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  1. Gerhard Morre's Avatar
    Hello Guys,

    i have plans to get an app for windows mobile for my family to locate several vehicles and phones in real time.

    Searching for likely any advice/recommendation from others maybe using GPS-tracker services for tracking vehicles etc. or any other valuable information.

    Thank you in advance,

    Gerhard
    08-21-2015 09:14 AM
  2. gpobernardo's Avatar
    Welcome to Windows Central.

    Have a look at Life360 Family Locator. I've used their service for over a year now to track both my family members and those who matter to me. Location information is based on either GPS or cellular site triangulation of the device, whichever is more accurate. However, the refresh rate of the location data is entirely dependent on the device, i.e. only the last known location of the device would be displayed, so if the phone is turned off or loses data connectivity for the next 6 hours then the location I would see would be 6 hours late. This is true for every other "tracking" and location-based apps.
    ven07 likes this.
    08-21-2015 09:22 AM
  3. Gerhard Morre's Avatar
    Appreciate the initiative and the assistance gpobernardo.

    Any prons&cons of mentioned software before?

    I have already learned that in some programs you can manually select the refresh rate of the location data, but it is directly related then to battery life.
    Also some of them consist lots of additional charges for any option you're willing to take or include.

    Recently discovered and looking into:

    Android Device Manager
    Cerberus Anti-Theft
    Client Cerberus
    GPS Tracker

    any opinion on that ones aswell?
    gpobernardo likes this.
    08-24-2015 01:49 AM
  4. gpobernardo's Avatar
    You're welcome.

    Hmm,
    Pros: the app works as described; it allows me to invite me numerous members to "Circles" (or groups) I create and I even receive notifications when a certain member of that Circle enters or leaves a Location I've defined in the Circle (toggle available in the settings); Location size can be customized; there even is a chat platform within the app to communicate with other members, and an emergency notification in case something of urgency happens (but I don't use them)

    Cons: the interface may need to be tweaked or updated; it lags sometimes; refresh rate for the location can't be customized (although you may refresh the location manually within the app); in the Basic Membership the user is limited to only two locations per Circle, but there seems to be no limitation to the number of Circles.

    You're right in saying that the refresh rate for the location impacts battery life mainly because of the data the device needs to upload and download (as opposed to the GPS, which is automatically and periodically stored by Windows Phones if enabled).

    I'm guessing that most of such kinds of apps will require a fee for additional features or functions - that's the business model. Also, since most (if not all of them) require every member to be tracked to create an account, I didn't try "everything" that was out there back when I first tried this app - didn't want to have my friends, family members and my girlfriend keep on creating unnecessary accounts.

    As for the other apps, it seems that the apps you've listed are not for Windows Phones.

    You may read the user reviews on the apps you're looking into for additional insight/information.
    ven07 and Gerhard Morre like this.
    08-24-2015 06:33 AM
  5. Gerhard Morre's Avatar
    Thanks for reply gpobernardo,

    as i am further in checking for some apps, thanks for advices again.
    I can definitely find that lots of them intend to charge you for whatever additional action or option you are willing to take.
    So, perhaps one time purchase with a whole bunch of functions included could be even more practical and won't break the bank.

    I might be wrong but there are some apps for sure for WindowsM of the list, just might be the spelling wrong.
    (at least Gps server and Waze for sure)

    In GPS server for example you can manually adjust the time frequency the data is sent for example between 30-120 seconds, the larger the gap the power consumption is lower on battery. but how much of resources uses the app itself?

    While, "Waze" app as it also monitors the area of program users and you can be advised of possible traffic on your selected road.

    But, i am wondering if the location services on WindowsM could be switched off-on as well during refresh data time to increase battery efficiency too.

    How do you think?

    Gerhard
    08-28-2015 05:04 AM
  6. gpobernardo's Avatar
    You're welcome. It depends; Life360 charges for additional places in one circle (for notifications), but if the user doesn't need many places then the app is good as free. There also may be features that certain users may not need, so they could only buy the features they want without having to pay for everything the app can offer. This seems better than having an app that is paid from the beginning, but that's just my point of view.

    Hmm, Windows Phones can collect/determine and periodically save location data in the background in Settings > find my phone (check "Save my phone's location...") and if Location services (Settings > location) is also turned on. This means that the phone automatically and periodically determine its location even if an app isn't requiring location information. Apps similar to Life360 Family Locator (such as Track My Life) only get the information that was already determined by the phone so these apps do not significantly consume battery while they're running in the background (usually this information is mentioned in the app description in the store). However, since Life360 Family Locator has a "refresh" button, tapping on that can do two things: force the download of the latest saved location information of the phone (whether it be yours or someone else) or to force the phone to determine its current location and then send you that location. From my previous tests (me using Windows Phone and my girlfriend using an iPhone), her location is updated more frequently when she's using her phone - so this implies that the app is also only using the location that the phone has saved automatically (as opposed to determining the location live, like Waze, Maps, hiking and running apps).

    However, (sorry for the long paragraph above), to answer your first question on how much resources the app uses itself: there are two means that app uses power, while the app is "in use" (being viewed at the moment) and while the app is "running in the background" (e.g. while you're doing something else and the app isn't active/being viewed at the moment). You can see both of these consumption information for each app in your phone in the Batter Saver app. In my phone, Life360 Family Locator only consumes "<1%" of battery power while running in the background - not much - but it will become a different story if you keep the app actively displayed in the screen - all apps use most of the power this way (not while running in the background). If I frequently checked for the location of someone, e.g. every five minutes, then the app would have higher impact on battery life.

    Waze shows the location of other "wazers" but not all of them. Although it's possible to monitor the location of someone specific from the app, I think you can only monitor one person at a time here. Try searching for Glympse - I use this to track or send my location to anyone, as well as the location of someone else in real time provided that other person also has Glympse installed in his/her phone. The difference between Glympse and Life360 is that Glympse tracks in real time - so this app, even if it is only running the background, will definitely consume more power than Life360 when its tracking because 1) GPS antenna is constantly being used and 2) it has to send/download data constantly.

    So: periodic checks for and then sends data = friendly on battery; constant checks for and sends data = not so friendly on battery.

    Hence, for your second question, yes location services can be turned off in Windows Phones, but I don't think a user can control the refresh rate. The phone uses a lot of mechanisms to determine the location (you may go back to post#2, second paragraph, second sentence). In addition, however, when the phone checks for its location (whether through GPS, WiFi IP or Cellsite triangulation), the phone only does it for a few seconds each time, so it may be reasonable to deduce that location services for periodic location tracking/saving doesn't significantly consume battery power. Furthermore, therefore, apps such as Life360 that only periodically check for location in the background also do not significantly consume battery power (hence only "<1%"), while apps such as Waze (even the default Maps app) will significantly consume power because they constantly check for location.

    Waze is especially deadly, because it both checks for location and downloads traffic information in real-time - a lot of data, which means more power consumption. If ever I had to use Waze to check for traffic (and especially to navigate), I'd do so while plugged in.
    Gerhard Morre likes this.
    08-28-2015 07:57 AM
  7. Gerhard Morre's Avatar
    Well done could not expect more covered questions:)

    considering the Waze, very good point i guess the battery then should be at least 5k+ mAh to be able to cover all day of usage plus your personal browsing and stuff.

    After all these being most top popular, well advertised programs with massive download figures, but are they any good or so much more better in general comparing them with newer or not so continent wise popular ones like GPS Tracker WP or any else as i can find truly hundreds of them. And the problem appears to be the choice.

    Generally, why should any "wrong" or "bad" app be put in store? or i am wrong in something i do not get.
    Last edited by Gerhard Morre; 09-01-2015 at 06:07 AM.
    gpobernardo likes this.
    09-01-2015 02:11 AM
  8. gpobernardo's Avatar
    Well, the battery life in the L1020 (especially when taking a lot of photos/videos and staying connected to 3G/4G) wasn't really good to begin with, so I always carry a power bank with me - Sony 10,000mAh is decent and brings my phone through two days without a power supply, but then I'll have to charge the power bank over night - that's because the L1020 only has 2,000mAh.

    Hmm, not sure how I can answer that question. It's analogous to buying anything: for example, one decides to buy a phone now, and then a few months later another phone shows up with better features, etc - however, the main difference is that apps get updated with new features (not all phones get new features with updates, just like how the L1020 didn't get Hey Cortana due to hardware limitations). So, one good indicator of a good app is developer support/response. I never had the need to contact the developers of Life360, but I can name a few developers who take user response seriously.

    Another fairly good indicator are user reviews, though majority of the reviews are highly unprofessional - so be on the lookout for reviews that are actually substantial, such as "One of the few apps that delivers push notifications, updates tiles in the background and has low impact on battery life, add to that a responsive developer... needs to have the ability to choose proximity sensitivity though" as opposed to "Great app! Gives what I need. Thanks!". Users also are highly unregulated when it comes to giving number of stars, anyway.

    Some of the other good app indicators are the revision number and the latest revision date - these tell us how active/dedicated the user is to improving his or her app.


    As for "bad" apps being put in the store, from what I've read Microsoft is or was implementing some requirements for developers to comply with to ensure that the apps that they submit are actually good. However, there are apps in the store that are utterly worthless, such as weather apps that bring the user to a webpage where the user can enter the name of the city in order to determine the weather for that city - well why not just bring the weather straight into the app with the location automatically detected? In this case, the user reviews (as well as the number of reviews) would give us some information on how good or bad the app really is - even before downloading it.
    09-02-2015 09:44 AM

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