Simple Stuff 2 - Franchise Territories on the Palm - Part 1

By Hal Reid

The logic of trying to put franchise territories on a PDA is just like other things on a PDA.It's a handy place to have the information in a very portable device.

I am going to try to create a territory initially for the Palm O/S devices - My Palm VII and my Visor.But, in this column, I am only going to address the first step, capturing the anchor points, because that is actually the easiest part of the process.

The reason for using GPS generated points as anchors for a Franchise Territory is that maps change, and latitude and longitude probably won't, unless we get a new prime meridian.Also, the description generated of a polygon using those anchors is more easily recreated in the future than a map of the city limits of some town as of 1963.

You may remember in part I of Simple Stuff, I listed the NavMan GPS receiver for the Palm VII as part of the tools I had to work with.So, to create the initial points of my Franchise Territory, I used the Palm VII and the NavMan.However, it was not just that simple.

The NavMan that I have was from Rand McNally, and was bundled with software.While the software (Street Finder) was great for some things, it did not capture and log individual points.The information I needed was simply a lat/long plus time and date.I then wanted it to be captured and uploaded to the PC from the Palm.

On the Web, I found (via the Palm website), Cetus GPS, ( version is 1.0b12, which is free.This provided exactly what I needed to capture the points.Of course, it also tracks too.Cetus captures points and then posts each one to the Palms' memo pad.This software appears to work with most standard Palm compatible GPS receivers.

To give you an idea of how easy this is to use, My 16 year old daughter and I drove to our local retail area and identified the 4 points used to bracket it.She had almost two minutes training just before we left, she captured, I drove.

The whole process works like this: Let NavMan acquire the satellites and locate where you are.Poke in the upper left hand corner of the Palm screen where it says the type of fix you have (3-D, 2-D, etc), and a pull down will appear.Select Waypoint, write in the point name in the text field on the screen, and save.Repeat for each point.When you have captured all the points, you need to bracket your territory, then HotSync, and finally, open the Palm desktop where they will all be in the Memo Pad.They are on the Palm Memo Pad too.

Cetus looks like this on the Palm:

The arrow in the compass rose points to the direction you are headed, it reports your speed, heading, altitude, time and date and of course, the coordinates of your position.All of these can be changed to different formats, feet, meters, etc.

The capture screen looks like this:

Photographing a Palm is not easy, the capture screen actually shows these fields,

  • Name (auto numbered) - You can enter info here too.
  • Text - where you can enter information about the point
  • Latitude - populated from the capture screen
  • Longitude - populated from the capture screen
  • Altitude - populated from the capture screen
  • Time - populated from the capture screen Satellites - this is the number the NavMan had sync'd with at the time of capture
  • HDOP - This is the "Horizontal Dilution of Precision" which indicates how precise the point reading is.

After I HotSync'd, my four points were in the memo pad (Palm Desktop), just as advertised.From there, I cut and pasted the points to Excel, which now looks like this.

Where Lat Long Atl Date-Time
Simple Stuff Point 1 42.01825 -71.484602 304 ft 10:57 20-01-02
Simple Stuff Point 2 42.013247 -71.480137 303 ft 11:03 20-01-02
Simple Stuff Point 3 42.016438 -71.45944 447 ft 11:09 20-01-02
Simple Stuff Point 4 42.010698 -71.459197 437 ft 11:14 20-01-02

Now they are ready to go into any number of mapping programs, which will be the topic of my next issue of Simple Stuff.(You will note I forgot to capture the HDOP but did remember to multiply the longitude by -1).

Next time we will put the points in a map and try to create the Franchise Territory.

One last point (pun intended), I am sure there is a better process.It would be nice to go right from capture to placing the points into a mapping program right on the Palm.But, before you email me a solution, remember we need to create a territory and see some information about the territory.A better way to get the points into Excel would also be a nice touch.If you have a better way, let me know.

If you would like to contact Mr.Reid, please email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Published Thursday, February 7th, 2002

Written by Hal Reid

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