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[Solved] App suggestions  


Posts: 46
Topic starter
(@magmatic)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago

I tried the app again. Before, when I touched on an existing checklist, I just got a blank screen and the app was useless.

This time I when through the whole process. Re-downloaded the checklist (turned on location tracking this time.) Then it did work. And worked the next time too.

Suggestions:

By the time I get through with all the preliminaries, the time was already 4 minutes into the outing. I would like it not to do that. I want it to start timing when I am ready to start birding.

Does the distance tracker know when you are re-tracing your steps? (And not count that distance?) It does not seem to. Re-tracing your steps is not supposed to count a distance for an eBird checklist.

Have an option to TURN OFF the Google location tracking after the checklist is done. I don't want that on as a matter of course on my phone.

Have a left-handed mode so the numbers are on the right. That way, the finger does not hide the numbers.

Have an accessibility mode (that should be done as a matter of course now-a-days anyway). So that the names are at least twice as large. I was trying to enter sightings on the move, and sometimes would "fat finger" the wrong name.

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Posts: 191
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(@jeff)
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Joined: 6 months ago

Hi David. Thanks for posting.

Posted by: @magmatic

This time I when through the whole process. Re-downloaded the checklist (turned on location tracking this time.) Then it did work. And worked the next time too.

 

That's great news David. 

Posted by: @magmatic

By the time I get through with all the preliminaries, the time was already 4 minutes into the outing. I would like it not to do that. I want it to start timing when I am ready to start birding.

 

I am not sure what preliminaries you are talking about David. The timer starts when you click on Start Activity. Not trying to be dense on my part, but it is hard to implement improvements when I am not precisely sure what the issue is or where it is coming from. So please give more details on this.

Posted by: @magmatic

Does the distance tracker know when you are re-tracing your steps? (And not count that distance?) It does not seem to. Re-tracing your steps is not supposed to count a distance for an eBird checklist.

 

This single part of BD Mobile took the longest to implement. It turns out that GPS and location technology on your phone does NOT work the way most folks think. There are no/none/nada good guidelines for Mobile track recording. It is a black art and everyone implements it a bit differently. We don't have the space/time to get into all the details here. Just know that there are volumes written by me on this subject in the Android support forums with responses from many developers and sharing of information.

For sure, BD Mobile is not tracking with eBird in mind. Quite sure that the eBird app cannot tell you if you are retracing steps or any other fancy stuff; just trying to do that would be fraught with enormous errors. I spent weeks field testing BD Mobile's tracking accuracy against the eBird App and found that BD was more accurate in > 90% of all cases. As to whether retracing steps is supposed to count in eBird, I don't know. But I am sure that technically checking for and removing such tracks from within the app would be costly in terms of errors, processing, coding, and hours spent.

Posted by: @magmatic

Have an option to TURN OFF the Google location tracking after the checklist is done. I don't want that on as a matter of course on my phone.

 

That is how it works by default. 

Posted by: @magmatic

Have a left-handed mode so the numbers are on the right. That way, the finger does not hide the numbers.

 

Been there since the first beta release. 😀 

Check configuration settings on the start page.

Posted by: @magmatic

Have an accessibility mode (that should be done as a matter of course now-a-days anyway). So that the names are at least twice as large. I was trying to enter sightings on the move, and sometimes would "fat finger" the wrong name.

Also, been there since the first beta release. There are help tips for most every page in the App. Sometimes it is a question mark button on the page and sometimes (like during Sightings Entry) it is a Help item in the drop down menu. You will probably find a whole lot of useful information from these tips. I spent a lot of time putting concise How-to-use tips of this nature into these.

As for your request, the Volume Key on your phone works as a dynamic checklist-specific font-increase/decrease button! I like it because I can't possibly read the eBird Apps checklist font in the field without reading glasses; uggg - one more thing hanging around my neck. Using the volume key allows me to quickly increase/decrease the font size for any checklist at the moment I need it. 

Also, check the Settings Configuration again on the home page. Once you find the size you prefer, you can configure the default font-size for all your checklists, then only use the volume key when you might need it.


Let me know if you have any questions on this and keep the feedback coming please.

Jeff

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(@magmatic)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 46

@jeff

Preliminaries:
I have not seen a Start Activity button. Do you mean Start Outing?

But if after I do that I click Download more checklists, and use THAT checklist for the outing? That would take some time, right?

I think the problem with the blank screen I have had is the checklist I end up with is empty. I do not know why. I have tried it several times just now, and they are empty. I don't know what I am doing wrong, whether it is lat/long confusion or what.

By the way, on that download screen, why does it say Latitude, Latitude. Which field is longitude? I assume the second.

Retracing steps:
If the eBird app does not know that retracing is not supposed to count for distances, I cannot imagine how may invalid checklists there are out there on eBird!

Location Service turned off:
That's odd. I had to go into my phone settings and manually turn it off after my outings.

Left-Handed:
Oh woderful! I should have looked!

Font size:
I see it now! But how do you get to that from within an outing. I can't figure out how to get back to the main screen (which is where the "wrench" is.) And I see now the volume button alters the font size.

So thank you for your answers. Most of this is me too lazy to look first.

David

 

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(@magmatic)
Joined: 6 months ago

Eminent Member
Posts: 46

On your comment from July 29: "Quite sure that the eBird app cannot tell you if you are retracing steps". I had suggested eBird does not want us to included backtracking (out and back on the same trail for instance) in the Distance.

Here is the directive from eBird that says backtracking is not to be counted. It is the Guide to eBird Protocols. Skip down to the Traveling protocol. For example, if you go out on a trail, and then return (even partially) on the same trail, that is not be counted.

Yes, you are right, the eBird app does detect when you are backtracking. Instead, they want you to manually ADJUST the distance after you press Stop on the app. I suppose they have a way to do that.

https://support.ebird.org/en/support/solutions/articles/48000950859-guide-to-ebird-protocols

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(@jeff)
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Oops! Yes - I do mean Start Outing. In Android, pages are called Activities.

Posted by: @magmatic

But if after I do that I click Download more checklists, and use THAT checklist for the outing? That would take some time, right?

 

I usually pre-download the checklists I want to use ahead of time with the Download Checklists button. I've never seen a checklist of 500 or less entries take more than a 5-10 seconds to download completely. It might just be connection speed.

Posted by: @magmatic

I think the problem with the blank screen I have had is the checklist I end up with is empty. I do not know why. I have tried it several times just now, and they are empty. I don't know what I am doing wrong, whether it is lat/long confusion or what.

 

Please tell me exactly what you are doing so that I can reproduce the problem on my end. Also, what version of Android is on your phone (under Settings >> About Phone, generally... every phone is a bit different)? And what type of phone? I have not had any one else report this issue.

Posted by: @magmatic

By the way, on that download screen, why does it say Latitude, Latitude. Which field is longitude? I assume the second.

 

I don't see this. So please, tell me exactly what you touch, starting from the home screen, to see this.

Posted by: @magmatic

Location Service turned off:
That's odd. I had to go into my phone settings and manually turn it off after my outings.

 

We may be talking about something different David. Please tell me exactly what you are turning on or off.

Thanks.

Jeff

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(@jeff)
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Hi David,

Ok, found the "Latitude"/"Latitude" thing you mentioned. Oops. It is the field hint label that displays on an empty field to let you know what value is expected. (Fixed in 1.21) The reason I never see that is because when you go to that page in the app, it is always pre-filled with your current lat/long values. At least on my phone. Is that not the case on your phone?

One of the things that is different about programming Android on mobile devices from programming Windows on PCs, is that PCs all act almost exactly the same. For mobile devices, they can be drastically different. Precisely, code that works on one device works differently or not at all on another device. With Windows on PCs, the same code works precisely the same on 99.9% of all computers. This has been a real challenge in this space.

On another note, I am not the expert, and most of this knowledge was gained 10 months ago when writing the tracking code for the BD Mobile App, and has long since been forgotten... but, Android these days is very stingy about Location Services. There generally is never any reason to turn it off. In fact, it should just always be on. Your phone will let you know if any particular App is using too much power for this purpose. This part of Android has all been rewritten with management routines that optimize this and sharing these services across different apps that need location information. So that 20 apps using the GPS/WiFi/Cell-tower data to obtain course/fine location information don't run amuck. One central piece of Android code optimizes and manages this very, very efficiently for all Apps needing that info. I am not aware of any reason to disable this service. e.g. Battery, Privacy, etc.

BD Mobile does not turn on this service but if off, will request it to be on. Also, then, it does not turn the Location Services off after use. It just stops using it.

Let me know if this generates questions on your part and I will do my best to investigate. Or let me know if you think I got some of this wrong. 

Jeff

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Posts: 191
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(@jeff)
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FYI: just released v1.21. Should be available later tonight and auto-update on your phone assuming you have this feature enabled.

  • Fixed Latitude/Latitude issue
  • Download Other Checklists was broken due to move to new host provider and a change in credentials.

Jeff

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Posts: 46
Topic starter
(@magmatic)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago

Oh, now I see it does say latitude, longitude (I guess I got upgraded). As you might guess, I was not turning on location tracking.

With location tracking off,
To download a checklist, I hit:
Download Checklists
Download checklist for current location
Latitude 80 Longitude 36
Move radius to 7
Last 5 days
Test3 for the checklist name
Download

The checklist ends up with 0 entries.

If I switch the number and try
36/80
10 km
5 days
test4
I still got 0 entries.

To turn off location tracking, I go to

Settings
Connections
Turn off the Location switch

I assume Google is tracking me with location on. They are probably tracking me even when it is off, perhaps not to the same degree.

The phone is S7, system version 8.0.0

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(@jeff)
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Hi David,

Pretty sure 30, 80 is in China, near Pakistan. Try 30, -80 instead. Then you should be getting what you expect. When you say 30,80 it means 30N and 80E, and you want 80W; so that requires a -80.

Thanks for the phone/android version info. I had the S7. Loved it. Got an S9 now and love it also. Although the GPS hangs on it at times when using Google Maps. If I restart the phone, then all is good for a couple hours. Probably just a bad unit.

Not sure about Android 8, but Android 10 gives you features to disable all tracking by App. But yes, if you carry a mobile phone these days, they know more about you than you know about you!

I just fixed another bug in the Download Other Checklists feature (you haven't stated that you are using this) due to the move to a new host provider. v1.22 should be available in a few hours to fix this. Otherwise, no other changes.

Jeff

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Posts: 191
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(@jeff)
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One thing I forgot to mention David is when you choose that option for Download Checklist for Current Location with Location services turned on, the Lat/Lng of your current location is auto-loaded into those fields.

Jeff

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Posts: 46
Topic starter
(@magmatic)
Eminent Member
Joined: 6 months ago

Thank you for the tips, Jeff.

When I said "Latitude 80 Longitude 36", I meant First field: 80, Second field 36. The resulting checklist was blank.

Then I switched the numbers "36/80", meaning First field: 36, Second field 80. 

Either way, it was blank.

But I forgot I am in a negative longitude. When I do -80, I do get entries.

No, I have not used Download Other Checklists. You mean like Amphibians? I do see an Other Checklists option for things like that.

 

By the way, sometimes I hit Start Outing when I didn't mean to. Is there a way to get out of that when I am at the Add Checklist to Current Outing screen? Otherwise I have to go through the whole process of closing and naming the outing.

Also, is there a way for it to forget the previous names I have given checklists? I imagine that list would get rather long over time. When I name a checklist, there is a popup that lets me chose a previously used name. That is good, but there are names in there I don't want to see anymore.

 

 

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Posts: 191
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(@jeff)
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Posted by: @magmatic

By the way, sometimes I hit Start Outing when I didn't mean to. Is there a way to get out of that when I am at the Add Checklist to Current Outing screen? Otherwise I have to go through the whole process of closing and naming the outing.

 

Not currently. I do that also sometimes. Forcing me to: Finish, Close Only, Completed Checklists, Delete. Uggg. I will put a nevermind, just kidding feature in there soon.

Posted by: @magmatic

Also, is there a way for it to forget the previous names I have given checklists? I imagine that list would get rather long over time. When I name a checklist, there is a popup that lets me chose a previously used name. That is good, but there are names in there I don't want to see anymore.

 

Select the name from the dropdown that you want to delete, then click the "X" button to the right.

Keep the questions and ideas coming.

Jeff

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