iOS app feature wishlist

pieris's Avatar


07 Dec, 2019 09:05 PM

It's exciting to see caltopo available on the phone. I've spent a morning with it and have some feature suggestions. I understand it's early-days and many of these may already be in planning.

1. When looking at areas unsupported by the selected layer, automatically switch to a better map layer. Ex: when I have MapBuilder Hybrid selected, and jump to Torres Del Paine, it’s blank – until I load up TF Oudoors (not my favorite layer, but beats nothing)

2. Planning a route is definitely still better on the desktop app, I’m happy to use it there and not sure if it's well-suited to the phone.

3. Consider partnering with Meteoblue or Windy for weather forecast integration. Clicking weather for this point jumps to NOAA website which is nice for general area, but not precise enough for mountain use. SnoTel sites are great though, and well-integrated.

4. App has to reload itself after being in the background for a short time. This is a common issue for mapping apps, at least the load time is fast and it saves state.

5. Having primary and secondary units display seems redundant

6. in the cursor info box on top-right, consider adding a distance & bearing to cursor

7. Finding a distance & bearing to a point on the map is quite laborious (Map Items -> Add Map Items -> Marker -> OK -> click on marker -> Start Navigation)

8. Consider adding a scale or integrating a scale with some static feature on the display

I like how uncluttered the map view is, keeping it this way while enriching the experience will be a good challenge.

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Ben Lantow on 09 Dec, 2019 01:34 PM

    Ben Lantow's Avatar

    Many of these are on our radar.

    1. Not sure this one is something we are going to do. The decision tree for what the “best” option is in areas of no coverage is tricky since in different places it would be something different. We’ll talk on this one more.
    2. We think route planning will always be better on the desktop, though we are planning to add some features such as snap to grid, among others.
    3. We’re working on some mountain specific forecasting, stay tuned. It takes a fair bit of development effort still.
    4. We’re not sure why exactly the app keeps reloading when backgrounded. We think its based on iOS management functions but the more you use it the less it will get closed apparently. I don’t think there is anything we can do about it unfortunately.
    5. Lots of users need this (particularly wild land fire, SAR, etc), we don’t think it takes too much space at the end of the day.
    6. Good thought
    7. Working on this for sure.
    8. And also working on this one


  2. 2 Posted by pieris on 10 Dec, 2019 01:24 PM

    pieris's Avatar

    I figured most of these are already in-flight, but wanted to make my vote. I'll be watching for future updates.

    1. Nobody else does this either, so maybe that's the best approach. And the more layers there are the more complex this becomes.
    3. Excited to see what you have in store. The intersection between high-quality mapping and weather could be pretty compelling.
    4. It might have to do with resource management and possibly power consumption. See the link for possible solutions to reduce energy usage to the point that iOS doesn't feel the need to kill the process. I'm not sure what the threshold is but I think it's quite low.

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by Ben Lantow on 10 Dec, 2019 11:26 PM

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    Thanks we'll look at the power use stuff more, thats a big concern for us in the long term.


  4. 4 Posted by Rick Allen on 13 Jan, 2020 11:36 AM

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    I’ve been helping SAR members in integrating the iOS app into their tools for incident management function in the field. The integration with iOS Files app is very useful but seeming hard for some!

    A feature that would be very SAR friendly would be ability to print to iOS screen a nice pdf like is available on desktop version. As most IMT staff do not have a field printer available, a screen shot can be shared with field teams easily with iOS Airdrop. The inclusion of scale, direction, label etc. would be beneficial. Thks

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by Ben Lantow on 13 Jan, 2020 03:05 PM

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    Unfortunately generation of PDFs is complex and processor heavy and not something we'll be supporting on mobile any time in the future. The maps themselves are shareable fairly easily, does that not meet this need?

  6. 6 Posted by Rick Allen on 13 Jan, 2020 03:23 PM

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    Ben thanks for quick reply. I figured this might be the case. We are sharing maps, and the will work. People just wanted the “pretty” pdf models especially if the like paper!
    Thanks for such a usable product.

    Rick Allen

  7. Support Staff 7 Posted by Ben Lantow on 13 Jan, 2020 03:28 PM

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    Alternatively, if you're in an organized CP with computer or computer and
    printers you could run the desktop software which can generate PDFs.

  8. 8 Posted by Rick Allen on 13 Jan, 2020 04:38 PM

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    Thanks, we’ve been using the desktop v. For quite sometime. The portability and ease of using iPads and phones in the field is what brought the pdf capability to the front.
    Very few incident commanders have field capable laptops and printers especially. Often Ops and Plans are generating the bulk of plotting, assigning, planning etc. the new app will be a great enabler for getting rid of paper and sharing with subsequent OP periods. The paradigm shift to devices running the app instead of paper will take a while!

    Rick Allen

  9. Support Staff 9 Posted by Ben Lantow on 13 Jan, 2020 04:45 PM

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    We'll also talk about generating a "search overview view" or something of the sort for the future in addition to 104 forms but it will be longer term. We've seen a big increase in SAR use.

  10. 10 Posted by Rick Allen on 13 Jan, 2020 05:16 PM

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    Ben, thanks for all you’ve done for SAR users. One last question. Is your coding for tracking distance different than Gaia and Garmin? We are observing mileage differences of ~ 20-25% greater than the others. Would be better if our field teams were all getting similar distance readings.
    Rick Allen

  11. Support Staff 11 Posted by Ben Lantow on 18 Jan, 2020 04:55 PM

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    I'm looking into the discrepancy you reference. It's almost certainly related to smoothing/processing the line, but I need to get some details for this.

  12. Support Staff 12 Posted by Ben Lantow on 01 Apr, 2020 02:11 AM

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    Closing the loop here. Many of these have been implemented. The discrepancy in track length is related to smoothing which is currently being worked on. I'm going to close this ticket for housekeeping reasons, feel free to open a new on or respond if you have further feedback or issues.


  13. Ben Lantow closed this discussion on 01 Apr, 2020 02:11 AM.

  14. Rick Allen re-opened this discussion on 01 Apr, 2020 02:17 AM

  15. 13 Posted by Rick Allen on 01 Apr, 2020 02:17 AM

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    Thanks Ben. We appreciate what you’ve accomplished. Please keep it up!

    Rick Allen

  16. rmarcucci closed this discussion on 01 Apr, 2020 02:22 AM.

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