Persistence in Android Field Triangulate

Android Field Triangulate has historically stored events (collections of readings comprising a triangulation) in memory. The intention was to create a few readings (in a relatively limited timeframe) and create a triangulation. Job done, triangulation shared. In actuality this isn’t how things always work, and wasn’t always sufficiently reliable.

Despite attempts to save these readings to instance state, in memory storage could lead to lost data … say if the application is unloaded (e.g. by a battery saver killing applications.) Lost data is never good, and this was never the intention.

Android Field Triangulate 1.3 now utilizes a persistent database in order to store readings. Sign up for a Beta Testing version, if you are interested in checking it out.

Setup persistent storage

Note: The reason for network connectivity at first setup is because the persistent store utilized is a cloud synchronized database. In theory (given a named account) this could be used to synchronize events (readings and triangulations) between devices. Please contact me if that seems of interest.

BTW: If/when asked for location permissions, Android Field Triangulate doesn’t need more than “Allow only while using the app”.

No background locations needed.

Timestamped Field Notes 4.9 Configuration

Timestamped Field Notes has too many configuration options. I know that, and I should likely trim some, but there are a varied use cases for the application, and I’d like to support those which I can. Further, I know that most users don’t adjust (or even know about) the default configuration settings, and that likely reduces the value of features placed behind a configuration option. All true, but where we are today…

Some new options for Timestamped Field Notes 4.9:

  • Search enabled – allow text search into events and/or notes.
  • Notes Grouping – group notes by the hour, day, or more…
  • Event Grouping – group events by the hour, day, week, month…

I use the application to monitor raptors, observing Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons and Golden Eagle in the Rocky Mountains. I go hike, observe and record, export the data to submit with my report and move on. I do group notes and events, just for easier visually scanning. I don’t need search, I don’t go back and look at past entries. I do not have search enabled.

Others do. Some people use the application to record events, as a log. For them search allows them to quickly answer questions of “when did X occur”, either which events contained this note, or even which notes contained that text.

Go to “Manage” / “Configure Application” to get to the application settings.

Notes Collector – Cloud sync

Notes Collector is the same application as Timestamped Field Notes, but on a completely different infrastructure. Whereas Timestamped Field Notes allows you to capture data to a local (internal) database and then export it, Notes Collector’s database is automatically synchronized with the cloud, when online.

Why is this valuable? For a number of years users of Timestamped Field Notes have wanted to share notes across devices, and with Notes Collector a note added on one device will appear on all your others.

Further, backups are automatic and ongoing. No need to export to Google Drive, or other, to get it safely backed up.

Notes Collector is now available on iOS and Android.

Share Triangulation Android

After considering offline sharing (to offline capable maps) of the triangulation on iOS, I realized the same should be possible on Android.

The share coordinate button on the beta version of the Triangulation application, now offers a chooser to allow any installed applications that support the geo:{LATITUDE},{LONGITUDE} scheme to be opened to that location.

Please join the open beta for Field Triangulation and check it out…

Open triangulation in application…

Some application that support this scheme are:

Triangulation & Offline Maps

Be it a wild-land firefighter locating smoke or a wildlife biologist tracking subjects, or one of many other users, Field Triangulate is often used in the back country, away from cellular networks. Field Triangulate works offline (to accept locations and bearings and generate a triangulated location) but it cannot show maps offline. I often get asked about adding “offline maps” support to Field Triangulate, but that is not on the product development roadmap at this time.

Topo Maps+ from Glacier Peak Studios is an excellent offline topographic map solution for iOS (iPhone and iPad.) It provides access to a wide variety of offline downloadable maps, and offers GPS features.

Field Triangulate for iOS version 1.1.2 will allow a triangulation (latitude / longitude) to be sent to Topo Maps+ (even when fully offline) in order for Topo Maps+ to display the map for that location. Topo Maps+ will use the current map, and current zoom to present that location.

Use Topo Maps+ to survey the terrain at the location, and between you and that location.

Topo Maps+ will even allow you to use that triangulation as a waypoint, allowing you to easily navigate to it.

Do you use other Topo Mapping Apps?

Let me know what application you use for offline-capable topographic maps on Android devices, and I’ll look to integrating Field Triangulate to that on Android.

Field Triangulate launching Topo Maps+ on iOS

What next for Notes Collector?

Notes Collector is progressing for basic usage, both on iOS and on Android. (Beta testers still welcome, and appreciated.)

That said, Notes Collector was developed based on Timestamped Field Notes in order to migrate to more flexible internal infrastructure, to allow some experimentation on new features (without destabilizing TFN), and to more easily support more platforms (iOS, Android and Web.)

Here are some suggestions/requests I’ve heard from you over the years:

  • Allow an optional photograph to be added to a note item.
  • Allow an optional location (latitude / longitude) to be added to a note item.
  • Sharing an event (a set of notes) with other users, in real-time.
  • Create “icon/photo” based keyword buttons.

Please let me know your thoughts on the features / improvements you’d like to see for Notes Collector.