Data collection using voice recording (PDA)

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This page describes some techniques for audio mapping using a personal digital assistant (PDA) or Symbian Smartphone.

Programming buttons on WinCE devices for recording

Some Windows Mobile devices have a dedicated record button (usually below the volume controls) which allow the user to press and hold the button to record. Recording stops on release of the button.

On other devices, a different button may be re-mapped for this purpose. Sometimes this can be done via the Control Panel → Buttons dialog. This is not always set up by the OEM though. In this case, the following should work:

First you'll need a registry editor for PPC. e.g. or

Then you'll need to find the following key:


And under there will be sub-keys 40C1, 40C2, etc. Find the one for the button you wish to re-map. The "40Cx\Name" value should be the label from the control panel, e.g. "OK" or "button 3".

Next, change the default value to

 "\Windows\AppButtons\Record.lnk" -b

The quotation marks are important, as is the -b, which kicks the recorder off in record mode, until the button is released.

Note that the file path might be different if your device isn't English.

If your device does not have the file "Record.lnk", try using:

 "\Windows\Hotvoice.exe" -b

Remember to soft-reset your device after making the registry change.

Using Voice Recorder on Nokia Symbian S60

It's also possible to use the voice recorder on Nokia phones running Symbian S60 (2nd and 3rd Editions) somewhere under the Organiser (2nd Edition) or Office (3rd Edition) menus. Although not single-press this can be operated with the direction-pad and can create a new timestamped file for each entry.

  1. Click to start Recording
  2. Click to stop Recording
  3. Down Arrow once to re-select 1 (Recording)

After a while this becomes automatic. On the other hand we could ask Nick Burch (Gagravarr) nicely if he can make a PythonS60 script to log GPX and take synced voice notes. :-) --Update 2009-07-07: Diogo W Nunes did it:

Additionally, you can sync the internal clock of the phone with the GPS timestamp using PythonS60 and this (based on Nick Burch's work anyway):

Windows Mobile

OSMtracker (Windows Mobile) will have voice mapping as core functionality on Windows Mobile devices.


If you are using a HP Ipaq device you can use the Hardware button. Just press the whole time you want to record. The .wav files contains a time stamp with seconds. Ipaq hw button.png

Any digital voice recorder and a GPS logger

Using any method to get a timestamped voice recording, a position logger and BT747, it is possible to match the voice recording to a position.