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Handling GPS Data with Python

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Florian Wilhelm - Handling GPS Data with Python [EuroPython 2016] [22 July 2016] [Bilbao, Euskadi, Spain] (https://ep2016.europython.eu//conference/talks/handling-gps-data-with-python)

If you have ever happened to need to deal with GPS data in Python you may have felt a bit lost. This talk presents libraries starting from basic reading and writing GPS tracks in the GPS Exchange Format to adding missing elevation information. Also visualisation of tracks on OpenStreetmap data with interactive plots in Jupyter notebooks is covered. Additionally common algorithms for GPS like Douglas-Peucker and Kalman filter are explained.


If you have ever happened to need to deal with GPS data in Python you may have felt a bit lost. There are many libraries at various states of maturity and scope. Finding a place to start and to actually work with the GPS data might not be as easy and obvious as you might expect from other Python domains. Inspired from my own experiences of dealing with GPS data in Python, I want to give an overview of some useful libraries. From basic reading and writing GPS tracks in the GPS Exchange Format with the help of gpxpy to adding missing elevation information with srtm.py. Additionally, I will cover mapping and visualising tracks on OpenStreetmap with mplleaflet that even supports interactive plots in a Jupyter notebook. Besides the tooling, I will also demonstrate and explain common algorithms like Douglas-Peucker to simplify a track and the famous Kalman filters for smoothing. For both algorithms I will give an intuition about how they work as well as their basic mathematical concepts. Especially the Kalman filter that is used for all kinds of sensor, not only GPS, has the reputation of being hard to understand. Still, its concept is really easy and quite comprehensible as I will also demonstrate by presenting an implementation in Python with the help of Numpy and Scipy. My presentation will make heavy use of the Jupyter notebook which is a wonderful tool perfectly suited for experimenting and learning.

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