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GPS location and tracking

Many popular services such as taxi companies, post offices and shipping companies often use GPS tracking features to optimize their operations in the field. T.Flex has an integrated service which integrates GPS tracking capabilities with the built-in map. To access the GPS location and tracking interface, tap Map in the navigation drawer. You can do the following on the map:

  • Zoom in and out
  • View the precise positions of TASSTA users and locate them
  • View the "who is talking" status and identify users
  • Center on a specific user
  • Use indoor localization features
  • Work with guard tours
Choice of map engine:

The TASSTA framework supports the following two map back-end technologies:

  • OpenStreetMap
    This is the default option available for free. It is also the only option for devices running Android versions prior to 5.0.
  • Mapbox
    This API offers a richer feature set compared to the OpenStreetMap engine – you can manipulate the compass, follow specific users, switch to night mode, use a grid and create routes from point to point. However, Mapbox requires purchasing an access token to provide the map functionality to clients. It's up to your TASSTA administrators to obtain the access token.

User identification and markers

The position of each subscriber is marked by an icon on the map with a label that shows the user name.

The user's icon changes status changes when the user presses PTT and the floor is granted. The set of icons is as follows:

Icon Meaning
Your location Your location
Your last known location Your last known location
You are talking You are talking
Location where you were last seen talking Location where you were last seen talking
User's location User's location
User's last known location User's last known location
User is talking User is talking
Location where user was last seen talking Location where user was last seen talking
User is in emergency User is in emergency
Emergency message Emergency message
User's coordinates are unknown User's coordinates are unknown
User with unknown coordinates is talking User with unknown coordinates is talking

In addition to the icons listed above, there is a set of icons with the same meanings for radio users connected to the TASSTA network through bridge middleware. These icons have a pin, as in the following example:

Radio user with unknown coordinates is talking

The last known location markers are displayed if GPS reports stop coming from the user's device. The regular user marker stays up for a while. After 40 seconds, it is replaced by a last known location marker, which stays up for 120 seconds and then disappears.

A last known location marker does not appear if the user logs out or loses connection. If the user logs out, their marker disappears immediately. If they lose connection, it stays up until the server decides to cut the connection.

Note:

Some users who are online may be absent from the map. This normally means the administrator has turned off GPS location sharing for these users. However, when such a user makes an emergency call, their GPS coordinates are sent to all users that they can reach.

Map zoom

T.Flex lets you zoom the map in and out to help you see the situation at different scales, whether you need to see all active clients in the world (maximum zoom out) or the location of one particular user on the street (maximum zoom in).

In some cases, you may not need a strong zoom. For example, when there is a large distance between users and it is enough to know only their approximate location (district, city).

In this situation, you have the option to limit the zoom range. For that, open the Settings, select Zoom level and set a value from 1 (no zoom) to 18 (allow maximum zoom).

Detailed street view

It is important to have a detailed street view on the map. The integrated map provides a detailed street view with house numbers, road and street names and provides the address of any location.

Furthermore, the map shows colored lines, areas and other standard symbols to help read and interpret the map at different scales.

Real-time positioning and precise location on the map

There are many publications and articles on the Internet devoted to the accuracy of GPS on mobile phones. Some of them introduce us to new technologies improving the accuracy of GPS receivers on phones. Some articles describe the test results for specific mobile phones and even explain the math behind the process. These materials are good to keep in mind, but the best practice is always to test.

Our tests and practical experience allow us to say that today embedded GPS receivers in many existing mobile phones not only meet but also exceed most of the requirements for production use.

The map component of T.Flex has powerful user locating features. On the T.Flex map you can see your TASSTA network users' locations in real time, accurate to the street and house number.

Centering the map on a user

To directly jump to a specific user's location without scrolling the map around, go to the user list, locate the user and tap the On map On map icon for that user. This feature becomes indispensable if you have hundreds of users in your TASSTA network.

To jump to your own location while the map is open, tap the On map On map icon, which is located above the map view.

Guard tour

T.Flex provides features for organizing, logging and performing guard tours and security patrols, helping you accomplish your tasks within predefined time intervals.

The routes for the guard tours are configured and assigned by the T.Rodon operator. T.Flex is responsible for helping you track your progress on the tour and providing ways to pass checkpoints.

The following methods are supported for passing a checkpoint:

  • GPS
    Simply arrive in the vicinity of the checkpoint
  • QR
    Scan a QR code located at the checkpoint

When a guard tour is assigned to you by the T.Rodon operator, you get a notification and a shield icon is displayed.

If QR mode is active for the guard tour, the QR scan button is available in the toolbar in Guard Tour view. To update your status from a QR code or barcode, tap that button and scan the code with the camera. If the code has valid information, your status is updated.

You can view your guard tour on the map. The operator sets timers for passing points (H:MM:SS time format). If you fail to arrive at the next point before the corresponding timer runs out, a warning is sent to the operator.

In the guard tour view, you can do the following:

  • Start the guard tour
    Once you have started a guard tour, you cannot cancel it.
  • See which checkpoints you have passed and which you have yet to pass
    A checkpoint has one of several states: "not visited", "in progress", "paused", "skipped" and "visited". The checkpoint that is "in progress" is the one you currently have to visit next.
  • Check the time left for you to reach the next checkpoint
    The operator sets timers for passing points (H:MM:SS time format). If you fail to pass the next point before the corresponding timer runs out, a warning is sent to the operator.
  • Pass the checkpoint by scanning a QR code.
    In this mode, the QR scan button is available in the toolbar in guard tour view. To update your status from a QR code or barcode, tap the QR scan button and scan the code with the camera.
  • Pause or resume the tour
    This pauses and resumes the countdown to the next checkpoint.
  • Skip a checkpoint
    This action has to be approved by the operator.
  • Stop the tour
    This action has to be approved by the operator.

Waypoints

You can leave annotated marks on the map, called waypoints. For that, tap and hold the spot you need on the map. In the menu that appears, add a title and description and choose a color for the new waypoint.