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Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android app

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Noël, Mar 27, 2014.

  1. Noël

    Noël Guest

    Here is my small contribution to the Phantompilots forum

    I've just finished coding a small Android app to monitor the K-index (solar activity), and if it's safe to fly in GPS mode.
    The app will check every hour the K-index (provided by NOAA), and show the K-index value in the top bar of your android device.

    0, 1, 2 and 3 are green and okay.
    4 is yellow and maybe still okay.
    5 and above are red, and not advisable to fly in GPS mode as GPS satellites can / will be effected!

    All NOAA space weather alerts (not only the Geomagnetic K-index alerts) can be seen here: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/archive ... month.html

    The app can be download from Google Play.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... k.Kmonitor

    [​IMG]

    More info about the K-index:
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/info/Kindex.html
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Epk93ATx5v4
    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/rt_plots/kp_3d.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K-index

    12-04-2014: Updated to v1.3 (for better reading)
    (1) Changed font to default Droid Sans.
    (2) Removed vibrate when K-index was 5 or more!

    07-04-2014: Updated to v1.2
    (1) Added a "tap value" in process list to force an update from the K-index
    (2) Added K-index monitor to Google Play

    03-04-2014: Updated to v1.1
    (1) Changed the font
    (2) Added a vibration when K index is above 4 (it will vibrate once every hour when so)
    (3) Changed network connectivity checks:
    - Airplane mode on: Remove the notification
    - No internet connection (like connecting to the repeater):
    If the last reading is valid (less then a hour), use value from the last reading else show alert icon (small yellow exclamation mark)
     
  2. Noël

    Noël Guest

    Re: K-Index monitor app (Android) Is it safe to fly in GPS m

    I've also created a lite version of the above app (called: K-Index Lite Monitor)

    All the lite version does when started is: "get the current K value, Show it to the user, and exit the app"
    Tab the shown text to exit the app!

    [​IMG]

    This version will work in Landscape and Portrait mode!

    You can download it from the Google play store.
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/deta ... nitor.Lite
     
  3. Pull_Up

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    Thanks for doing this!!

    Showing a 3 right now...
     
  4. ianwood

    ianwood Taco Wrangler
    Staff Member

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    I set up alerts on NOAA a long time ago but I can't tell which one does what. They all say low frequency interference.

    BTW, an x-ray event just took place. R3 which is described as strong:

    Who can explain what differences are and what they mean in practical terms?
     
  5. AnselA

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    I understand solar activity has an influence on earth's magnetic field, but if K-value is e.g. "5" what it means to the safety of Phantom flying in GPS mode?
     
  6. Pull_Up

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    My understanding is anything 4 or above has potential to disrupt GPS reception - can you confirm my understanding, Noel? Does the indicator change to a red number when it's "less safe" to fly in GPS mode and if so what's the cut-off you've set?
     
  7. Noël

    Noël Guest

    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    You are correct.

    4 and for sure above is a no go with flying in GPS mode.

    0, 1, 2 and 3 are green.
    4 is yellow.
    5 and above are red.

    You can see all the alerts here.

    http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/archive ... month.html

    In our case (flying in GPS mode) we should worry about the Geomagnetic alerts (K index) as the GPS satellites can/will be effected.
     
  8. Pull_Up

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    Great! Thanks again for this simple little tool.
     
  9. AnselA

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    Thank's Noël. Installed the app. "Better safe than sorry".
     
  10. Mori55

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    What about is Iphone guys ?
     
  11. xgeek

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    I use the Magnetic Storms app on the iPhone. It's free and does the job.
     
  12. Noël

    Noël Guest

    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    I do not have an I phone so can not help. But as mentioned before there are alternatives..
     
  13. AnselA

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    What the app will display if it cannot get updates (e.g. no internet connection)?

    EDIT: Actually that's the case, when Android device is connected to P2V, it's not connected to internet at the same time...
     
  14. Noël

    Noël Guest

    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    I did not think about this..

    At the moment it will show the last reading.

    I will make it so it does not show anything.
     
  15. AnselA

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    Good. Let us know when it's available for an update.
     
  16. AnselA

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    One more idea. The app window could contain a log of the updates, the "source" line of information.
     
  17. Noël

    Noël Guest

    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    03-04-2014: Updated to v1.1

    (1) Changed the font
    (2) Added a vibration when K index is above 4 (it will vibrate once every hour when so)
    (3) Changed network connectivity checks:
    - Airplane mode on: Remove the notification
    - No internet connection (like connecting to the P2V repeater):
    If the last reading is valid (less then a hour), use value from the last reading else show alert icon (small yellow exclamation mark)

    New download link is in 1st post
    NOTE: As I needed to change the installation name it is better if you 1st uninstall the old app!
     
  18. AnselA

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    Thanks for the update.

    On my 7" tablet the previous font was much more readable.
     
  19. nhoover

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    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    Very interesting. Never thought about this before. I just installed the app and am going out flying in an hour. Unfortunately it's showing a yellow 4. So I checked the site and it says:

    ALERT: Geomagnetic K-index of 4
    Threshold Reached: 2014 Apr 05 1204 UTC
    Synoptic Period: 0900-1200 UTC
    Active Warning: Yes
    Potential Impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 65 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.
    Induced Currents - Weak power grid fluctuations can occur.
    Aurora - Aurora may be visible at high latitudes such as Canada and Alaska.


    And the alert before that says:

    WARNING: Geomagnetic K-index of 4 expected
    Valid From: 2014 Apr 05 1145 UTC
    Valid To: 2014 Apr 06 0100 UTC


    So things are bad all day today! ****. I think I am going to go anyway and try it out. The regular weather is great here today. I'll see if I notice any difference from usual. And learned a new word: Synoptic. And it sounds like these are much worse the higher your latitude - we are only at 37N.

    Then I checked last month to see how many of these events there were. Noticed that sometimes they do an expected alert then there isn't an actual event. In March the actual events were:

    • March 26: 4
      March 13: 5

    So the events are relatively rare. I checked my log and it turns out I was flying 25 minutes before it hit level 5 on March 13 (March 12 here, 7pm). My notes say that I had problems that day with hovering - ie flying in circles. That is unusual. I calibrated the compass then after 15 minutes noted that I was able to fly straight with no left drift - also unusual. Sounds like this may be related. I was also flying near the time of the March 26 event (at just over 40N) but it was a few hours before. I remember problems that day flying straight following a road. Not sure if any of this is conclusive but I really wish the GPS stuff worked better. My P2V was so perfect for the first 20 flights but now almost always drifts left. Hovering yesterday was perfect though - was doing a photo shoot and so had it hovering in place for over 5 minutes at a time twice.

    Thanks again for the app.
     
  20. Noël

    Noël Guest

    Re: Is it safe to fly in GPS mode? K-Index monitor Android a

    Interesting post!

    Just make sure that you have your right index finger sitting on the S1 switch ready to put It in Atti mode :)

    BTW. It's a K3 at this moment of posting.