Rather Good Guides®

Documentation the way it ought to be.

Beginners' Guide to MK_GPXTOOL and
Google Earth

You've made a big investment in your copter and you need to preserve that investment by monitoring the custom GPX flight log files created by the Mikrokopter GPS and Navigation Control Boards. During each flight, these flight log files store vital data about the condition of your copter. These videos will help educate you in the tasks of monitoring the health of your copter; checking for any internal errors that can lead to what are called "unexpected landings;" and important outcome data to help you improve how well your copter flies.


These videos also present some actual case studies of "mishaps" so you can follow along as they are analyzed and learn to get the most out of your own copter's GPX data.


You will also learn how to playback three-dimensional versions of your flight superimposed on the detailed imagery provided by Google Earth.


These videos provide detailed explanations for the beginner, with close-up views of the computer screen to provide you everything you need to know to start doing your own GPX log file analysis.


Check out this six minute introduction -- you'll get sense of the level of detail in these videos and the quality of the production (watch it full screen):



You can purchase this program either as an NTSC, two-DVD set, or download them in high definition. In either case, the total run time is 3 hours 10 minutes.


Purchase the DVDs

You can purchase this DVD set by itself or as part of the trilogy of DVD sets.


Download the Videos now

Alternatively, if you would prefer to, you can purchase the high-definition videos immediately.


The downloadable files contain the entire contents of the DVDs -- but, as they're high definition you'll need 16GB of hard disk space!


The high definition files are in MP4 format video files. If you have any difficulties playing the MP4s on your computer, check out the VLC player. It's free and works very well on PCs and Macs.

DVD #1 Chapters DVD #2 Chapters
1. GPX Files 1. MK_GPXTOOL
2. Analyzing GPX Files 2. Playing GPX Files with Google Earth

GPX Files

Whenever you fly a multi-rotor copter equipped with an MK Navigation Control Board, you can record a detailed flight log with dozens of relevant parameters recorded to a microSD card every 500 milliseconds.


If the copter crashes (more correctly, when the copter crashes), you can see exactly what went wrong -- either out of morbid curiosity or in a courtroom.


GPX files are actually just plain text files but the data is written in a rather user-vicious style called XML (Extended Markup Language). XML is fine for computers but a PITA for humans -- and that's where MK_GPXTOOL comes into its own.


MK_GPXTOOL allows you to look a flight data row by row, or graphs out various parameters, or, better yet, plays back the flight on a simulate "heads up display." If you have on-board video of the flight you can easily synchronize the video to the GPX file playback.


In the case of a crash, all of the arcane MK error codes are displayed in plain text, and you can see what you did with the control sticks -- and what the MK's autopilot was doing with its "control sticks."


You can also use MK_GPXTOOL to create details of flight times and durations so that you can keep your own flight logbook up to date. Whaddya mean you're not keeping a log book? Just about every country's aviation authority is going to need you to keep a log book (if not now, then very soon)!

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