GPS based GoPro camera control for Android - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 13 Old 04-28-2014, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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GPS based GoPro camera control for Android

I've recently bought a GoPro camera to make videos of my rides. But most of my usual routes through twisties include boring towns and indeed, to get to interesting places I usually take the highway. I've hated the fact that I need to get off my motorbike to turn on the camera on and off to save power while riding through uninteresting bits.

So I've written an Android app that enables handsfree control of the camera. The idea is to set up in advance the points at which you wish to start and stop recordings, put the device in your pocket and forget about it. The device then uses GPS to monitor your position and turns the camera on/off at these points.

The GoPro GPS app is available in the Google Play store and it's free. Anyone interested is invited to check it out. And comments are, of course, welcome.

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post #2 of 13 Old 04-28-2014, 12:03 PM
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That's sweet, I'll have to try it out. I wonder why GoPro hasn't come up with this feature in their app?

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post #3 of 13 Old 04-28-2014, 05:06 PM
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I'd be interested if it ever gets ported to ios

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post #4 of 13 Old 04-29-2014, 08:22 AM
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@ JanK. I tried it on my phone but it was overloading the Ram (RAZR MAXX on 4.1.2). There is no "exit" button and it always running in background. You need to improve it: add "start/stop record" for example. You add the points but you can't know when it start or stop recording. Nice idea though

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post #5 of 13 Old 04-29-2014, 06:21 PM
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the problem with this...

the fact that having the wifi on on the gopro with the camera "off" will use more juice than simply leaving the camera on and stop the recording manually, which is very easy to do given the fact that the gopro has nice big buttons.

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post #6 of 13 Old 04-29-2014, 06:47 PM
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Not if it is swingarm mounted... Cool app. The most hands free way to use the go pro

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post #7 of 13 Old 04-30-2014, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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@Todi: thanks for suggestions.

It does indeed run in the background. But only the part that checks the camera connection and updates the status every two seconds. Once the WiFi is on, the power used by sending small packets are negligible compared to keeping the WiFi on in the first place (not to mention GPS when you're actually controlling the camera).

I'm surprised by high RAM use, but will investigate when I have the chance. Currently I'm away from my computer until 13th of May, so anything will have to wait until then.

I've thought about adding some sort of audio and/or vibration indicator of when the recording starts or stops, perhaps a different beep for start/stop and, e.g., two vibrations for starts, one for stop. It shouldn't be hard.

Otherwise the indicator is there - the light on the "Record" button. If you go into settings and check the "Manual camera control", the two buttons "Power" and "Record" become enabled (provided the camera's connected) and you can manually turn camera on/off and start/stop recording.

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post #8 of 13 Old 04-30-2014, 10:39 AM
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Maybe have the app change the led flasher colors on devices like the S4. Slow flashing red for recording. Jist like the go pro. Hell maybe even have it flash and beep 3 times quickly just like the go pro

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post #9 of 13 Old 04-30-2014, 11:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JanK View Post
@Todi: thanks for suggestions.

It does indeed run in the background. But only the part that checks the camera connection and updates the status every two seconds. Once the WiFi is on, the power used by sending small packets are negligible compared to keeping the WiFi on in the first place (not to mention GPS when you're actually controlling the camera).

I'm surprised by high RAM use, but will investigate when I have the chance. Currently I'm away from my computer until 13th of May, so anything will have to wait until then.

I've thought about adding some sort of audio and/or vibration indicator of when the recording starts or stops, perhaps a different beep for start/stop and, e.g., two vibrations for starts, one for stop. It shouldn't be hard.

Otherwise the indicator is there - the light on the "Record" button. If you go into settings and check the "Manual camera control", the two buttons "Power" and "Record" become enabled (provided the camera's connected) and you can manually turn camera on/off and start/stop recording.
I'll retest it later this week and let you know. Please add the "exit" option so it will stop working in background when not in use (Motorola phones are not user friendly on closing the apps).

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post #10 of 13 Old 06-12-2014, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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A little later than I would have liked, but a new version is (or soon will be) in the Google Play store.

It's much more resource friendly and is completely dormant when not controlling the camera.

The status is shown more clearly with green Power/Record/Control buttons.

It also has an additional "Speed" mode where instead of using location to trigger recording, it uses speed. Recording starts above a certain speed and stops (after some delay) below this speed.

An finally the default theme is now light for better outside visibility. The old theme is user-selectable in the settings.

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post #11 of 13 Old 06-19-2014, 08:55 AM
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What am I doing wrong? I set the trigger points (see pic) but the camera did not record (wifi on, connection verified, etc). BTW, the points are all blue and you don't know what point is "rec" and what point is "stop".

image-2939908843.jpg

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post #12 of 13 Old 06-23-2014, 12:19 PM
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This is sweet, I'll have to try this out. I'm using an S4

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post #13 of 13 Old 06-23-2014, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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@Todi: you can change the type of trigger by touching its marker on the map. A dialogue that allows you to change the trigger type appears. The default type is "Toggle" (blue marker). Camera recording is turned ON if not recording and OFF if recording. The reasoning is that if there's a particular section of road that you wish to record, you set the toggles at both end of the section and the recording is turned on once you've entered the section and turned off after you've left it, regardless of the direction from which you enter the section.

But you can change the type of trigger into "Start" (green marker, always starts recording) and "Stop" (red marker, always stops recording). There's also the option to "Restart" (orange marker) that you could use on a track to make one video per lap. And for more fine-grained control, you can set any trigger to activate only when it's passed in a certain direction.

Note that all of this is also explained in the context-sensitive help for the Triggers Map screen and the Trigger Properties screen. Each screen has its own help, accessible via menu (the three dots at the top-right of the screen).

As to why it doesn't work, I'd need more information. I have only tested the software on two Android devices (HTC One Mini and Nexus 10) with the GoPro Hero3+ Black edition and it has worked perfectly in both combinations. It is possible that other combinations somehow don't work.

Could you please make the following checks:
- Turn on the manual camera control: use menu, select "Settings", scroll down until you see "Manual camera control" and check the checkbox.
- Turn off the "Synchronise camera time" on the same settings screen (it could perhaps cause problems).
- Turn off the "Conserve camera power".
- On the main screen see if the "Power" and "Record" buttons do what they should do.

If so, the communication between the app and camera works as it should. You might want to turn the "Synchronise camera time" and/or "Conserve camera power" back on and test the Power and Record buttons again.

If everything works, then it's possible that there might be some problems with the acquisition of GPS data. But from the screenshot I see that the blue dot signifying "My Position" is on the map (near the Greenbelt Park), so apparently the location information is being acquired.

Perhaps you don't have the location mode set to use the GPS data, instead it may just use the WiFi and mobile network tower locations for an approximate location. For that you'd have to check the manual for your device, since this seems to be highly Android version and device dependent.

In the new version, there's an indicator on the main screen (just to the right of the "Location/Speed" radio buttons) that indicates the state of GPS data. Once the indicator turns green, the location should be good enough. If you select the speed mode, it should also display the current speed of the device. If the indicator stays red, there's almost certainly something wrong with the device's location settings.

There are two things you could try. First increase the trigger radius (in the Settings menu) to a large number, e.g., 100 metres. If that causes the app to start working properly, the location accuracy might be low. However, looking at the Google Earth map of the trigger locations, that seems unlikely.

You could also try the speed trigger - instead of location the recording is turned on above a certain speed and off below that speed (after some delay). By default the speed it's 5m/s, around 11mph. You could use the Settings menu to set it to 1m/s, which is 2.2mph, a slow walking pace. So the camera should start recording as soon as you start walking and stop 5 seconds after you stop walking (this is also configurable in the Settings menu).

If after all this you still cannot get the camera to turn on, there's apparently some bug in the software or you happen to have a camera that somehow works differently to the one I have. But please do the tests I've described and report back, so that I can have some clues where to look and isolate the problem.

And it everything else fails, I will add some logging code into the application to write a text file containing debug information.

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