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Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

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aleks
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Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby aleks » Sat Apr 04, 2020 4:53 pm

Garmin watches are pretty popular popular among kiteboarders (especially Fenix series). They are one of the best options for water sports - better screen visibility and no touch screen that doesn't work in water :D

I like using them too, but I was missing some features that would make Garmin watches even better for kiteboarding. Fortunately, Garmin has SDK that allows writing new apps, so I gave it a try. Took me a while to figure out how to do it, but finally here are the first 2 data fields that I created:

Max speed during last 60 seconds:
https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/apps/8cd9 ... aba801bda5

It displays maximum speed reached during last 60 seconds. Ideal for short speed runs to see max speed reached, without getting distracted by looking at the current speed on the watch during the run. It is basically the same metric that I used in my Woo Screen app.
Also, if you accelerate before the jump, most likely it will show your jump take off speed :D (check soon after landing).

GPS jump height for kiteboarding:
https://apps.garmin.com/en-US/apps/9694 ... 5a8c401401

Not sure how well this one is going to work. The algorithm is simple - it just displays difference in altitude reported by watch's GPS during last 15 seconds. If certain height reached, it stays on display for 20 seconds unless there is even higher jump detected. This way you can review your jump height after landing, without it being overwritten by lower value right away. As you can expect, GPS is not the best tool to measure altitude precisely - do not expect perfect results. I have not tested it on water yet - will let you know how it compares to Woo once I do 8) .

Both data fields are free - give them a try and let me know what you think. They should work on most Garmin watches out there.

Also, let me know what else you would like to see - I'm open to suggestions and ideas :idea: . Even simple things like changing Max Speed interval (30 sec instead of 60 :?: ). Do not ask for WOO app though - that is going to be pretty hard to do, so it won't happen any time soon :(

Thanks!
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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby aleks » Sun Apr 19, 2020 7:04 pm

Finally tested these Garmin apps on water. Data field Max speed during last 60 seconds works as expected, similar to the way it works in Woo Screen app, I'm pretty happy with it.

Unfortunately "GPS jump height for kiteboarding" field wasn't so lucky. First of all, I noticed that Garmin started reporting altitude before GPS fix was acquired, so most likely it uses barometric pressure for altitude (documentation says that either GPS or pressure can be used, depending on which one is more accurate at the moment). There is no way on Garmin to force altitude to GPS only.

The altitude value reported by Garmin was not useful either. On my Fenix 3 the results were practically random and had no correlation to actual jumps (I compared it to Woo results on another watch). I'll try this field on Fenix 5, but so far the results are far from expected :(

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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby Peert » Thu May 21, 2020 8:27 am

Hi Aleks,
How nice you share the result of your efforts.
I am considering to buy a Fenix for kitesurfing, running and cycling. A couple of questions:
- Is it possible to plan a certain route (crossing to an island or so) and see on screen your sidetrack error (the distance left or right from your ideal route line) and distance to waypoint?
- Could you make an app that uses all relevant sensors of for example a fenix 5 which has GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter? No clue what the sample rate of all of these sensors is (can you manipulate that?) but the more data sources the more accurate you can potentially get with a jump height estimate...

Question for Fenix 5 or 6 users: Is the detachable wrist strap secure enough for kitesurfing? Loosing a 500€ watch would suck...

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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby aleks » Thu May 21, 2020 3:10 pm

Peert wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 8:27 am
Hi Aleks,
How nice you share the result of your efforts.
I am considering to buy a Fenix for kitesurfing, running and cycling. A couple of questions:
- Is it possible to plan a certain route (crossing to an island or so) and see on screen your sidetrack error (the distance left or right from your ideal route line) and distance to waypoint?
- Could you make an app that uses all relevant sensors of for example a fenix 5 which has GPS and GLONASS satellite reception and 3-axis compass with gyroscope and barometric altimeter? No clue what the sample rate of all of these sensors is (can you manipulate that?) but the more data sources the more accurate you can potentially get with a jump height estimate...

Question for Fenix 5 or 6 users: Is the detachable wrist strap secure enough for kitesurfing? Loosing a 500€ watch would suck...
Hi Peert,
I think planning a route is a standard functionality on Fenix. I myself never used it, so can't tell how exactly it works. I know that guys who race use it all the time.

Garmin's API doesn't tell you what sources are used for positioning - it just provides position which it calculates itself based on all available sensors (including barometric pressure for altitude). When it comes to altitude, more sensors won't help much. I tested again on Fenix 5 yesterday - even though is a little better than what I saw on Fenix 3, it is still nowhere close the real numbers.

Wrist strap on Fenix is the best I saw for sports. It doesn't use pins anywhere - secure screws all around. Detachable part is secure too - the load goes to a non-moving solid piece of the strap. Fenix and Nixon Mission are the only watches I trust 100% to not be lost at sea. And I have experience - already lost 3 pairs of other watches :( .

------------------
Based on the testing results, I decided to end "GPS jump height" experiment. I'll remove the app from Garmin Connect IQ Store in a week or so. If anyone still wants to test it, please download it now!

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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby FLandOBX » Thu May 21, 2020 5:20 pm

Hey, Aleks. Thanks for creating and sharing these apps.

I'll try the speed app on my Garmin Forerunner 935. I usually don't wear my watch when I kiteboard. I'm wary of potential damage from high impact crashes and repeated exposure to salt water. Have you (or others) had either of these problems kiteboarding with your Garmin watches?

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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby aleks » Thu May 21, 2020 5:35 pm

Thanks! Max speed during last 60 seconds is nice, I use it myself all the time, and I have a very good feedback on it :D . Some people even have it as the only data field on activity, and I'm thinking of doing the same - I pretty much stopped looking at anything else (except for time)!

I and most of the people I know use Garmin Fenix. I never heard of any water related problems on it. However Forerunner might have a different level of water resistance, so I can't be sure if it is going to be the same. I know some that other people do use use it in water successfully.

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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby tautologies » Thu May 21, 2020 5:48 pm

Very nice!!!

Hey so a few questions:

think tracking location and overall session route in terms of length and on map as well as pulse and speed would be what I was interested in. The jump height is a curiosity, but I do not think the gear is really accurate enough.
I use the Vivoactive 4. I had one fail already, but product support was good.

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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby aleks » Thu May 21, 2020 5:55 pm

The above apps are Data Fields, not actual full blown apps. You can add them to any standard Garmin activity, which already has tracking, pulse, etc. I think Garmin did a pretty good job with that design.
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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby JakeFarley » Thu May 21, 2020 6:07 pm

FLandOBX wrote:
Thu May 21, 2020 5:20 pm
Hey, Aleks. Thanks for creating and sharing these apps.

I'll try the speed app on my Garmin Forerunner 935. I usually don't wear my watch when I kiteboard. I'm wary of potential damage from high impact crashes and repeated exposure to salt water. Have you (or others) had either of these problems kiteboarding with your Garmin watches?
One problem I've had with my Fenix 3 is the start/stop button sticking/not clicking. It still works but from what I've heard it will eventually fail. I rinse the watch in my sink submerging it after a session to get all the salt out of the buttons.
The other problem is that the silicone band only lasts about a year. Almost lost my watch about a year ago and now the new one is splitting. So I super glued it and it seems to be holding well. I have on order a metal band which hopefully will hold up better.

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Re: Kiteboarding apps for Garmin watches

Postby geokite » Thu May 21, 2020 6:26 pm

Thanks for the Max speed field, I'll add that to my activity I use when foiling.

I use a Forerunner 645, no issues with water and durability. I've been very happy with it.

But, the altitude measurement when kiting is really bad. It goes off of air pressure, which changes with the wind. I'll get altitude changes during a session of hundreds of feet, but I don't jump when kiting. If I wear the watch under my wetsuit, no significant altitude changes.


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