Positional: Simple GPS App w/ Coords, Elevation, Speed, Bearing

mtrewartha

Observer
I'm a developer and live in Colorado. I couldn't believe how often I was out and about and just wanted to know my elevation or GPS coordinates, but had to go through some complicated flow in order to get them. So I wrote a quick little Android app one night and tossed it on Google Play (for free): Positional. I just thought I'd share in case anyone else found it useful!

There are other apps and software out there that are full fledged nav apps for off road use. This is NOT a replacement for them... it's just a quick, handy way of getting an idea of your elevation and GPS coordinates, no matter where you are, as long as you have your Android device handy. That's it.


  • Get your elevation/altitude and GPS coordinates as quickly as possible
  • Switch between meters and feet by tapping the unit on screen
  • Day/night auto-dimming that adjusts to the time of day and sunrise/sunset times
  • Screen can be locked on (only applies while you're in the app... when you leave it, the lock disables itself) for longer trail rides/drives
  • Completely free and no ads (never going to change)
  • No account necessary
Check it out!
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=io.trewartha.positional

P.S. If you have feature requests, notice a bug, or anything like that, just hit me up in this thread!
 
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Rando

Explorer
Thanks for sharing, and even more thanks for making this free. While I am currently tied to iOS, this type of app is something I have been looking for and I am sure many people will find useful.
 

Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
I installed it, Thanks. I like it, nice and simple. Probably won't be an app I use much, but in the rare moment I need it, it will be extremely useful.

I'm thinking this is ideal for if you need to relay your position to someone like emergency services or another party over the radio. Pull up the app and read it off.

You mentioned feature requests, it's certainly fine as is, but if you want to tinker with it further, one I would find helpful is make the Coordinate format perhaps cycle through several common formats by tapping in a similar fashion as you have the Feet/meters conversion set up.

Decimal is fine for most applications, but some use degrees decimal minutes, like Geocachers default. Different user groups have their favorite format, and if you want coords fast nobody wants to convert.

Also a bit larger text for the coords portion might be useful. In my part of the world elevation is not something we need to know much, however the coordinates portion is helpful everywhere. If necessary you might go to 2 lines of text, I'm accustomed to seeing coords with Latitude and Longitude as 2 lines rather than one long string, but it is fine as is.

But if you do tinker with it further, definitely don't make it more complicated. Those 3 bits of info and the just tap on it interface is perfect.
 

mtrewartha

Observer
Thanks for sharing, and even more thanks for making this free. While I am currently tied to iOS, this type of app is something I have been looking for and I am sure many people will find useful.
No prob! It was such a simple app to write... I would feel guilty charging anything for it or including ads. I actually did include ads originally and thought it was ridiculous, so I ripped them out :sombrero: If I ever write an iOS version (I may... I've been wanting to write an iOS app in Swift now for awhile), I'll be sure to let ya know.

I installed it, Thanks. I like it, nice and simple. Probably won't be an app I use much, but in the rare moment I need it, it will be extremely useful.

I'm thinking this is ideal for if you need to relay your position to someone like emergency services or another party over the radio. Pull up the app and read it off.

You mentioned feature requests, it's certainly fine as is, but if you want to tinker with it further, one I would find helpful is make the Coordinate format perhaps cycle through several common formats by tapping in a similar fashion as you have the Feet/meters conversion set up.

Decimal is fine for most applications, but some use degrees decimal minutes, like Geocachers default. Different user groups have their favorite format, and if you want coords fast nobody wants to convert.

Also a bit larger text for the coords portion might be useful. In my part of the world elevation is not something we need to know much, however the coordinates portion is helpful everywhere. If necessary you might go to 2 lines of text, I'm accustomed to seeing coords with Latitude and Longitude as 2 lines rather than one long string, but it is fine as is.

But if you do tinker with it further, definitely don't make it more complicated. Those 3 bits of info and the just tap on it interface is perfect.
It's usually a spur of the moment thing for me, too. Also, thanks for the feedback on the coordinate format- I'll definitely build the ability to toggle the formats.

As far as the larger text goes, I was debating making it possible to control the entire layout via a preferences screen. I might give a user the ability to hide/show/rearrange/resize/configure up to 6 different aspects of his/her location:

- Latitude/longitude
- Elevation
- Bearing
- Speed
- Number of satellites
- Provider (which technology the location was derived from: GPS, cell signal, or wi-fi)

By "configure" I mean choose which unit or format is used, depending on the aspect. I'd keep these tucked away in some preferences (so they don't clutter the UI during normal use) and would probably still provide the tapping functionality to change units or formats.

How does all of that sound?
 

mtrewartha

Observer
Just pushed an update out, get it HERE! Airmapper, you'll be glad to hear this one includes at least minimal functionality that allows you to view coordinates in DMS format instead of DD! Here's the list of changes:

• Added the ability to toggle the GPS coordinates format between Decimal Degrees and Degrees/Minutes/Seconds formats by tapping on the coordinates
• Added a small progress bar to indicate when the app is waiting for your device's location (instead of the big, ugly "loading..." text)
• Optimized layout to work a bit better on small screens

Enjoy and keep giving me ideas!
 
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Airmapper

High-Tech Redneck
Looks great, thank you!

I like your ideas for the customization features. Speed in particular sounds handy.

P.S. if your going for the other fields, you could do a "Night mode" that switches background to black and text to red to preserve night vision. Then you could add description and tags to target it at the telescope hobbyists as well who need to program in coords on thier tracking telescopes. Also would be useful if used as a speedometer app at night.

Edit, nevermind I forgot it already changes after dark.
 
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DaveInDenver

Expedition Leader
Tried it. "Can't update your location at this time", sitting in my home office. Deleted it. :(
Works fine on my iPhone 5s. I had to give it access to my location in Settings. It's either 'Always' or 'Never' and defaulted to never. After changing (if yours is in fact set to 'Never'), you have to actually stop the program (double tap the Home button, swipe up to kill app in background) and restart.
 

Sabre

Overlanding Nurse
Mike, this is a great app! Many of us still carry paper maps (or charts if on the salt water) and this simple little app allows a quick fix. It's the quickest and simplest way to get my exact coordinates, a necessary bit of information if I'm going to relay my position to friends or rescuers. I love the screen lock function!

Well done, sir. Thanks so much for sharing this with the world! :luxhello:

PS: FYI, in the Google Play store it says "contains ads."
 
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mtrewartha

Observer
Thanks, I'm just glad other people find it useful!

Regarding the "contains ads" thing in the Play Store: I originally contemplated putting them in there and hence, I added some code to enable them. I've since removed the code, but I think I forgot about one little remnant that tells the Play Store that the app includes ads. I'll remove it and I think it should correctly indicate that there are no ads at that point.
 

Rando

Explorer
So I just bought a new android tablet just so that I could use this app :ylsmoke: ! One suggestion/request that was mentioned before would be to make the text adjustable in size. It would be great if it could essentially fill my 10" screen.
 

mtrewartha

Observer
Thanks for solving this really annoying problem.
No prob! It was a dead simple app to write.

So I just bought a new android tablet just so that I could use this app :ylsmoke: ! One suggestion/request that was mentioned before would be to make the text adjustable in size. It would be great if it could essentially fill my 10" screen.
No ****? That's cool to hear! I definitely plan on making the display far more configurable than it is now. Stay tuned and thanks for the feedback!
 
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