Virtualization, Cloud, Infrastructure and all that stuff in-between

My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together

Be your own Big Brother


During my work and personal life I’ve travelled around a lot – sometimes by car sometimes flying, I’ve always held an odd fasincation in being able to visualise where I have been over time and tot up just how far I’ve travelled in a period.

When I started cycling again a couple of years ago I found a neat solution for my cycle routes – you can read a bit more about that here

I really like the Instamapper solution and the fact it has a Blackberry app (Android and iPhone too I believe) so when I recently got a new Blackberry with a built-in GPS, so I thought it would be an interesting experiment to track my movements 24/7 so I could see where I have been as I no longer had a dependency on an external bluetooth GPS.


It definitely impacts battery life, I get about 24-36hrs out of a single charge on my BB with it running compared to at least 60 without it running.

It automatically starts the GPS at boot so you won’t forget to switch it on, which is a handy feature.

The Instamapper website is great; it lets you export tracks in a format that works with Google Earth and includes timestamps so you can use the replay feature to watch a sped-up version of your trip – especially funny if you got lost somewhere in the car as you can gradually watch you circling and missing your destination Smile


the web-service simply logs GPS co-ordinates, speed and timestamps from your device and you can split them down into individual “tracks” if you know the start/end times of your journey – I use a 5min sample frequency and the updates to the web-service are buffered if you don’t have a network connection.


Below are some example tracks; the top one is across a month and included a family holiday to Euro Disney via Eurostar, multiple trips to and from customers and the office and a trip to Derry in Ireland.



(Phone was switched off on the plane, but maybe leaving the GPS running might be an interesting, if illegal experiment Smile)

If you are similarly minded I’d encourage you to check out Instamapper, and best of all – it’s FREE! Smile

One response to “Be your own Big Brother

  1. Phil Robins January 19, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I like it – will try that – if it works on my crap iPhone 3g 8GB – look forward to my next upgrade in a month or so!

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