New version of the tracker app needs manual downloading

Dear GPS Tracker users,

On the 20th of March we received notification from Google that the current version of the app was to be removed from the play store for not having a persistent notification. That meant we had to add the notification, and re-register the app as a completely new application.

Unfortunately this means that many hundreds of thousands of our users will need to manually download the new version in order to receive app updates.

It is fairly simple to check if you have the old or the new version as can be seen in the image below:

Old version on the left, new version on the right

Old version on the left, new version on the right

As you can see, inside the app for the old version you simply see GPS Tracker, while on the new version you see the full GPS Tracker For Android. Also on your app screen for the old version you again see GPS Tracker, while for the new you should see GPS Tracker..

If you have the old version, please uninstall the version you have, and then head here to download the new version. You can also just search for “gps tracker for android” in the play store.

Unfortunately this will mean a change in your tracking code, so you will need to make a note of the new one, and you will now also see a notification in the notification tray. If you wish to hide the notification you simply need to click and hold on it, and then turn off “Allow notifications” for this app.

There are however some positives to the new version. Firstly the new app is able to bypass the battery savers on most devices. This is a great change particularly for Samsung users who previously had to manually add the app to the un-monitored list. Another great change is that the tracking system now uses HTTPS for the full lifecycle of the tracking, a great addition for security.

If you have any questions feel free to email [email protected]

Ps. Could I ask those of you who have found the app useful for a favor. As the app has had to be re-submitted, there are currently no reviews in the play store. This is really affecting the Google rankings. Could you be so kind to please leave a review.

Thank you,

Patrick

We’re one year old!

Hello all 65 000 of you

Hello all 65 000 of you

Yes I know what you’re thinking, we seem so much more mature than our years! Well it’s true. The app went live on the 12th of May last year, and since then, we’ve had 65 000 downloads!

With all that support, we’ve recently had to add another server into the mix in order to keep the site snappy and responsive. The app has also gone through a number of changes, and now has a far simpler code to use when compared to the initial one.

Please continue to tell all your friends about us, and we’ll keep things running in ship shape!

All the best,

Patrick

Great message received from a user

Police recover phone with GPS trackerEvery now and then a user writes in to give us some feedback, sometimes good, sometimes not so good, and often practical tips on improving the app. A number of new features have been formed this way. Recently we got one of my favourite messages, which read like this:

Good day. I hope this mail reaches u. My husbands phone was stolen out of the car yesterday and due to your app i installed in the phone we were able to find the fone exactly where it was. The police were very impressed by the app as well. So i would just like to say thank you and keep it up!

So glad to hear it ended up well. I feel that every phone out there needs some sort of tracking app. It would greatly reduce the number of phones being stolen, and hopefully also lead to the arrest of the thieves.

One month in and 1000 users reached!

After being live for the first month, we’ve signed on just over 1000 users. The countries represented are pretty diverse too. There are large concentrations in South Africa (I’m sure the crime levels in that country help) as well as Brazil and the far east. Not sure why, so if you’re from those areas please let us know.

On a very happy note, even with those 1000 users logging their locations whenever they move, the server is still pretty much just idling. There seems to be substantial room for growth.

We’re hoping the growth rate accelerates so that we can soon send out the 10 000 users note. Please tell all your friends if you find this service useful, we’d really appreciate it. If you’d be kind enough to share it on Facebook and Twitter that would be awesome too.

Otherwise, if you’re one of the many users, we’d love to hear how you’re using the app, and if there’s anything we could do to make it even better. Send us an email on [email protected]

1 Month's worth of GPS Tracker users

1 Month’s worth of GPS Tracker users

And we’re live!

It’s been a couple of months of late nights, teeth clenching and head scratching, usually followed loud exclamations of “It works!” but we’re finally here. The tracking system is live, and looking better than imagined.

What makes it better than others? Well it’s been designed from the beginning to be as simple as possible to run. We’ve taken all the experience from BerryLocate and used that to make the Android version even better. Here are some of the features, improvements and benefits:

  • Very low battery use – By using a special algorithm in combination with both GPS and network tracking, we’ve managed to reduce the battery use to almost unnoticable levels under the right circumstances.
  • On device tracking. Previously you had to visit a website to track a phone. This is still possible, but you can also track one phone from another using the GPS Tracker app. A great way to keep track of your loved ones when you’re also out and about.
  • Tracking even when you’re indoors, thanks to the integration of wifi and cellphone based tracking.
  • Still the same great tracking views as before. You can see where you were on a specific day at a specific time.
  • The useful Geo-Fencing features sending notifications when you enter or leave an area.
  • The SOS feature keeping you safe by sending an SMS and an email to people you have selected.
  • The website is now optomized for mobile. No more scrolling left and right when you’re on small screens!

If that sounds good to you, click here to download, and please tell your friends and collegues too! We’re also happy to receive feature requests or ideas on how to improve the system.

Here are some screenshots:

Tracking "Mom"

You can track other people too, in this screenshot we are tracking “Mom”.

You can view a satellite photo of the location

You can view a satellite photo of the location

Or view a google streetview image.

Or view a google streetview image.

Send automated SOS messages just by holding in the volume down button for 5 seconds. These messages have a link to a map!

Send automated SOS messages just by holding in the volume down button for 5 seconds. These messages have a link to a map!

Create a Geo-Fence

Creating a Geo-Fence is really simple too, just click, fill in the details and you’re good to go.

 

Send a GPSOS when you need help but can’t talk

I’m a great fan of cycling and walking. If I had my way, I’d walk everywhere that is under 3km away. At one point, I lived very close to my office, and walked to work, walked to the gym and walked to the shops. It got to a point that I needed to start my car every other week just to make sure the battery stayed charged. If I need to get to a place that is further than 2 miles but less than 30 miles, I take my bicycle. Now of course you think I’m a little mad cycling up to 30 miles when I have a perfectly good car, but that’s only because you haven’t seen my bicycle…

With traffic levels growing the way they are, it just makes sense to use a vehicle that can move between the cars. When you’re stuck in traffic in your car, you’re actually not stuck in traffic at all. You ARE traffic! That’s why I’ve always been a fan of two wheeled transport. The ability to navigate between what’s become roads full of parked cars is truly wonderful. Aside from the fuel savings, you get to keep your sanity, and considering mine is already limited, I’d better hang on to it. My usual commute is 15 miles each way, and I work in an office that isn’t a fan of sweaty cyclists, so I needed a bike I could ride without losing my breath.

The first bike I chose (against my families wishes) was a motorcycle. Nothing too fast or insane like a superbike, but a little offroad bike called a Yamaha TW200. This was a fantastic little bike, it would do 80mpg. It would also climb a tree if you could hang on (no of course not really) and everyone who saw it tended to love the strange looking bike! There was only one real problem with it. The tank size was a paltry 1.3 gallons, so every couple of days I had to stop for more fuel. I could live with that, but after a few days my apartment complex said I was no longer allowed to park my bike and car in the parking lot, as I was taking up too much space. Parking on the street in my city was also not an option, as the chances of having either the bike or car stolen was very high. The only logical solution was to try park inside my house, but as you can imagine, she who must be obeyed let me know that if the bike lives inside, she’ll be moving out! I needed a solution and did some reading up.

Eventually I stumbled on to a group of electric bike enthusiasts. They were a rather mad bunch, who found ways of turning regular bicycles into high performance machines that could out accelerate cars, and also be fully charged for under $0.10. I had to have one, and after a year of research and building, I now do: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nu0IHH8EAvQ

So what does this have to do with a GPS tracking app you’re probably thinking? Well sadly the city I live in is not only know for stealing cars and bikes, there is also some violent crime, and with the amount of time I spent on foot and bicycle, I needed a way to notify people I was in trouble without having to take the time to type a text message and send someone a tracking link. And out of that need, GPSos was born.

What GPSos does is let you set an emergency telephone number (or multiple numbers) and/or  e-mail addresses on the apps settings page. Then should be in some sort of trouble, what you would need to do is turn on your phones screen and press the volume up and down key three times in a row (UP-DOWN-UP-DOWN-UP-DOWN). Doing that will activate the following sequence of events:

  1. All of the telephone numbers you have listed under the SOS numbers field will be sent a text message notifying the recipient that you are in trouble. The message will also contain a link to a map of your current location, and also allow them to see your previous locations.
  2. At the same time, our server will e-mail all the contacts you have listed as SOS email contacts. Once again there will be the link to your location and past locations.
  3. If your app is currently set to track via the not-so-accurate network tracking mode, or if the tracking is turned off, it will now be set back to the default dynamic tracking mode, to allow fast and accurate fixes.

The volume down button was strategically chosen. Firtsly, that button is active even when your phone is locked. All it needs to function is to have the phone screen on.

This has made me far more comfortable exploring my city on foot or on bike, I hope it gives you a sense of security too.

What on earth is a Geo-Fence?

A Geo-Fence for Bob's school

A Geo-Fence for Bob’s school

Well firstly, a Geo-Fence isn’t actually on earth, it’s virtual! Don’t worry, it’ll all become clear soon.

Have you ever had to let someone know when you arrive by calling them, because they have no intercom in their building, or it was broken. I seem to suffer that fate many times during the rainy season, for some reason intercom companies have never heard of rain. They must all be based in the Namib desert.

Have you ever had to call your office delivery driver to hear when he’s nearby so you can prepare his next delivery? I have.

I also have a young boy, and I like to know when his bus arrives at school, and when he arrives back home safely, I’m a concerned dad sometimes. Now as often as I remind him or the nanny to call me when he’s home, they seem to get distracted quite easily leaving me wondering until I call to check. There really should be a more effecient way of knowing these things. Well now you’re saying, why don’t I just open the app and select his name on the drop down list. Well yes, I can, and do do that at times, but sometimes I don’t have my phone on me, like when I’m in a meeting, or when I’m showing a client something on my laptop.

Well now there’s something so easy and convenient, that I can set it up once and never need to think about it again, and that’s called a Geo-Fence…

A Geo-Fence for France

A Geo-Fence for the whole of France

So what exactly is a Geo-Fence then? The simplest way to think about it, is to think about it is to think of a circle painted on the ground. This circle is also magic, when you walk into it, it sends someone an email, and when you walk out of it, it will send a different email to anyone you like. Now imagine that the circle isn’t painted on the ground, but painted on a map on your computer. In other words, it’s a virtual circle. That is what Geo-Fences are.

If you log in to the website, at the bottom you’ll see a Geo-Fence link. Click on that, and then add a new fence. It’s really easy to do too, you can move around the map and just click on the middle of an area you’d like to set up a fence for. If you need to make the circle bigger, all you need to do is set the fence radius. You could put a 20 meter fence around your house, which will email you when your child is home, or you could put a 500000m (500km) fence to cover a whole country. That way you’ll know when someone special has landed in a country being traveled to.

You can send those emails when you cross in and out of those fences, but you don’t need to. Sometimes you might only want to know when someone arrives, but not when they leave, simply change the click boxes as needed.

I use these fences for the following:

  • Like I mentioned above, I have a fence around my son’s school so I know that he’s arrived safely.
  • We like our office drivers to be efficient, so we often prepare documents that need to move when they’re still a short distance from the office. We use a 1km radius for that, as when they’re that far away, we have a few minutes for them to get through the office security and will often meet them just as they pull up to the door.
  • And of course I mention those painful intercoms. My folks have one that decides to go on holiday every time there’s a tiny sprinkling of moisture in the air. Now when I get close to their place, both of them get an email from me.

Do you have any other good examples on how they could be used? If so please mail us on [email protected]