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Geohashing with GPX files and QLandkarte GT

Because of some scientists near the south pole, I recently re-discovered geohashing. As I wanted an easy way to see the most recent hash points (and the upcoming one(s), since I live east of W30), I did some automation.

The different online services are pretty nice but they did not have all the features I wanted to have. Also, I have grown quite fond of the ability to have an OpenStreetMap available offline (not necessarily because I am offline that much, but because it makes looking at the map so much faster). I use QLandkarte GT and the Openmtbmap.org map, as it shows cycling routes quite nicely.

QLandkarte GT supports loading GPX files, so the first thing I needed was something to produce GPX files for a given graticule (and date, or if no date is specified, for all upcoming ones). I wanted something similar to the Small Hash Inquiry Tool, as it shows you the hash points of the surrounding graticules as well. I took an evening to hack something together using Ruby, Sinatra and relet’s JSON web service. I decided to host it on Heroku, as it was easy and free. You can find out how to use it at http://geohashing-gpx.heroku.com. It should also work quite nicely with GPS devices with GPX support (or with gpsbabel, for that matter). The source is available at git://git.alech.de/geohashing_gpx.git, if you are curious.

But back from devices to the desktop, I wanted an easy way to view this in QLandkarte GT and keep it updated. Luckily, QLandkarte GT offers a sort of reload feature with the “-m” command line option. I’ve written a small wrapper which makes this available using a signal handler:

$ cat bin/qlandkartegt_reloadable.rb 
#!/usr/bin/env ruby

f = IO.popen("qlandkartegt -m0 #{ARGV.join(' ')}", 'w')

trap('USR1') do
	f.write 'A'
end
Process.wait
So now I can do something along the lines of:
qlandkartegt_reloadable.rb ~/gps/geohash.gpx
wget http://geohashing-gpx.heroku.com/multi/1/49/8 -O ~/gps/geohash.gpx && pkill -USR1 -f qlandkartegt_reloadable.rb
to keep the data shown in my (always open) QLandkarte GT up to date.

The only things on my TODO list for this are timezones (it works using UTC at the moment, which is fine for me since I am pretty close to UTC, but may be annoying if you are not that close) and the possible addition of business holidays to figure out if tomorrow will have new DJIA opening value or not (if anyone has a good, free source, please let me know). I might work on this or I might not, chances are higher if someone bothers me to do so.