GPS Track Color Based on Environmental Conditions or Survey Leg Type

New Mysticetus Version –

This new update contains an exciting feature. Mysticetus will now color your trackline based on environmental conditions of your choosing. For example, here I configured Mysticetus to paint the tracklines based on whether the airplane was flying a Transit, Systematic, Connector or Circling leg. (If you don’t like my color choices, you can choose your own! see below)

 There are some obvious benefits to this, including

1. Reports are even easier to generate. No need to import the various environmental values into ArcGIS to get this type of trackline presentation. Mysticetus does it for you.

2. This display shows up in real-time, even when underway on your survey. That means if your data recorder person mistakenly enters the wrong leg type for your survey, it will be instantly, and glaringly, obvious on the screen. Corrective action can be taken immediately to preserve data integrity

3. Likewise, the post-survey data QA process becomes significantly easier. If you miss a “Circling” event (or whatever), it will stand out. Or if the event was not recorded exactly on time, that will stand out as well.

For example, say you noticed your data record was a couple seconds late changing leg type…in this case from Transit to Systematic (it’s easy to be a few hundred yards late in a plane going 100kts…much harder to be off by as much in a boat, of course). This isn’t the end of the world, but it is imprecise.

Assuming you’ve verified the Systematic leg should have started on time, simply hover your mouse over the trackline and all sorts of data about the state of things at that track mark (and what is beneath it) appear. In the case at hand, we care about the timestamp – 16:07:22.6 PDT

Now find the appropriate Systematic entry and change it to the correct time:

subtract 20 seconds…
Mysticetus automatically recalculates the color of the trackline so you can see the results instantly. Save your newly Q/A’d data (note that the Systematic leg starts at exactly the proper time and location now):

To take things another direction, this time I told Mysticetus to color the trackline based on observed Beaufort state from the left side of the airplane. Skinny orange is Beaufort 2, Yellow is 3, Red is 4.

Here is how I configured that (so again, if you don’t like my colors, you choose them!)

First, open the System Options page. See the new entry for Environmental Track Settings? Make sure to correctly fill in the Time field – this is the field that allows Mysticetus to map GPS track times to Environmental timestamps. Also fill in the name of the Environmental Sheet. In this case, it is “Effort/Env”. Then click on the little dots.

And up will pop the trackline color/condition editor:

Here you can see how I’ve mapped the various entries in the “LBft” field to colors and widths of the trackline. You can use any field in any sheet, and map to any color and width of GPS trackline.

Let me know what you think. Feature suggestions, ideas, adulation and/or scorn can be emailed to me at


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