Transforming the NMEA Data

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This is the last step in the process. So far, we have:

This step we're now describing intends to turn this proprietary Palm Database now stored on the PC into something more generic, thus available for further processing.
As it is now, the transformer you've downloaded from the single archive allows you two formats:


Transform the data

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We assume that you've downloaded the Java Runtime Engine (JRE) mentionned previously, and we will refer to the directory where you've installed it as JAVA_HOME.

Make sure Java is working

First, you need to make sure Java is working. You need to open a DOS Console, by going to Start | Programs | Accessories | Command Prompt Command Prompt. Then in the console, enter the following command:
  java -version
You should have an output looking like this:

Console Output

In case you don't have such an output, but something like
'java' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
operable program or batch file.
It would mean that the java executable is not in your PATH. And that is not a big deal, we're going to fix it. For that, go into the directory where you've unzipped the single archive, and edit using the notepad for example the file named transform.bat. You should see in it something like
@java -classpath .\palmtransformer.jar parsepalmdata.BackFromSailing
You must at that point remember where you have installed the JRE, what the value of JAVA_HOME is. If you have installed the JRE in a directory called C:\java, then you will have to modify the line mentionned above as follow:
@JAVA_HOME\jre\bin\java -classpath .\palmtransformer.jar parsepalmdata.BackFromSailing
in which you replace JAVA_HOME with its actual value, like in our example:
@C:\java\jre\bin\java -classpath .\palmtransformer.jar parsepalmdata.BackFromSailing
That should be it. Save your modifications, and close the notepad. You can now be able to run the transformer.


Navigate to the location where the file called transform.bat, and double-click on it. You should see a dialog box like this one:

Transformer Dialog

The first time you use it, you must set the location of the Palm database. To do so, use the menu of the dialog box above, and go to File | Config.

Transformer Dialog

And in the new dialog box, provide the location of the file named nmea.dat:

Transformer Dialog

The transformer is going to use the data of that nmea.dat database and produce the file you will name in the field labeled "File to Generate:"

Transformer Dialog

The "Browse" button can help you to find the fully qualified name.
Then you need to choose the flavor. For now, let's select the radio button labeled "Spreadsheet"

Transformer Dialog

Now, click the "Proceed" button, and after a short while, you should see this:

Transformer Dialog

It means that the file you mentionned previously has been generated, and is now ready for further use...

Use the transformed data

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If you have use the spreadsheet option, we can now open the generated file in a spreadsheet. Let's use MS-Excel as an example. Open it, and using the File | Open menu, navigate to the file you've generated, named test.txt in our example, and open it. Excel is now walking you through a wizard, to know how to handle this file.

Excel One

Click Next. Select the Semicolon check box.

Excel Two

Click Finish.

Excel Three

Here you are! The data are now ready for you to play with them!

And then...

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Now you have all the data you've logged, you need to write the right spreadsheets to analyze them. Let me know if you've had any successful experience in this area, and we could share the spreadsheets on this web-site.

On the J105 Kookaburra, we've taken the XML approach. You need to be a programmer to take this approach. For now, we will only document the SpreadSheet approach, as it might concern more people.

© 2003 and beyond, Oliv Cool Stuff Soft
Send your comments or questions to me.