Author Topic: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla  (Read 10715 times)

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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« on: February 18, 2014, 11:46:25 pm »
I have been doing some beta testing on a new Iphone app (SwConnect) that will work with SpotWalla, and use the GPS in your Iphone and then transmit waypoint positions either via cell tower or wifi back to Spotwalla. I've tried at least 6 different tracking apps in the past couple years and none of them did what I wanted them to do, which is work in the background and also still be able to track me when I am out of cell tower range. I bugged Jason at Spotwalla about it for almost a year, and he finally found someone to write a custom app to do what we needed.

So I took a little ride today to test it out. You can set the interval on it from 1 minute to 10 minutes, and it also has custom messages you can send. You do have to enable Background App Refresh in your Iphone settings so it will still update in the background. If it can't reach a cell tower, it will buffer (store) the locations and then retransmit them the next time it can communicate with a tower. This is one of the main features I wanted, since many times I travel in places where there is no cell service. And while it isn't as good as a sattelite link (like the SpotTracker), it also doesn't cost a monthly fee. Once you buy the app, your all set. All you have to do is set up your Spotwalla account, and configure the settings and you're ready to go.

Here is a track I made on a ride today with it set at 1 minute intervals, and yes it was 82 degrees here today.

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=8c725303805bd48bf

The FREE app is now available for download on Itunes here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id815905559?mt=8
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 01:20:46 pm by Fred_Harmon_TX »
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Offline MikeK

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2014, 12:05:38 am »
This is sort of creepy and cool all at the same time.

I am going to be traveling to Europe next month and renting a bike on the weekend and now I am thinking this might be a pretty cool way for the family to keep track of me.  I was researching iphone GPS applications that support offline maps and many have a route sharing feature though I have no clue whether they cache the waypoints when there is no cell tower signal.

I think I will try to figure out how to attach photos so I can share the sights of Pisa, Florence and Milan.

Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2014, 12:31:55 am »
I looked for a long time for an Iphone tracking app that can cache waypoints. This is the only one I know of, and I have tried lots of them.

You can also attach photos to Spotwalla waypoints. Click on the "Bonus Waypoint" in my route (the one with the flag) and you'll see an example. I can attach a photo to any one of my waypoints.

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=8c725303805bd48bf
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Offline Gumby

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2014, 12:34:15 am »
Once you buy the app, your all set.

The FREE app is now available for download on Itunes here:
Now ya got me all confused Fred. Is it free to sign up on Spotwalla? The register page looks like it is free.

Offline BDF

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 12:41:53 am »
Yes, SpotWalla is a free service. What Fred is talking about is an app that runs on an IPhone to connect with SpotWalla.

There is an article about SpotWalla coming out in the next Concourier, and I am setting up a group page for us in COG, at least for the National Rally in TN and possibly beyond. Also a test page for everyone to tinker with so everything can be set up well ahead of time and a person doesn't find out that something is not working on the way to a COG event, for example ( :38:)

Other apps are available for Droid based smartphones and they work quite well.

SpotWalla was originally set up for the actual SPOT locators, and still works with them but they are not free either to purchase or use.

Check out the thread 'SpotWalla for everybody' in the 'Say anything .... but that' section of the forum for more info.

Brian

Now ya got me all confused Fred. Is it free to sign up on Spotwalla? The register page looks like it is free.
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Offline stevewfl

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2014, 12:45:10 am »
I was using a droid app, but recently purchased another spot.  I'll be ADV riding  in places there won't be cell service (Moab, Death Valley, Mohave, Baja, and deep in the Blue Ridge)

Apps that upload tracking are OK hanging out on the freeways and main roads  :great:
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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2014, 12:59:38 am »
I was using a droid app, but recently purchased another spot.  I'll be ADV riding  in places there won't be cell service (Moab, Death Valley, Mohave, Baja, and deep in the Blue Ridge)

Apps that upload tracking are OK hanging out on the freeways and main roads  :great:

This should also work off road, but your track points won't get uploaded until you get cell signal. Obviously this can not replace a Spot Tracker which has a direct sattelite uplink, but if all you want is a way to track your rides, it should work fine.  I use it to give my wife some peace of mind when I travel by myself. I had a Spot Tracker for a year or so, but the subscription fees became too much for me to justify for the amount I used it. However, if you are going to be off road in the desert, a Spot Tracker would obviously be a better choice for safety reasons.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 01:03:21 am by Fred_Harmon_TX »
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Offline stevewfl

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2014, 01:20:02 am »
I was using a droid app, but recently purchased another spot.  I'll be ADV riding  in places there won't be cell service (Moab, Death Valley, Mohave, Baja, and deep in the Blue Ridge)

Apps that upload tracking are OK hanging out on the freeways and main roads  :great:

This should also work off road, but your track points won't get uploaded until you get cell signal. Obviously this can not replace a Spot Tracker which has a direct sattelite uplink, but if all you want is a way to track your rides, it should work fine.  I use it to give my wife some peace of mind when I travel by myself. I had a Spot Tracker for a year or so, but the subscription fees became too much for me to justify for the amount I used it. However, if you are going to be off road in the desert, a Spot Tracker would obviously be a better choice for safety reasons.

+1

Yes sir - The safety reasons (SOS) and Teressa being able to watch me in "near" real time in the desert and the middle of nowhere  are the only reasons I got back into spot =)

I got out of mine a while back as I couldn't justify it fir what I was doing (or where I was traveling) at the time

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Offline Gumby

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2014, 02:06:27 am »
Help :truce: I found this page with directions for SWConnect http://rvtechtools.com/support.html

It says I need to select IOS App Device, but I do not see that in the selections on https://spotwalla.com/help/devices.php

And you really can't do anything until you set up a device.

Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #9 on: February 19, 2014, 02:10:02 am »
You have to go to the Devices page on Spotwalla and "Create a Device", and then select SWConnect iOS App Device.  Then it should show up.

There are also some instructions at the bottom of this page.

http://rvtechtools.com/support.html



Quote
Before you can run the SWconnect application, you will need to setup and account with Spotwalla at https://spotwalla.com

    If you do not currently have a spotwalla account, please connect to spotwalla and create an account.
    Once you have an account, you will need to create a new device for use with the application.
    Select the Devices navigation menu.
    Click on Create a Device button.
    For Device Type select SWConnect IOS App Device.
    Add a description. That description will show up in the application if you have multiple devices.
    Click on Create to create the device.
    From the Devices page, click on your new device, and select Web API.
    Click on Enable to enable your device for Web API access. Your device MUST be enabled for Web API access for the application to function.




When using the app for the first time, you will need to login to spotwalla (via the application) and select the Web enabled device setup in the previous steps. NOTE: this will need to be done when you are connected to the internet, either via wifi or cellular.

    Open the app to the main page.
    Click on Application Setup. The Spotwalla Connection light will most likely be red.
    This takes you to the Settings page. Now, click on Login to Spotwall.
    On the login page, enter your spotwalla email and password.
    Click Go in the keyboard while entering the password.
    If your login is successful, you will be returned to the Settings page. If not, you will have the option to try again.
    Once you have successfully logged in, you need to select your device.
    Click on Device Selection.
    If you have only the one device, it will automatically be selected. If you have more than a single device, then you will see a list of devices to pick from.
    When done in the settings page, you should have green lights for both Login Status and Device Status.
    While in the Settings page, you can also enable Auto-track mode. This mode will automatically start tracking every time the app is started.
    In addition, you can set the timed spacing between tracks that get uploaded to spotwalla. The default is 5 minutes, however, you can set a value between 1 and 10 minutes.
    The application will remember your login and password, and device selection status. Generally you will never have to do this again, unless you'd like to change these values.



[/b]
« Last Edit: February 19, 2014, 02:18:43 am by Fred_Harmon_TX »
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Offline Gumby

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2014, 02:18:02 am »
Ok figured it out, you have to click the Devices link on the top right of the page. Not the great big Devices button in the middle of the page. That's real user friendly.  :-[

Thanks Fred....

Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2014, 02:21:51 am »
Make sure you enable Web API access for the device you created. It won't work without it. See instructions posted above.
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Offline gsun

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2014, 02:29:27 am »
The only problem with this is using cell service. I am in Canada and roaming charges in the US are horrible for us. MikeK - check into that before using this in Europe.
Fred - can you put this on a non transmit mode and then turn on a transmit mode so it can upload your route say once a day?

Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2014, 03:23:06 am »
The only problem with this is using cell service. I am in Canada and roaming charges in the US are horrible for us. MikeK - check into that before using this in Europe.
Fred - can you put this on a non transmit mode and then turn on a transmit mode so it can upload your route say once a day?

This note is from the developer:

Yes, it can be done (theoretically).  Turn off both cellular data, and wifi.  DO NOT turn on airplane mode  That turns off the GPS. Once back to wifi or cell that is affordable, re-enable, and send a custom message to start the messaging loop.  That should empty the queue fairly quickly.
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Offline gsun

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2014, 03:36:36 am »
Cell data? Does that mean you can still get calls? Sorry - I am a techno peasant!

Offline Gumby

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2014, 03:43:29 am »
You do have to enable Background App Refresh in your Iphone settings so it will still update in the background.

This feature was introduced in iOS 7. I have been holding off on upgrading my phone cause this one works just fine.

Is anybody running iOS 7 on a iPhone 4? I read about it when iOS 7 first came out and most articles were saying it would basically make your phone a paper weight.

Offline MikeK

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2014, 12:00:40 pm »
The only problem with this is using cell service. I am in Canada and roaming charges in the US are horrible for us. MikeK - check into that before using this in Europe.
Fred - can you put this on a non transmit mode and then turn on a transmit mode so it can upload your route say once a day?

Gsun, great suggestion.  The last time I was in Europe I racked up $1000 in data roaming charges in 10 days -- yikes!

AT&T allows me to turn on the international data (and voice and text) plans for the period of my travel.  I did a bit of research though and found that GoogleMaps can consume the entire allotment under the international data plan in an hour which has led me to look for a GPS application that supports offline maps. 

Theoretically something like Apple Maps which uses vector style graphics rather than the bitmap versions that Google presents should cut down the data requirements considerably, but given all the fuss about the inaccuracy of the Apple maps I will feel a little better when I am in a remote part of France or Italy if I have something I can "trust".

What I generally find interesting when I travel abroad is that the cell service is better than home.  I got a stronger signal on Boracay island than in Northern VA, and once while off the coast of Croatia was receiving (unfortunately) work calls in the middle of the night.  Go figure.

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2014, 12:33:42 pm »
Cell data? Does that mean you can still get calls? Sorry - I am a techno peasant!

Wireless voice and data are separate and are served from to separate sets of hardware at a cellular site.  However, wherever you have data service you can also expect has good voice coverage.
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Offline Fred_Harmon_TX

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2014, 01:35:04 pm »
You do have to enable Background App Refresh in your Iphone settings so it will still update in the background.

This feature was introduced in iOS 7. I have been holding off on upgrading my phone cause this one works just fine.

Is anybody running iOS 7 on a iPhone 4? I read about it when iOS 7 first came out and most articles were saying it would basically make your phone a paper weight.


I am running IOS 7.04.  Yes, I liked the previous version much better, but it didn't make my phone into a paper weight. But if I had it to do over again, I wouldn't have loaded it. Apple took three steps backwards on the latest IOS update, and really messed up the user interface.

As for roaming fees and international use, all I can tell you is I turn my phone OFF when I go to Canada due to all the ridiculous charges. Personally, I wouldn't try to run this app in a foreign country where I didn't have coverage under my plan. The cost isn't worth it.
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Offline BDF

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2014, 03:28:54 pm »
Just to point out, SpotWalla was originally developed exclusively for SPOT. Smart cellular phones are an 'also ran' and were added to the system later. Unfortunately this results in those two problems: poor coverage due to needing a cellular network and potential data usage fees incurred.

I am merely pointing this out so that everyone is aware that these results are the results of evolution and popular demand, not anything envisioned by Jason when he started the system.

Brian

The only problem with this is using cell service. I am in Canada and roaming charges in the US are horrible for us. MikeK - check into that before using this in Europe.
Fred - can you put this on a non transmit mode and then turn on a transmit mode so it can upload your route say once a day?
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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2014, 03:52:30 pm »
Hey, I have a C-10. Can I still use this app for my old tech scoot? Need to know since this thread is posted under C14 Accessories.  Thanks.   ;D   :nananana:   :)
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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2014, 03:58:46 pm »
Yes but do not let the phone actually touch any part of the bike lest the road rise up and smite thee.

Brian

Hey, I have a C-10. Can I still use this app for my old tech scoot? Need to know since this thread is posted under C14 Accessories.  Thanks.   ;D   :nananana:   :)
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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2014, 01:51:39 pm »
Greg, check out Roam Mobility. Very inexpensive by he day cell and data coverage in the USA.

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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2014, 04:32:39 pm »
Glad I just bought a SPOT!!

Loaded this on the I-5. Seems to be working fine..Thanks for the hook-up!

Will keep the Spot Online just in case this heads south on me
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Re: Iphone Tracking App for Spotwalla
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2014, 05:24:56 pm »
Is there an Android equivalent?  i.e. a Spot compatible program that will save up breaqdcrumbs, waypoints etc until in cell or wifi range?

Jamie