Getting Started

Kyle M edited this page Mar 28, 2017 · 14 revisions

Installing DySense

Latest Release

Releases contain pre-packaged zip directories for certain operating systems. These are completely stand-alone meaning you don't have to install anything to your computer. Follow this link to get to the latest Release and check under the 'Downloads' section.

Once you download and unzip the directory use DySense.exe to run the program. You can create a desktop shortcut to this executable if you want an easy way to run it.

If your OS isn't supported or you want the latest source code you should install DySense from source.

Installing From Source

Instead of using the latest relase, you can clone the most recent source code using the following instructions:

  • Install Python 2.7 and Git
  • On the main repository page locate the "Clone or Download" button, click it, and copy the URL to the clipboard. It should be something like
  • In git bash go to the folder you want to clone DySense into and type "git clone [URL]" where [URL] is from the last step.
  • In a command shell navigate to the newly created DySense folder and run "python develop".
  • Look at the output. If any dependency (e.g. pyzmq) failed to install then you'll have to go out and install it yourself. If you get any errors, then fix them and keep running " develop" until it completes successfully.
  • Download and install PyQt4. This can't be installed automatically using the file.
  • Run "scripts/" which will launch the main window.
  • If you want you can create a shortcut on your Desktop to the "" file

Using DySense

This section describes the process of setting up two sensors in a test configuration to familiarize yourself with the program. This configuration can be saved at the end and is useful for testing sensors indoors.

Note: if you haven't read the DySense Basics section on the Home wiki page then do that first.

Sensor Setup

We will setup two test sensors, neither requires any actual sensor hardware.

Adding a Test GPS

The Test GPS sensor reads NMEA messages from a text file instead of from a GPS receiver.

On the Main Menu click the Add Sensor button. A new dialog will appear. First we must select the type of sensor we want to add. Select 'gps_nmea_test' from the drop down list then in the Name field type 'test-gps'. Normally in the ID box you would type the unique ID associated with the sensor you're using, which is usually the serial number. However since this is a test sensor you can type 123 or some arbitrary number. Finally click the "Add" button to actually add the new sensor.

If successful you will see the name of the sensor (e.g. test-gps) show up in the Sensor List on the left hand side of screen.

Note: A sensor ID always follows the format type-tag. So for our test GPS it would be GNSS-123 where GNSS is the type and 123 is the tag.

Setting Up a Test Sensor

The Test Sensor is similar to the Test GPS, but instead of reading sensor data from a file it generates its own data (mostly random data).

Follow the same steps for adding the Test GPS, but instead select 'test_sensor_python' for the type, give it a name like 'test-sensor-1' and it doesn't matter what the ID is as long as it's not blank.

You should now have 2 sensors in the Sensor List.

Controller Setup

The Controller is what manages all the sensors and is in charge of the current 'session'. More on this below.

Entering Controller Settings

First you need to choose where you want DySense to save all the data it collects. If you don't already have one created then I would suggest calling it "dysense_output" or "dysense_sessions". Once you've created that folder, navigate back to the Main Menu and press the Settings button. Locate the Output Folder field. Right next to this is a button that says "select". Click on this and select the folder you created above.

In the Operator Name type in your first and last name (e.g. Kyle McGahee). For the Platform Name enter TEST and for the Platform Tag enter T123. Platforms (vehicles, push-carts, etc) follow the same type-tag ID format that sensors do. The tag should usually be the serial number associated with the platform. You can type anything in the experiment ID entry.

For a description of the other settings (Controller Name, Surveyed, etc) see the Controller Viewer wiki page.

Selecting Data Sources

Next we need to select which sensors the Controller will use for it's official time/position sources. On the Main Menu click the 'Select Sources' button and a new dialog will open. In the Time box select 'test-gps' and in the Position box check the box next to 'test-gps'. You can have more than one position source (for example if you had 2 accurate GPS's for determining yaw), but you can only have one UTC time source. Click 'OK'.

For a more detailed description see the Data Sources wiki page.


Saving Test Configuration

We can now save everything we setup to a single configuration file. On the Main Menu click the Save Configuration button and a new dialog will appear. Navigate to where you want to save your sensor configurations at, type in a file name and click save.

Re-Loading Test Configuration

Once you've successfully saved a configuration file, you can close and re-open the program. In the Main Menu there is a "Load Config" button to select the file you just saved. Once you do this you will see the 2 sensors you created and all of your Controller settings will be re-populated.


In order to start saving data you must first start a session. Follow these steps to start a session:

  1. Add the sensors you want to use, select your sources, and enter settings (e.g. operator name). This is usually done by loading a configuration file.
  2. On the Main Menu, click the "Setup" button.
  3. In the sensor list make sure the small, circle icon next to every sensor is green.
  4. Press the "Start" button to the right of the "Setup" button. The text above the Setup button should change to "Session: Started". Also, the small 'P' in the sensor list icons should disappear which relays that the sensors are no longer paused.
  5. If you need to use the "Pause" button to temporarily stop collecting data, then use "Start" button again to resume the session.
  6. When finished collecting data, press the "End" button, verify the settings are correct, and type any notes about the session that you want to remember for later.
  7. That's it! You can use the "Session Output" button in the Extras Menu to open the folder containing all the output files for the most recent session.

Always double check the following 2 things to ensure data is being collected:

  • The Main Menu should say "Session: Started"
  • The small icons in the sensor list should be green without a P inside the green circle.

If you ever lose a necessary sensor, for example the GPS stops working, then the session will automatically suspend (pause) itself until the issue is resolved, in which case it will automatically start again.

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