Thanks to those who have been following, and participating in, the beta program for BackCountry Navigator on Android. I hope you have found that this has potential for bring offline topographic maps to your Android phone.
I wanted to share some of the progress that has been made to date, and some other things to keep in mind.
Multiple Map Downloads
So far, many people have given feedback on how the download service works. This week's build will allow you to start multiple downloads at once. See this article for the process:
There are still some questions remaining about map downloads:
- Do the downloads consume too much (or too little) of your phone's CPU? If so, there are a few parameters we can change. The first is lowering the thread's priority. The second is the frequency of updates to the notfication area, which is currently about every 10 seconds or so.
- A download currently computes a complete list of tiles needed at the beginning of a download. This ensures we don't download tiles that you already have in your repository. A download can get started quicker if we only check each tile as we are about to download it. This has a tradeoff – the total number of tiles will sometimes count down, which can be a bit disconcerting if you don't expect it.
Android 1.5 support is here!
Owners of Android 1.5 devices such as the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment haven't been able to try BackCountry Navigator before now. Meanwhile, their phone companies have been stringing them along, with an update to Android 2.1 expected "any day now" since about February. This week's build should install and run on 1.5, as well as 1.6, 2.0, and 2.1.
We've been able to do a number of things with your help as beta testers.
- Saving screen real estate by getting rid of the tab interface.
- Fixing a bug that caused a malformed url connecting to certain servers in locales with a comma for a decimal
- Combined the compass view with a view of realtime navigations stats. Added Longitude and Latitude to this view.
- Fixing downloads that got stalled or wouldn't cancel. .
Not Yet Accomplished:
A number of other things have been requested or mentioned that haven't been done yet.
- Settings to use metric/non metric units in navigation stats
- Option to not tilt the map according to the compass
- Cleaning up erasing map tiles.
- Localization in Spanish, French, or Italian.
- Graphical display of GPS Status
We've made some great progress in importing waypoints from GPX and LOC format, but it wasn't quite ready for this week's build. Look for some messages on that topic, and possibly a video as well.
You can download this week's build from the usual place: