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Old 09-14-2011, 02:02 AM   #1
pdacton
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iPhone GPS lap timer that actually works!

I've finally found a way to get high quality GPS lap timing data into an iPhone. The iPhone's built-in GPS is useless - it updates at 1 Hz, and sometimes it positions you 500 feet off the track! There is now an Apple-approved GPS, called the Emprum Ultimate, which plugs into the iPhone and updates at 5 Hz, and is accurate to around 10-20 feet. Combined with Harry's Lap Timer app, it can generate data like this (I acquired this today at Thunderbolt Raceway in New Jersey Motorsports Park).

First image is a graph of speed (y-axis) against lap distance (x-axis). The red line is my fastest lap, compared against the white line (where I was being held up by another car). The gray histogram in the background is the cumulative time difference between the two laps.


Second image is zoomed in to a smaller section, which is shown highlighted on the track map behind the graph.



Third image is the lateral g-forces recorded around the track map, color-coded from green, to yellow, to red (> 1g).



The really cool thing about this is you can transfer the data from the iPhone to an iPad via bluetooth, then analyze it in detail immediately after the session. It'll do a lot more too - it also acquires OBDII data via a wireless device (e.g. Kiwi wifi), so you can overlay engine parameters (e.g. rpm) on to GPS data.
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:15 AM   #2
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oh wow. That's pretty awesome there.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:37 PM   #3
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Oh, and I forgot to mention it will acquire video from the iPhone too, and overlay the GPS and OBDII data on the video. Didn't test that - it's too much for my aging iPhone 3GS to handle!
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:19 PM   #4
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I use it. Harry's Laptimer. Good stuff.

Here's a lap that I filmed using it on iPhone 4.
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Old 09-14-2011, 09:47 PM   #5
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Do they make something like this for android?
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Z K View Post
I use it. Harry's Laptimer. Good stuff.

Here's a lap that I filmed using it on iPhone 4.
Did you use the iPhone's built-in GPS, or do you have the Emprum UltiMate?
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:33 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by pdacton View Post
Did you use the iPhone's built-in GPS, or do you have the Emprum UltiMate?
I used the built-in GPS. The accuracy is pretty good - the draw back is the update rate is not as good. You'll notice that in the video the speed refresh rate is sometimes jerky or delayed because of this. Actual top speeds on the straights were higher than it actually shows.

Harry has mentioned that the iPhone 4 has a better GPS implementation than the older iPhones and it has improved with each generation.

I even used this at a much smaller autocross track and it was very accurate down to a couple of feet - this is not a predefined course and I mapped it in real time.
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:50 AM   #8
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Do they make something like this for android?
No idea, I'm afraid. I think there was a thread on that not too long ago.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:30 PM   #9
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The built-in GPS on the iphone4 is not accurate enough for road courses. The speeds are too high. My buddy with a GTR was getting 70mph down the straightaway when in reality he was going 130mph. External gps is definitely the way to go. I havent switched over to harry's laptimer for 2 reasons
1) video overlay is only one lap at a time, you skip every other for some reason
2) no support for obd-key (bluetooth) yet
3) unable to link to 2 bluetooth sources at a time (GPS and obdII)
4) need to jailbreak for for certain uses

correct me if I'm wrong on any of these issues
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Old 09-16-2011, 07:32 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by orthojoe View Post
The built-in GPS on the iphone4 is not accurate enough for road courses. The speeds are too high. My buddy with a GTR was getting 70mph down the straightaway when in reality he was going 130mph. External gps is definitely the way to go. I havent switched over to harry's laptimer for 2 reasons
1) video overlay is only one lap at a time, you skip every other for some reason
2) no support for obd-key (bluetooth) yet
3) unable to link to 2 bluetooth sources at a time (GPS and obdII)
4) need to jailbreak for for certain uses

correct me if I'm wrong on any of these issues
You should try the new Emprum Ultimate GPS - it's tiny, plugs into the iPhone, has a 5 Hz update rate, and is MUCH more accurate than the built-in GPS. No need to jailbreak - it's Apple-approved, and only $90. Makes Harrys Lap Timer a viable option. I compared the GPS speed with my OBDII logged speed and they were within 1-2 mph of each other, even at 120+ mph.

I haven't tried obd-key, but it works great with Kiwi wifi. Also haven't tried video - that will have to wait until I upgrade my old iPhone 3GS to a iPhone 5!
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