPTS/RECORD dialog). You can start recording by pressing BUTTON4, or by tapping Record in the Rec menu. There is another option, MONITOR mode, which can be entered by tapping Monitor in the Rec menu. Monitor mode is the same as Record mode, except that it also allows AnaPocket to decide when to save files for itself, when certain conditions are met, as set in the AutoSave Panel of the Opts/Record menu. The AutoSave parameters are the same as in the original Anabat, or the new AnalookW. Leaving RECORDING always displays the last file saved.
BUTTON1 exits recording, displays last file saved
BUTTON4 saves a file
UP increases horizontal magnification
DOWN decreases horizontal magnification
This is how you view files. When you quit recording, you go either into VIEW mode or WHOLEFILE mode depending on the setting of VIEW ALL OF NEWLY OPENED FILE in the OPTS/DISPLAY dialog, and if that option isn't checked, on the previous viewing condition. When RECORDING mode is quit, you either enter VIEW mode or WHOLEFILE mode.
BUTTON1 enters WHOLEFILE
BUTTON4 enters RECORD mode
UP loads previous file
DOWN loads next file
LEFT shifts display back one call
RIGHT shifts display forward one call
ACTION toggles between COMPRESSED and REALTIME modes
This view of a file lets you see the entire file contents compressed onto the screen by overlapping consecutive screens. It is used to give you a quick view of the entire file, though this might not work well if different calls of similar frequency are in the same file. If VIEW ALL OF NEWLY OPENED FILE is checked in the OPTS/DISPLAY dialog, this is the view which will always be used for a newly opened file. When RECORDING mode is quit, you will always enter WHOLEFILE mode if VIEW ALL OF NEWLY OPENED FILE is checked.
BUTTON1 exits application (via a dialolg to ask if you are sure)
BUTTON4 enters VIEW mode
UP loads previous file
DOWN loads next file
Frequency range of the display can be controlled from the OPTS/FREQ dialog. You should probably set a range which is appropriate for your purposes and stick to it, since the frequency range has a major impact on how the calls look.
Magnification is controlled using the Time menu. The current magnification state is indicated by the Magnification Panel (2 characters wide) on the Status Bar with the following codes:
F1 to F0 Various magnifications corresponding to the Function keys in Analook or Anabat
D1 to D4 A new set of views which correspond to those available in RECORDING. Each dot in the display is placed on a new column of pixels in D1, two dots are placed on one column of pixels in D2 etc. D1 is equivalent to the Compressed recording mode in Anabat. In these modes, magnification, in terms of pixels per millisecond, varies with frequency as follows:
D1, division ratio = 16, 32 kHz corresponds to F7.
The logic of this is:
At a division ratio of 16, each 8 cycles of the input frequency produces one dot on the screen, since there is one dot per transition, not one dot per cycle. At 32 kHz, there are therefore 4 dots per millisecond. Major tick marks are placed every 40 pixel columns. Therefore, major tick marks in this case represent 10 ms, which corresponds to F7.
D1, division ratio = 16, 64 kHz corresponds to F8
D1, division ratio = 16, 12.8 kHz corresponds to F6
D2, division ratio = 16, 64 kHz corresponds to F7, since now there are two dots per pixel column, the magnification is halved.
D2, division ratio = 16, 25.6 kHz corresponds to F6
D2, division ratio = 16, 12.8 kHz corresponds to F5
D2, division ratio = 8, 64 kHz corresponds to F8
D2, division ratio = 8, 32 kHz corresponds to F7
D2, division ratio = 8, 12.8 kHz corresponds to F6
D2 at division ratio of 8 is equivalent in magnification to D1 at division ratio of 16, but with twice as many dots per pixel column.
D4, division ratio = 8, 64kHz corresponds to F7
D4, division ratio = 8, 25.6 kHz corresponds to F6
D4, division ratio = 8, 12.8 kHz corresponds to F5
Division Ratio is set in the OPTS/RECORD dialog.
Because of the limited screen width on a PDA, I recommend using D2 for a division ratio of 16 and D4 for a division ratio of 8. Again, try to be consistent, as the magnification profoundly affects how a call looks on the screen. These days, I much prefer using Div 8 for nearly all purposes.
In WHOLEFILE view, or while recording, only the D1 to D4 options are available. In REALTIME mode, only the F1 to F0 options are available (after all, D1 to D4 cannot produce a REALTIME image!). In COMPRESSED view, F1 to F0 and D1 to D4 are all available. The last-used setting for each mode is saved separately from the others, so that when next you select a particular mode, it will have the same magnification it had when you last used it.
All of the functionality of the buttons can be duplicated with the stylus. Tapping the screen in the right place will act as a button press. In fact, this is an easier option for looking back at files, once you get the hang of it. There are several different tap zones, and most of them are not indicated in any way, so you need to learn where they are in order to use them.
Toggle F-T graph and GPS plot - tapping the main part of the screen will toggle between these displays (see below) if GPS is active.
Previous File - tap one of the left three digits of the Filename Panel
Next File - tap one of the right three digits of the Filename Panel
Start of File - tap the left arrow in the upper rectangle at the left of the time scale.
End of File - tap the right arrow in the lower rectangle at the left of the time scale.
Move Right in File - tapping the upper part of the time scale (where the tick marks are) brings the part of the file above that point to the left of the screen.
Move Left in File - tapping the lower part of the time scale (where the numbers are) brings the part of the file above that point to the right of the screen.
VIEW / WHOLEFILE toggle - tapping in the middle of the Filename Panel toggles between WHOLEFILE and VIEW modes
VIEW from WHOLEFILE - When in WHOLEFILE, tapping on the word "All" will take you out of WHOLEFILE mode.
COMPRESSED VIEW - when in REALTIME mode, tapping on the word "True" will take you to COMPRESSED mode
REALTIME VIEW - when in COMPRESSED mode, tapping on the word "Comp" will take you to REALTIME mode.
Magnification Up - tapping at the right edge of the Magnification Panel increases the magnification. This tap zone includes the right character of the Magnification Panel and the space to the right of that. In practice, it will often be easier to select the magnification from the Time menu.
Magnification Down - tapping at the left edge of the Magnification Panel decreases the magnification. This tap zone includes the left character of the Magnification Panel and the space to the left of that. In practice, it will often be easier to select the magnification from the Time menu.
Decrease Filtering - tap on left edge of Filter Panel to decrease filtering. This tap zone includes the left character of the Filter Panel (where it says "Z") and the space to the left of that.
Increase Filtering - tap on right edge of Filter Panel to increase filtering. This tap zone includes the right character of the Filter Panel and the space to the right of that.
Stop Recording - while recording, tapping on the word Record will stop recording - same effect as BUTTON1.
Save File - while recording, tapping on the filename will save a file - same effect as BUTTON4.
All of the functionality of the buttons and menus can be duplicated by touching the screen in the right place. The important thing to remember here is the two zones which are drawn on the screen when AnaPocket first starts up. On the lower left of the screen, but just above the time scale, there is a menu zone where a touch takes you into the entire menu system via touch. On the lower right of the screen, but just above the time scale, there is a full-screen zone where you can toggle full-screen mode on and off. Full-screen uses more screen real-estate for drawing the graphs, and it gets rids of the annoyingly bright bars at the top and bottom of the screen. The menus disappear in full-screen mode, but can still be used, either by toggling full-screen off or by touching the menu zone.
A GPS can (and should, in my view) be used to directly store positional co-ordinates in a file in the PDA and to directly store GPS position data into the Anabat files produced. At this time, I would only consider a GPS unit which uses the Sirf III chipset. In my experience, the Sirf III chipset gives vastly better performance than any GPS I have previously used. It gets a signal under much more restrictive circumstances, and I rarely lose a signal even in deep forest.
I used to use a Bluetooth GPS unit which allowed wireless connection to the PDA without adding any weight in your hand. However, I now prefer to use a Compact Flash GPS, because I have found these to be more reliable and less hassle than the Bluetooth devices. A good example is the GlobalSat BC-337, which is a Sirf III unit and has proven very reliable in my experience. The Bluetooth interface proved a bit flakey, and I would sometimes (not very often, but maybe once a night) lose the connection between the GPS and the PDA. Unfortunately, recovering from this situation was not always completely straightforward. In the worst cases, I would have to reboot the PDA and turn the GPS off and then on again before I could re-establish a connection. This was just too much of a nuisance when actively monitoring in the field.
With a CF GPS, it's really just a matter of plugging the GPS in and setting the right port in AnaPocket, then waiting for it to get its first fix after telling it to connect. It has proven very reliable. On my IPAQ 2215 I tap on GPS, Settings, then set the baud rate to 4800 and the port to 7. The time zone needs to be set correctly for your current location. Tap OK then GPS, Connect and the red LED on the BC-337 starts glowing. It flashes when valid fixes are obtained. On two Win Mobile 5 units, the settings are for Port 6 on one and Port 3 on the other. You may have to experiment a bit to find the right port. I find that the red LED on the GPS glows dully at first then flashes as soon as you tap connect, if the right port has been selected. On a Windows Mobile 6 device, the GPS seems to be always on. This is a nuisance because the GPS must be removed if you expect the battery to last for a while when the device is not in use. However, it can be helpful when the GPS device is already getting fixes before you start AnaPocket.
In later versions of AnaPocket, there is a much better interface to the serial ports. In the GPS, Settings dialog, you will see a Refresh button just to the right of where it says "Port List". To locate the correct port for the GPS, follow the protocol below. It may seem complex, but it will simplify getting the GPS connected.
1) Remove the GPS from the PDA
2) Make sure the Port List isn't open. It should be empty or contain just one port number. If it is open, tap the down arrow at the right hand end of the list, and the list will close.
3) Tap the Refresh button. You will probably have to dismiss a message about Bluetooth.
4) Open the port list by tapping the down arrow at the right hand end
5) Note which ports are listed.
6) Insert the GPS into the CF slot. Make sure it is correctly seated and fully inserted. NEVER force it into place - you will bend the pins and never be able to use it again!
7) Make sure the Port List isn't open. It should be empty or contain just one port number. If it is open, tap the down arrow at the right hand end of the list, and the list will close.
8) Tap the Refresh button. You will probably have to dismiss a message about Bluetooth.
9) Open the port list by tapping the down arrow at the right hand end
10) Note which ports are listed. The new port will be the correct GPS port. If you don't see any new port, then make sure the GPS is seated properly.
11) With the port list still open, tap on the new port number to select it.
12) Click OK. The correct port will now be chosen.
When the GPS is connected, you will see a separate character appear on the status bar just to the left of the Time. These characters mean:
- The GPS is not currently getting fixes.
g The GPS is providing 2D non-differential fixes
G The GPS is providing 3D non-differential fixes
d The GPS is providing 2D differential mode fixes
D The GPS is providing 3D differential mode fixes
Providing you are getting valid fixes, you can then synchronize your PDA clock to the GPS by clicking on GPS/SET CLOCK.
After a session is completed, you should close the GPS connection, either by pressing GPS/DISCONNECT, or just by closing AnaPocket. A file of GPS fixes, called GPS.ABG will appear in your BatFiles folder. This is in a terse, esoteric format which you can't currently read directly, but you can convert it in AnalookW from the Tools menu so it will have the same format as the GPS.TXT files derived from CFCread. Also, any Anabat files you saved will have the GPS co-ordinates automatically entered into them. These will be visible in AnalookW, and you can make use of them to generate maps of where bats were recorded from Anahead, available from the Tools menu in AnalookW. You can also generate a GPX file containing both the track you followed (from the GPS.ABG file) and the bat positions as waypoints. This is accomplished using File, Make GPS file in AnalookW. You can drop this file straight into Google Earth, for example.
It always seemed a pity to be using a GPS and not be able to make use of this to display the track you have taken. I have now included a GPS Map facility which shows a very basic display of the GPS track saved in the GPS.ABG file. Whenever the GPS is receiving valid fixes, the Map will be updated to reflect the current position.
To access the Map, choose Map from the GPS menu. As long as the GPS is active, you can also jump to the Map by simply tapping in any part of the main Frequency-time screen. Likewise, tapping in any part of the main GPS Map screen will take you back to the F-t display. Note that while recording, if you save a file (eg by pressing the detector's Cal button briefly), this will remove all the file contents from memory. Even though it doesn't normally remove the latest call data from the screen, if the screen is hidden by the Map display, when you switch back to the F-t display, the data saved in the previous file will no longer be visible. It will still be saved in the PDA, but will only become visible if you stop recording and look at the file. Therefore, for many purposes, it would be better to switch screens by tapping on the Map display briefly, before saving the next file. I find it is quite easy to switch between screens by simply gently flicking the middle of the screen with the back of a fingernail.
The Map offers you several different resolutions. The selected screen resolution will reflect the width and height of the map display. So if the 300m button is clicked, the height and width will be about 300m. North is always up on the screen.
I have found that if I keep moving, the accuracy improves, but if I stay stationary, it often wanders over a considerable range. I expect this would be especially the case if the signal is marginal. The Sirf III chipset seems to do an amazing job of getting fixes under difficult conditions, but I presume this is achieved by sacrificing accuracy. It is therefore best to think of the GPS as giving you approximate positions which are useful for many purposes, but of limited value for trying to locate a particular tree, for example. The 1km resolution gives you a more meaningful idea of your track in relation to the accuracy achievable.
Please note that under some conditions, the All resolution option causes the screen to keep drawing itself. Better not to use it. If this happens to you, just try to change the resolution in the normal way, though this might take a bit of fiddling about, because the map is constantly being redrawn.
The idea of the GPS Map is really to help you find your way about at night. I have often been in the situation of wandering around looking for bats and getting a bit confused as to where I am. This is where the Map can really help. You can easily see where you are in relation to the track you have taken. If you pay attention at intervals to the Map, you will readily get a sense of how things lie and where you are in relation to them. The Map shows three kinds of points, which can be selected to be in different colours. The Track is where you have been since the current GPS.ABG file was started. The Recent points are the last 100 points in the track, with the exception that all new points will be plotted in the Recent colour until the Map is redrawn. The Current point is where you are currently located, and is displayed as a larger square. The idea of plotting Recent points in a different colour is that then you can more easily tell the direction in which you are currently travelling.
By selecting BigDots in the colour dialog, you can make the dots in the display larger, which might help visibility, but at the cost of resolution.
It is possible to simultaneously use a standard GPS program while using AnaPocket. This could be achieved by using the Franson GpsGate software, or similar serial splitter software, to split the serial port so it can be used by different programs. Using a Bluetooth Globalsat BT-338, I have tried this using two GPS programs running simultaneously with AnaPocket, and it worked fine. All three programs used the same virtual output port from GpsGate, all getting data from the same BT-338.
Win Mobile 5 has a GPS splitting program of its own, which is accessed by tapping Start, Settings, System, GPS. I tried it with a CF based BC-337 and tried running both AnaPocket and Visual GPSce simultaneously. It worked, but very poorly, so I wouldn't recommend it, unless you can find a way to do it better. I recommend setting all the options to None under Start, Settings, System, GPS.
1) set the backlight intensity as low as possible for night work. By using dark colours, you can reduce the glare and help retain your night vision. You might even want to cover the screen with a red plastic cover if it is too bright. This is improved in later versions of AnaPocket where it is possible to go full-screen, which gets rid of the brightly coloured bars at the top and bottom of the screen.
2) Make sure you install a protective cover over the PDA screen. These covers are thin, flexible, clear plastic screens which take the brunt of the stylus impacts. When they become too degraded, you can easily replace them with a new cover, and the more delicate screen itself will still be in pristine condition. Such covers are readily obtained, but tend to be specific to a particular model of PDA.
3) I have 2 spare batteries for my PDA. How you do this will depend on the life you get out of the PDA battery and how long you need the unit to run. But it would be annoying to have to give up for the night because your one battery has gone flat.
4) A headlamp is a great asset for many purposes, but for walking around on uneven ground, the lack of shadows can be misleading and put you at risk of tripping over and damaging your equipment. I use a separate, LED headlamp mounted on an adjustable belt around my middle. This so-called "belly beacon" gives much better shadows, and also benefits from being closer to the ground, so its light has more impact. It also doesn't reflect off glasses etc, so is less distracting.
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