CyberTracker Frequently Asked Questions
What is CyberTracker?
CyberTracker is a software tool that allows non-programmers to collect field
data with handheld computers or PDAs. It's mobile data capture at its best. A
lesser known capability is that it can also be used to create digital field
guides, because it allows rich content to be displayed in conjunction with data
capture fields. So your data capture system can also serve as a teaching or
How much does CyberTracker cost?
CyberTracker is freeware. It was commissioned by the European Union as a tool to
assist them in capturing data in the Central African rain forest using wildlife
trackers. However, it is necessary to send your email address to
email@example.com so they can track the number of active users.
Where can I get the latest version of
The most recent stable version is available on
PalmGear and Handango.
However, less stable (but more feature rich) versions are available
here. The version numbers are always incrementing, so 3.058 is more recent
than 3.035. If the version is a test version (not well tested), then it will
have "(BETA)" after the build number.
What is the difference between
CyberTracker and CyberTracker Studio?
Both versions are installed by default and both are free. CyberTracker allows
features to be removed from the user interface by means of a feature file. When
you run CyberTracker, you can specify a feature file like this: "ct3.exe
/features:Standard" (which will load CyberTracker using the Stardard.features
file). The purpose of this is to have a simple version (which doesn't change
much) and a more complex version (with lots of features). You can even create
your own feature file by using the "Feature.exe" application that ships in the
CyberTracker contains some GIS
functionality, but I need more
CyberTracker is primarily a data capture tool. We've been resisting the
move toward extensive GIS functionality because it distracts from producing a
great data capture solution. We also do not wish to compete on features with
products like ESRI ArcView. If you need more GIS functionality, we recommend
ArcView with CyberTracker as your data-conduit.
How do I get new features into
Go to the CyberTracker Feature Request page.
Which desktop operating system does
CyberTracker run on?
CyberTracker requires Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista. Windows 95/98/Me are
What handheld devices (PDAs) does
CyberTracker supports most PalmOS, PocketPC and Windows Mobile Devices. If you
bought a device in the last 5 years that runs PalmOS or Windows (Mobile/CE),
then it will probably work. However, we currently do require touch screen
support, so Smart phones without touch screens are not supported. Color on Palm
is only supported on OS 5 and above. CyberTracker v2 only supports PalmOS and
does not support color.
What GPS devices does CyberTracker
CyberTracker supports any GPS that can output NMEA sentences. NMEA is a serial
text protocol that GPS devices use to communicate with other computers. TSIP
(Trimble) is also supported. In general, most serial and Bluetooth GPS devices
work. If you are interested in general information about GPS and product reviews
is an excellent source.
My PocketPC doesn't connect to my GPS
(which works in other applications)
PocketPC doesn't share the serial port between applications, so if another
application is using it at the same time, then you will have a conflict. Franson
has a product called
allows multiple applications to use the same GPS. Note, this is only a problem
on devices on which we do not natively support the GPS. For example, because the
Garmin M series handles the GPS independently, CyberTracker does not conflict
with other applications on this device.
Can I collect data with both PocketPCs
and Palms at the same time?
Yes. You won't be able to tell which data came from which device (unless you
How do I change the screen type, e.g.
from radio list to check list?
a. Click the "Lock" toolbar button b. Select the list control c. Change the
"List mode" property - options are "Radio", "Checkboxes1", "Checkboxes2" and
"Numbers" d. Click the "Lock" toolbar button
How can I install CyberTracker on my
PocketPC SD card?
When you click "Synchronize PocketPC" from the toolbar in the "Sequences" mode
for this first time, CyberTracker will install itself onto your device using
ActiveSync. At this time, you will receive message dialog like: "Install
CyberTracker Client using the default application install directory?". Click
"No" and you will be given the option to choose an install location, e.g. Main
Memory, SD Card, etc. If you missed this dialog the first time, just uninstall
CyberTracker from your device (Start->Settings->System Tab->Remove Programs) and
click "Synchronize PocketPC" again.
After using the "Synchronize Palm", but before doing a HotSync, run the "Palm
Desktop" application on the desktop and go to "View/Install". The CyberTracker
files to be uploaded will be listed with the destination device. Click on
"Change Destination", select the files and move them to the SD card. The next
Hotsync will upload them to the SD card as expected.
Does CyberTracker support collection of
sightings on a laptop or desktop computer?
No, you must have a PDA to collect data.
Why can't I edit data in a query table?
Table data is only editable if the column is bound to a single Element and the
Column "Output As" field is set to "Data". If you want to edit sightings more
flexibly, then use the "Edit Sighting" feature off the Edit menu on the Studio
How do I export sightings that don't
have Latitude/Longitude to an ESRI Shapefile?
You can enable dummy XY generation by checking the "Generate XY on ShapeFile
Export" feature on the "General" tab of the "View Properties" dialog. Select
"View Properties" from the toolbar when the table is selected.
Why don't my sightings save?
Sequences require that you have a Save button at the end of them, i.e. if
your sequence is: Screen A -> Screen B -> Screen C, then you must have a "Save"
button on Screen C. You can enable a save button by checking the "Show
Save 1" or "Show Save 2" checkbox on the screen properties under the "Navigator"
title. Note, typically you will also uncheck "Show Next" so that your users have
no choice but to Save at the end of a sighting.
Why do I get the message "Time out of
In version 2, it was a common problem that data would have the wrong date/time.
Now, the date/time on your PDA must be at least as recent as the sequence you
want to run. If you get this message often, the most likely reason is that your
PDA time is slow. Note, ActiveSync will automatically synchronize your time if
you have a Standard Partnership.
Why do I get the message "Version Error
Resource files on the device must be created with the same version of
CyberTracker that is running on the PocketPC as is running on the PC. You should
either resync (using Synchronize PocketPC on the desktop), or delete them.
What devices support the camera?
You need a Windows Mobile 5 device in order to support this feature.
What devices support moving maps?
CyberTracker supports ECW
files only on Pocket PC/Windows Mobile/Windows CE.
What devices support sound?
WAV and MP3 playback is supported on Pocket PC/Windows Mobile/Windows CE.
Can I convert my version 2 databases to
You will need to export your version 2 database as a CTZ file by doing the
- Load version 2
- Click File->Database Manager
- Right click on
your database and select "Export"
- Set all options to "Yes" and click Ok,
then choose a file name
Not run version 3 Studio and use the Tools -> Convert CTZ application. Note that
only data and Elements are converted. Projects and Sequences do not convert, you
will have to recreate them.
How do I display check-list items in a
Since check lists allow multiple selection, you need to create a column for each
element in your list. Use the "View Properties" toolbar button access the
columns and add each one individually.
For example, suppose your check list contained the items: Test A, Test B and
Then you want to create 3 columns like this:
Note: Title can be whatever you want.
When is my data downloaded from my PDA?
CyberTracker downloads the data during a HotSync (for Palm) and when ActiveSync
runs (for PocketPC). You can force CyberTracker to download sightings from a
PocketPC if it's connected by running the "DownloadCE.exe" application in the
CyberTracker folder. If the download completed without error, then all the
sightings are deleted from your PDA.
What are timer tracks?
The timer track feature sets up a timer that takes a GPS reading at fixed
intervals. You can customize how long those intervals are from 1 second up. The
track system internally has 2 separate modes of operation: short interval and
long interval. For short intervals (60 seconds or less), the device is prevented
from going to sleep on it's own and the GPS is left permanently connected. For
long intervals (more than 60 seconds), the device can be shut down and the alarm
system will be used to wake it up, take a reading and shut it down again.
How can I edit my timer tracks?
There is no support in the CyberTracker UI for track editing. However, since the
CyberTracker database is a Microsoft Access MDB file, you can open it and modify
the "Waypoint2" table directly.
How do I make the screen state persist
between sightings, e.g. so a list keeps it's selection?
Several controls allow you to persist their state by using their "Retain state"
property. You will need the Studio version to change this property. Click the
"Lock" toolbar button in "Sequences" mode, select the control and check that
How can I connect my GPS to my PDA?
If you don't have Bluetooth, you will need a cable.
PC-Cables is a great source, as is
My Tungsten T3 freezes on quit
Make sure you have the latest updates for the device. Click
here to download them.
What does the GPS Accuracy number mean?
"Accuracy" is a number that the GPS provides to give some idea of the
uncertainty of the reading. This number ranges from 0 to 50 and should typically
be multiplied by 10 meters (32 feet) to get an idea of the area you are dealing
with. For example, a value of 3.5 means that the GPS knows you are within 35
meters of where it says you are.
Does CyberTracker support Differential
CyberTracker does not have a feature to post-process GPS data. However, if you
are within North America and you GPS is
WAAS enabled, then you differential like characteristics for free.
What are the different states for the
GPS triangle button?
The GPS triangle has 4 possible states:
- Empty triangle with line through it = Track timer is not set and no open
connection to the GPS exists
- Empty triangle with number in it = Track
timer is enabled, but last track reading was not successful. This could be
because the GPS is still acquiring satellites, or because the required GPS
accuracy was not met on last attempt.
- Empty triangle with number in it
and line through it = track timer is set, but the connection to the GPS timed
out and so CyberTracker is no longer trying.
- Filled triangle = Track
timer is enabled and last track reading was taken successfully
The number in the triangle is the track timer frequency. If the navigator button
size is too small (as is the case on legacy PalmOS), this may not show. In
addition, the display is rounded off, e.g. 80 seconds will show as "1m" (for 1
minute), even although it really is set at 80 seconds.
How can I get my RangeFinder and my GPS
to both auto-detect without conflict?
If your RangeFinder is Bluetooth, then you cannot also have a Bluetooth GPS. The
way to do this is to turn on your GPS and get it to detect first. Once
CyberTracker has detected the GPS at a particular port, it will remember that
for all future tries. Then do the same for the RangeFinder.
What RangeFinders does CyberTracker
CyberTracker supports RangeFinders that output the
NMEA sentences LA1KA, LA1KC and LA1KD.
How can I export data that I collect
back to my GPS?
CyberTracker Studio supports export to CSV (Comma Separated Values) from the
Query Table in Report mode.
G7ToWin is a freeware application that can import CSV files. However, in
order for this to work, you need the first column of your table to be called
"Type" and have a "W" for its value. To make a table have a "W" in the first
column, do this:
Now you should have a "W" in the first column of your table. Don't forget to add
"Latitude" and "Longitude" columns as well. Click "Export" on the toolbar to
- Find an Element that exists in every sighting, e.g. "Begin"
- Go to the "Elements" mode (View->Elements)
- Find the Element "Begin"
and click on "Element Properties" in the toolbar
- Set the "Tag" property (on
the first tab) to "W" (without quotes)
- Go to the "Reports" mode
- With the Table active, click "View Properties" on the toolbar
- Click "Add" to add a new column
- Set "Element source" to your
Element, set "Name" to "Type" and set "Output As" to Tag
- Click "Move up"
until it is the first column
What happened to the "Stop" and "Ok"
buttons from version 2?
"Stop" and "Ok" have been replaced with "Save 1" and "Save 2". They behave in
almost exactly the same way, except that it is possible to specify the
destination screens directly. These are the "Save 1 Target" and "Save 2 Target"
What is the difference between a screen
and a sub-screen in version 3?
Screens and subscreens are identical from the systems point of view.
Grouping is allowed to help the user organize their screens.
How does CTX Importing/Merging work?
Merging is designed so that multiple users can collaborate on a single database,
i.e. User1 and User2 can import each others databases and they will effectively
be combining each others work.
In order to understand this better, it is useful to know that every object in a
CyberTracker database has a unique number associated with it. For example, if I
create an Element named "Rhino", the system will create a new number and assign
it to Rhino. This number is unique in the world, so whenever a new number is
created, it is guaranteed that no-one else in the world already has it. For
simplicity sake, let's say the id that CyberTracker creates for Rhino is X. With
this in mind, consider the following sequence of events:
a. User1 creates Rhino (system number = X)
b. User2 creates Giraffe (system number = Y)
c. User1 imports User2's database
d. User2 imports User1's database
e. User1 changes his "Rhino" to "Black Rhino" and sends it to User2
f. User2 deletes Giraffe and sends to User1
For (c), the system will notice that system number Y doesn't exist and it will
create a Giraffe.
For (d), the system will notice that system number X doesn't exist and it will
create a Rhino.
For (e), the system will notice that X already exists in the database and will
replace "Rhino" with "Black Rhino"
For (f), the system marks "Giraffe" as deleted and during the merge, the deleted
flag is applied to User1's "Giraffe" Element - thus deleting it.
An important observation is that in order for the "Delete" functionality to
work, we don't actually delete objects, we just mark them as deleted. This means
that they still take up space in the database. The "Compact and Repair"
functionality permanently removes all objects that are marked deleted, thus
freeing up any space that they took up. Unfortunately, doing this means that the
system won't know about objects that you deleted, i.e. the following scenario
a. User1 and User2 have the same database
b. User1 deletes the "Rhino" Element
c. User1 does a "Compact and Repair"
d. User1 sends database to User2 and User2 imports
e. User2 still has the "Rhino" Element
(if User1 did NOT do a “Compact and Repair” in (c), then when User2 imports the
database, “Rhino” will be deleted)
How do Paths work?
A path is created when sightings are connected in the map view. The path system
is configured from the maps "View Properties" dialog under the "Render" tab.
There are 3 Elements which control the path: Start Element, Stop Element and
If you do NOT set the Join Element(s), then the path will be controlled by the
Start and Stop entirely, i.e. a sighting containing the "Start Element" will
begin a path and it will not be terminated until a corresponding "Stop Element"
occurs in a subsequent sighting. If you set the "Join Elements(s)", then the
system will connect any 2 points pA and pB (with pA occurring before pB) if they
meet the following requirements:
Note, a "Join Element" is defined as an Element that must be in each sighting
for it to be considered part of the same path. The concept is that we can build
different paths out of the same data, depending on what I want to connect. Some
- pA and pB must come from the same PDA
- pA must not contain the "Stop
- pB must not contain the "Start Element"
- pA must contain
the "Start Element" OR one of the "Join Elements"
- pB must contain the "Stop
Element" OR one of the "Join Elements"
- if pA and pB both contain a "Join
Element", then it must be the same one
Connecting observations made by one particular Observer:
Set "Join Element(s)" to the Name of the observer
Connecting observations by transportation mode, e.g. Walk, Horse, Vehicle:
Set the "Join Element(s)" to a category containing the "Walk", "Horse" and
"Vehicle" Elements. Note, this assumes that all your sightings contain the mode
of transportation that was used and only one can be used at a time.
How does the Element Formula control
The formula property is a regular expression, meaning it can hold
expressions like: "1+2". If you set the formula to this, the output will be "3".
However, there is also support for more complex expressions:
1. "A+2" (where A is the number value of the Elements in the "Element A"
2. "(1 + 2) * 3" works because parentheses are supported
3. "max(1, 2)" produces "2" and "min(1, 2)" produces "1"
4. "abs(-5)" produces 5
5. "Today" works with the "Output as date" property. "Today-1" is yesterday.
6. "date(2007, 5, 20)" produces a date, see (5).
7. "if (1 < 2, 3, 5)" produces "3"
8. "if (1 > 2, 3, 5+1)" produces "6"
You can place the result of the calculation in the "Result element", which will
then become part of the sighting data.
If you put the result into a global value using the "Result global value"
property, then you can later reuse that value in the formula itself. This
provides the ability to do counters. Try this:
On screen 1, drop an "Element Formula" control:
Set the "Formula" property to "Test + 1"
Set the "Result global value" property to "Test"
Now everytime you save and return to this screen, the number will automatically
How to bind a bluetooth device?
On an HP Travel Companion:
1. Tap Start and then Settings
2. Tap on the Connections tab
3. Tap the Bluetooth Icon
4. Tap "Turn on" to make sure Bluetooth is enabled
5. Tap on the "Bluetooth Manager" shortcut near the bottom of the screen
6. Turn on the device you want to bind to and tap "New" on the bottom left
corner of the screen
7. Tap "Explore a Bluetooth device" and tap "Next" 8. An icon should appear that
describes the device you want to bind to. There may be multiple devices, but
just select the one you want and tap "Next". Sometimes the screen will
automatically press the next button for you.
9. Uncheck "Use a secure, encrypted connection"
10. Under "Service selection", select "Bluetooth Serial Port" and tap "Next".
11. You may be asked to enter a password. The device documentation provides
this. Usually it is "0000" or "1111".
On a Trimble GeoXM:
1. Tap Start and then Settings
2. Tap on the Connections tab
3. Tap the Bluetooth Icon
4. Select "On"
5. Select the "Bonded Devices" tab
6. Select the "New" list item
7. Select the device you want to bind to and tap "Next"
8. Enter the passcode for the device. This can be found in the device manual.
Usually it is "0000" or "1111".
9. Tap "Next" to create the shortcut
10. Close the input field and tap on the "Serial Ports" tab
11. In the "Client Serial Ports" box, tap "New"
12. Select the device and tap "Next"
13. Make sure "Authentication", "Encryption" and "Default Bluetooth ActiveSync"
are all unchecked
14. Click "Finish"
What does "No Result: Value not saved"
and "No Result: Text not saved" mean?
Text and Keypad screens require that the "Result Element" property be set. This
specifies the storage Element for the result from the text editor and keypad
The error message occurs to prevent accidental data loss.
How can I use MySQL or Microsoft SQL Server with
CyberTracker can connect to databases other than Microsoft Access (MDB). Check out how
this is done:
CyberTracker server setup.
How can I control CyberTracker via the
Several CyberTracker features are available for automation via the command line.
Check out how this is done:
How can remote synchronization be configured?
CyberTracker can transmit data over the internet. Check out how this is done:
CyberTracker Remote Synchronization.
What is "Kiosk Mode" and how can I set it up?
Kiosk's are fixed purpose devices. The goal of Kiosk mode is to turn a PDA into
a fixed purpose CyberTracker device. To configure this, open the "Sequence
Properties" dialog during screen design and check the "Kiosk Mode" box. Save
your database and synchronize the sequence to your PDA. Notice that the
application cannot be closed in the usual ways. The task bar is also hidden.
Kiosk mode is often combined with a password keypad to allow administrators to
work on the system in the field.
How can "Kiosk Mode" be bypassed in the field?
Place an "Element Keypad" control on a screen and set the "Password" property to
"1234". Set the "Password auto next" property to "Shutdown". When the correct
password is entered, CyberTracker will close the current sequence, thereby
terminating Kiosk mode.