Live tracking: Improving reliability in areas with poor and intermittent mobile coverage

Alfonico shared this idea 9 months ago
Collecting votes

Hello.

Using Locus Map Pro 3.36.2. The comments below are also valid for previous Locus versions.This has been checked on various phone brands and Android versions.

Observation:

In areas where there is poor or intermittent mobile coverage, Live Tracking can be lost for several kilometers and hours, despite the fact that mobile coverage was often available. This is quite annoying as Live Tracking is particularly useful for safety reasons in remote areas where mobile coverage is less than stellar.

The solutions that I found to this problem are:

1- Switch off and on Live Tracking when I get mobile signal. I have immediately a successful live tracking position. But this requires that I have to keep an eye on the phone to check what is going on with the network coverage. This solution, although possible, is not very convenient.

2- Decrease drastically the Live Tracking time and distance interval. This increases the probability of having a successful Live Track position in the areas where there is mobile network. But this increases unnecessarily the data and battery drain on the phone, and the load on the Live Tracking server.

My hypothesis from what I have observed:

The Locus Live Tracking code check time and distance relatively to the last attempted (the adjective is important) Live Track position, even if there was no success in sending this position. Therefore this can go on for ever if an attempted Live Track position doesn't occur where there is mobile network coverage.

If my hypothesis is correct, possible solution that could be implemented in future Locus versions:

The Locus Live Tracking code should check time and distance relatively to the last successful (the adjective is important) Live Track position. This way, after a long time and distance since the last successful Live Track position, as soon as mobile network coverage is available, a new successful Live Track position is generated.

Illustration of the present and proposed Live Tracking modes:

Present mode:

Position P1 start of Live Tracking in an area of god network. Live Track position sent with success.

After the given time and distance after P1, position P2. No network. No Live Track position is sent.

Some areas have network coverage, but as they don't match the conditions on time and distance relatively to P2, there is no Live Tracking.

After the given time and distance after P2, position P3. No network. No Live Track position is sent.

etc...

Proposed mode:

Position P1 start of Live Tracking in an area of god network. Live Track position sent with success.

After the given time and distance after P1, position P2. No network. No Live Track position is sent.

Soon after P2, there is an area of good mobile network on position P2a: as the code is checking time and distance relatively to P1, the conditions are met to send a Live Track position with success. Position P2a becomes the new reference for checking time and distance before generating a new Live Track position.

etc...

Any comments are welcome.

Thanks and regards.

Comments (2)

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I would like to emphasize the safety aspect of live tracking.

No matter what the technical background of the observed behavior is, I can definitely confirm that other apps like Traccar Client create better / more reliable results in areas with poor network coverage.

Additionally I would suggest to also cache unsuccessful attempts to send the current position/speed/etc. to the tracking server (time stamp is always contained anyway), and send all of those cached data sets to the tracking server as soon as it is reachable by (mobile) network connection again. Remark: For safety reasons, it would be a good idea to send the cache's contents in the reverse chronological order from newest to oldest just in case network connection should be slow or should get lost soon before all data has been transmitted: The newest position is of cause the most important data!

AFAIK other (live) tracking apps do such a caching already, so I would like to have that functionality in Locus, too.

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Ramunz.

Thanks for mentioning Traccar. I will give it a try.

Whatever solution to the problem is selected, it seems to me that it involves sending the last acquired position(s) as soon as there is a brief network opportunity, as soon as condition on time and distance are met, relatively to the last SUCCESSFUL live tracking event.

I hope that more people will push this issue as I will hate being obliged to use an other application for live tracking.

Anyway, thanks again to Locus developers for their otherwise excellent application.