Maybe not in the right place - But :) GPS Configuration Management

mbarbeau.atl's Avatar


12 Sep, 2017 08:19 PM


For each SAR activity, we use many GPS. Each time, we must take time to validate if the GPS are correctly configured.

The time to validate the GPS is very precious and sometime this is error prone :) This is done by hand and most of the time not by a technical person. The validations are very important because the GPS must be hand over to police after the SAR. The GPX on the GPS will be only usable if the GPS was correctly set.

So, with the idea to lower the number of errors, I tried to create a prototype in PowerShell that will:
1. Link to the USB gps,
2. Do a small backup (configuration files and gpx)
3. Validate the configuration files
      o True north correctly set
      o Distance alarm is set
      o etc.
4. Change the bad setting
5. Do a small report

The prototype works well... It took only few secondes to backup and validate/set the GPS.

So, I think it will be very interesting to add this kind of feature since a SAR activity uses specific methodology. So the tools (GPS) should also be configured in a certain way based on how the SAR is conducted. By hand, this is long :) With small programming, we update the configuration of a Garmin GPS very easily!


  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by matt on 15 Sep, 2017 06:11 PM

    matt's Avatar

    Is this only on newer Garmin GPSs (that support USB mass storage) by directly writing the configuration file, or some other way?

    Most configuration settings should have no impact on the recorded track, including the GPS's datum and coordinate system - the points are all stored as WGS84 / decimal degrees internally, and converted at display time. If your concern is for the GPX file, which settings are you seeing affecting that?

  2. 2 Posted by mbarbeau.atl on 18 Sep, 2017 03:38 PM

    mbarbeau.atl's Avatar

    Yes this is on the newer Garmin GPS. But the "newer" are quite old :) My Oregon 450 was almost 7 years old and they still use the same system.

    Indeed, most configurations have no direct impact on the GPX files itself. But, the non-technical guy will not understand this. But, our biggest offender are the track log activation/configuration. Many SAR responders doesn't understand how a GPS works. Let say, "how to activate the trace". They don't understand how to do it, but they know the riddle :) :
    menu->menu->trace->track logs->on|off

    So, since they don't understand "track log", etc. they are not able to confirm and have confident in the GPS configuration.

    So, since SARTOPO is used as a tool to manage SAR activities, I think it will be a good idea to add a "plugin/section" to manage the GPS configuration:)

    And backup, reset the track logs as well can be optimized with a script. This is easy to do manually for 1 or 2 GPS, but for 10 GPS you will need time...

    Thanks a lot for your time!


  3. 3 Posted by mbarbeau.atl on 18 Sep, 2017 06:14 PM

    mbarbeau.atl's Avatar

    I started my research from this thread

    and this:

    The Fenix and Garmin Oregon and 64 used the same values

    At the end, it's only a matter of XML manipulation (read and writes values) Not very complicated... Well maybe if the purpose if to have something dummy proof :)

  4. 4 Posted by caver456 on 19 Sep, 2017 04:29 AM

    caver456's Avatar

    Hi, as a mostly unaffiliated SAR volunteer and techie, I'm also a bit
    confused as to why you need to be concerned with configuration at all.

    Most of our searchers have different configurations on their GPSes, but
    very very few of those config settings affect the actual data (i.e. the
    recorded track and any relevant waypoints).

    We specifically choose to not be concerned with configuration - it would be
    a real hassle with very little benefit from our point of view.

    For example, some of our searchers probably have their track recording set
    to auto and most often, some have it set to distance and 10 meters, but as
    long as the tracks look usable on the screen when we download them,
    everything is good and we are not concerned with what recording method and
    interval they used. (There are always exceptions: I did see one searcher's
    GPS that had method set to distance and interval set to 1 kilometer...)
     Can you clarify some more why you are concerned with configuration? Are
    you saying that your law enforcement agency treats the data as unusable if
    the method and interval are other than one specific allowed set of values
    like auto and most often? If that's the case, I'm curious why they care
    and what they have to do to verify it... If there's room for you to give
    feedback to your team on this topic (and if I'm understanding correctly),
    I'd strongly suggest that you clarify to the team that configuration is
    mostly irrelevant and not worth spending time on; it's probably a MUCH
    better use of your time to address the few config settings that actually
    affect recorded tracks and waypoints as part of your team training.

    But, if I'm misunderstanding, please let me/us know.


  5. kobe.pole closed this discussion on 18 Jun, 2018 10:33 PM.

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