Mapcial – Update 6

Now that’s what I call service

We’ve moved all (most) of the GPS handling code from the application’s Activity to a Service.

The benefit of this is that it allows us to keep updating the user’s location as Services can run outside of the Activity and also run in the background if the screen is switched off. This is ideal if you want to your progress to be visible to other users without you necessarily keeping the phone to-hand and running down your battery by running the app all the time. Now you can set the Service to run and put the phone in your pocket.

We’ve also allowed the user to set the update frequencies for this:

  • Every minute. This is good for more dynamic updates, probably whilst you’re directly interacting with the map
  • Every 5 minutes. A compromise between frequent updates and power saving. Probably good if you’re doing a fast travelling activity like cycling where you can cover a lot of ground in 5 minutes.
  • Every 10 minutes. Mainly for power saving, but also useful for a Walking activity where you’re probably only going to get as far as the next pub.

Being GPS, when it re-activates it will try to acquire a satellite lock, so to hep it find a satellite, update the location and go back to sleep, don’t bury your phone at the bottom of a bag.

Whilst these are the modes within the service, the auto-follow mode within the application runs the GPS constantly and updates the on-screen status immediately. This doesn’t update the Mapcial server though, it’s purely a visual thing and updating the server has also moved across to the Service.

Beta download

The Mapcial and Walk2012 versions are functionally identical, with Walk2012 having some additional branding and icon changes. You can now pick up either version from a link on the original annoucement post.

Feel free to leave comments. Did I mention it’s virtually beta, hasn’t crashed for a while and totally awesome? 😀

p.s. Good luck to the CheesyRiders on their London to Brighton bike ride this weekend. It might be the first real outing for the app if they remember to run it…

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