Friday, November 15, 2013

Fun with Bubbler GPS Pro

11/15/13:  The developer of BubblerGPS Pro has made a change to the "Fuel" text option.  Users can now select a format for text they put into the SMS bar.  This effectively and simply solves the "Fuelly" issue.  Thanks JoelT, well done!

11/14/13:  On of my riding comrades brought to my attention that a quirk in Bubbler SMS texting function makes updating Fuelly -- MPG posting unusable. Fuelly is a great app and I've been using it for a year with over 165 fill ups.

Normal updates to a rider's MPG log happen when the rider sends a SMS text message the Fuelly telephone number in the following format:  Odometer Price Per and Gallons.  Example 57500 3.599 8.700  After receiving the text message Fuelly updates and returns the last tank MPG and running average MPG. 

I was excited about combining recording my fuel stops with Bubbler and updating Fuelly at the same time.  I tried it three times since the SMS function was added to Bubbler.  The first time I tried it worked as expected.  The second and third times not so good.

Eric sent me an email when he found out the Bubbler is adding the word "Fuel" to the SMS text string when one presses the Fuel button.  This extra text ("Fuel") in front of the expected Fuelly string give Fuelly heartburn and it rejects it.

So, JoelT, if you're listening, maybe you could help us out by removing the word from the Fuel button SMS string.  Or, add it to the end of the user text.  Using Fuelly's SMS FAQ, anything after the first three numbers is treated as notes and can be free form text.

I'm still liking Bubbler and want to work to make it more useful for the LD community and beyond.  I have made the Bubbler tracks and waypoint postings primary for my blog maps with a link to my SPOT track/msgs secondary.  Using the Bubbler makes posting sight seeing pics to the blog map a snap. 

Original Posting on 10/5/13:
I was reading Iron Butt Magazine, Fall 2013, and came across on an article about Bubbler GPS.  It's an Android app that works seamlessly with SpotWalla.  I embed Spotwalla map in a lot of my blog posts.  Bubbler GPS comes in two flavors; Bubbler GPS Lite which is free and BubblerGPS Pro for $9.99.  Check out the website for the differences.  I bought the Bubbler GPS Pro version.  Since I already had a Spotwalla account getting Bubbler GPS activated as a new Spotwalla device was incredibly easy. 

Bubbler GPS Pro allows one to attach icons, user text and pictures to the message markers that end up on the SpotWalla map. Below are the six different message categories the one can choose.  As an example to record a bonus location using Bubbler GPS Pro follow this procedure:
Bubbler GPS
  1. Type the Bonus Location and Odometer reading in the text box
  2. Click on the camera icon to activate the smartphone camera.  
  3. Frame and snap the picture.  Accept or Retake as desired
  4. Press the Bonus Location (Finish Flag) button.

The app then sends all that information along with the picture to the current SpotWalla map.  Below is a Spotwalla map I created to test Bubbler GPS Pro out.  It gives you a taste of how the program works.  I still need to do more experiments to get the procedures down.  But I'm very pleased with the way it works.

I used a Casio GZ'One Commander, 3G, with Verizon.  I kept the phone in the upper left pocket of my Klim Lattitude jacket and had no reception issues.  I started with a fully charged battery and ended 4 hours later with about 60% juice left.  The battery consumption rate while not an issue on short trips would require plugging the phone in to the bikes 12v charging while on extended trips.  I ran my regular Spot II along with the Bubbler GPS Pro app.  You can compare the Bubbler GPS map below with the Spot II SpotWalla Map


  1. Nice writeup, I am the developer. Thank you. I am messing with something else at the moment as well that you may be interested in. It doesn't do tracking as that is the realm of Bubbler GPS, but rather it is a rally aid with streetview and satellite views of bonus locations, as well as basic navigation features, which will be improved significantly. Still an early work in progress with some quirks, but thought I would throw it out there.

    1. Joel, I am enjoying the app. And, I really like the SMS enhancements you made to Bubbler GPS. Now, when I record a fuel stop I encode the "Odometer, Price Per Gallon, Gallons" info in the text block to automatically send the info to the Fuelly website. This has significantly simplified the various "tech" things at fuel stops. Keep up the fine work.

  2. Sure wish this app was available for IOS.

  3. What is the difference between Pro and Lite versions?

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