[aprssig] New icon images (process summary)

Robert Bruninga bruninga at usna.edu
Thu Aug 28 11:42:05 EDT 2014

Yes, give me your ideas, and we can add them to the list.  Then the actual
icon files can be updated.

I will apply two general rules  of common sense to add them to the
definitions list:

1)      Is it a good idea, which will see general use?

2)      Will it also make sense on older systems (base symbol with a
meaningful overlay character)?

3)      Or is it just using up symbols space, making a lot of work for a
lot of people, with little benefit to all.

Then with respect to updating various ICON files, I will let the authors
agree who is making what changes to what data base so that we don’t have
multiple incompatible versions and the effort is organized.

I know that Hessu is investing a massive effort in the symbol set for
APRS.FI and trying to generalize it.  Let’s let him speak up on his effort,
and then see how that trickles down to the UI data base and so on.  I think
APRS.FI is the elephant in the room, so lets see what he has to say.  I
admit, I cant keep track of the details.

Someone did give a good summary once as to how many different base symbol
sets there are,  IE… a lot of clients use the UIVIEW symbol files which is
great for commonality.  But I do not know all the others.

Maybe someone can summarize once again a list of the fundamental ICON file
sources, and lets work on those at the source.

*** NOTICE *** That to make all this work, in 2007, we made a fundamental
change to a lot of weather symbols to consolidate them and free up all this
BASE symbol set.  That has to be done first.  Has it been done?

For example,. Original APRS had completely different symbols for Rain,
Snow, Freezing rain, drizzle, Blowing snow, Sleet, etc.  Since 2004, all
PRECIPITIAION gets one “base symbol” and then the type of precipitation is
indicated with an OVERLAY.  Thus giving us 36 different types of
precipitation and freeing up at least a half dozen of BASE symbols for
other  uses.

Read about it in this in the bottom half of the

Has this movement of most weather symbols to overlays been done in all
clients?  Once this has been done, then that frees up 11 new BASE symbols
times 36 each or over 390 new potential symbols (but ONLY with 11 BASE
symbols for backwards compatibility.).

Nailing down these last 11 new categories will be critical and will lock us
in.  So these need to be very judiciously chosen.

So far, we have not needed to use ANY of these, because I have been able to
map almost all new ideas into existing base symbols.


*From:* aprssig-bounces at tapr.org [mailto:aprssig-bounces at tapr.org] *On
Behalf Of *andrewemt
*Sent:* Thursday, August 28, 2014 11:08 AM
*To:* TAPR APRS Mailing List
*Subject:* Re: [aprssig] New icon images


So if I submit a proposal for symbol assignments to you and update the
UI-View icon files to match and send them to Steve for posting, would that
at least get things rolling?

Andrew, KA2DDO

-------- Original message --------
From: Robert Bruninga <bruninga at usna.edu>
Date:08/28/2014 11:04 (GMT-05:00)
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List <aprssig at tapr.org>
Subject: Re: [aprssig] New icon images

Actually, the symbol space has been opened up form the original 100 or so
to thousands (by judicious use of "overlay" characters on a basic set of
symbols.  This is backwards compatible.  Those with older systems see the
base symbol with the overlay character, those with newser systems "can"
see any new specially drawn symbols that matches that unique combination
of base symbol and overlay.  See some of the examples on

Follow the link to symbols-new.txt and you will see several of these
expansions.  As many as a dozen different symbol definitions for some of
the basic symbols.

The PROBLEM is that now it takes a massive effort by software developers
to render actual images to match these new definitions.  And to keep
current, which is a daunting task.  But at least the "symbol space" is
available to contain these thousands of new possibilities.  In other
words, I accommodated it in the spec and simply passed the buck to the
code writers...


-----Original Message-----
From: aprssig-bounces at tapr.org [mailto:aprssig-bounces at tapr.org
<aprssig-bounces at tapr.org>] On Behalf
Of Steve Dimse
Sent: Thursday, August 28, 2014 9:08 AM
To: TAPR APRS Mailing List
Subject: Re: [aprssig] New icon images

On Aug 28, 2014, at 5:57 AM, Andrew P. <andrewemt at hotmail.com> wrote:

> Uh, isn't that why Kenwood makes firmware upgrades available on their
The original Kenwoods have to be opened and programming cable soldered
onto the circuit board to update the firmware. The circuit board was a
design that Kenwood had developed but never released for the Japanese
market. It was obsolete even before it was released in the late 90s! After
its release there were so many bugs Kenwood had to issue one, but it was a
headache, you either had to send it to them or go to one of the few
hamfests to which they sent techs, in which case they could flash it while
you waited. I'm sure they are not going to do that again!

> In any case, what is the mechanism for proposing symbol code assignments
for these meanings, and which meanings are important enough to get added?
The APRS Working Group, which these days is down to Bob. I suspect he does
not want to open the floodgates as there have been many, many proposals
over the years of individuals that wanted a symbol, and of course there
are only a few unassigned. Unless it is something with widespread ham
appeal I suspect he isn't going to act.

I think a backward compatible extended symbol space is your best bet, then
everyone can add all the symbols they want.

Steve K4HG
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