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Attila_G

TBScan - Trackable App for iPhone

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It has never been easier to discover Trackables

 

TBScan-Schriftzug.jpg

 

TBScan is a new and revolutionary iPhone app for every Geocacher. What many Geocachers have been dreaming about is new reality: With TBScan you can discover and log TBs and Coins without having to type the tracking code. As soon as you point your camera at the code it will get recognized instantly: It’s that easy!

 

TBScan is perfect for events: Where you previously had to first write down every single tracking code on a piece of paper only to later manually key in every single one, you can now scan the trackables lightning-fast and discover them all at the same time. With the help of TBScan you can discover up to 10 trackables per minute.

 

What is more, TBScan is a great helper when you encounter a Trackable in a cache. Quickly scan the code and you will see the mission of the TB or coin. Finally, if you want to take that Trackable on your journey you can also directly log it.

 

Pricing and Availability

TBScan is available for free as a “light” version in the AppStore. You can extend the application’s functionality with an optional in-app purchase.

 

System Requirements

- iPhone 4s and iOS 9 or newer

- Use of the Live-API requires an Internet connection

 

Information / Contact

www.tbscan.com / developer@tbscan.com

 

=> Check out the PodCachers show #567! TBScan mentioned on minute 27:30.

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It has never been easier to discover Trackables

 

TBScan-Schriftzug.jpg

 

TBScan is a new and revolutionary iPhone app for every Geocacher. What many Geocachers have been dreaming about is new reality: With TBScan you can discover and log TBs and Coins without having to type the tracking code. As soon as you point your camera at the code it will get recognized instantly: It’s that easy!

 

TBScan is perfect for events: Where you previously had to first write down every single tracking code on a piece of paper only to later manually key in every single one, you can now scan the trackables lightning-fast and discover them all at the same time. With the help of TBScan you can discover up to 10 trackables per minute.

 

What is more, TBScan is a great helper when you encounter a Trackable in a cache. Quickly scan the code and you will see the mission of the TB or coin. Finally, if you want to take that Trackable on your journey you can also directly log it.

 

Pricing and Availability

TBScan is available for free as a “light” version in the AppStore. You can extend the application’s functionality with an optional in-app purchase.

 

System Requirements

- iPhone 4s and iOS 9 or newer

- Use of the Live-API requires an Internet connection

 

Information / Contact

www.tbscan.com / developer@tbscan.com

 

=> Check out the PodCachers show #567! TBScan mentioned on minute 27:30.

 

Is there an Android version coming, or is this Apple only?

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Actually it's an iPhone only app.

 

-- Attila

Boooooo :laughing:

 

Yeah, too bad. It's a good idea though. I'd download it for Android for sure.

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Actually it's an iPhone only app.

 

-- Attila

Boooooo :laughing:

 

Yeah, too bad. It's a good idea though. I'd download it for Android for sure.

I saw someone using it an Event last week. With the variety of ways a Tracking Number is imprinted, and with the condition of tags in the wild, some must be typed by hand, and some can be scanned directly just fine. It seemed to work OK.

 

I haven't installed the App, but if it has a section about how to handle TBs when things go wrong (shown in someone else's possession, shown in a different cache, tons of things), it could be very useful.

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I use it and already reported some bugs (meanwhile fixed, developer is very responsive).

 

Key thing is - as with all tools - you have to practise. There are codes that are not scannable, but then you can type the code directly in the app and use the logging process further on. With a bit of training I'm now able to decide with most of the codes if it's quicker to scan or to type. Works fine.

 

This said, I have to admit, I'm not even a "power discoverer". Normally I just discover trackables which are cute and/or somewhat remarkable. So the time saving is no argument for me, but the process organization is: before the app I noted the code on a piece of paper or made a photo. Then I had to type it into the computer. This may not sound complicated (and most others will still do it this way), but it's a media break. The TBScan app closes this gape. Sure, other apps do that as well, but my geocaching app handles trackables in a way that is too complicated for more than a few. TBScan has optimized the process even for me as a more or less facultative discoverer. And the OCR function makes it look cool. B)

 

In my opinion there is just a major cutdown: the lack of offline ability. It won't take a code in it's memory list, when it can't approve it online. Which is bad when no internet connection is possible. I discussed this with the developer, he says it's a feature to instantly check the code and there is no other way. I oppose this, but at the moment don't succeed.

 

There are some other minor handling issues I'm not satisfied with and already discussed with the developer.

 

AFAIK the (just 15 year old!) programmer coded his own OCR routine, because the available ones didn't work good enough. He used a IOS only framework for that. Hence the restriction to IOS at the moment.

 

All in all, for me it was worth the money (there recently was a special offer period, which I used).

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In my opinion there is just a major cutdown: the lack of offline ability. It won't take a code in it's memory list, when it can't approve it online. Which is bad when no internet connection is possible. I discussed this with the developer, he says it's a feature to instantly check the code and there is no other way. I oppose this, but at the moment don't succeed.

Is the developer closed to suggestions? I work offline in the field, but even online, many TBs and coins will not be OCR readable, and even are unreadable by me. I have to get a flashlight and look at the code at several angles, then probably make a few guesses. The App must at least include the ability to save the image (whether it was scanned into OCR or not). And I'd like to be able to include notes with each image. My TB Discovery process is to take a picture of the tag, decide if I will be able to type it later (due to legibility), and take other photos of the item with no tracking number in view, for posting with the eventual log. If I have to resort to paper notes or other Apps, I might as well not even bother with this one.

 

I'm trying to free myself of iThing, and might sometime switch to a data-connected Android phone. So I won't be using that iPhone App if it's online-only. But I'd consider a competing product (or this one while I still use iPhone) if it had much better handling of tracking numbers that require additional work to read. And if it had extensive in-App help on what to do when a TB cannot be logged as expected (there are situations where this becomes pretty complicated), that App would be valuable.

Edited by kunarion

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It does sound cool - I must say I'm discouraged by the lack of offline use though, most of our good caching is in areas of patchy reception.... Yesterday at an event, I discovered 100 TBs/GCs, I'mnot sure if taking a photo of each one would be faster than me writing down the codes..... Logging them later on of course... :)

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It does sound cool - I must say I'm discouraged by the lack of offline use though, most of our good caching is in areas of patchy reception.... Yesterday at an event, I discovered 100 TBs/GCs, I'mnot sure if taking a photo of each one would be faster than me writing down the codes..... Logging them later on of course... :)

 

Writing down the codes (on paper) is double work anyway. As BenOw said: It takes some practice and after a while you know which trackables can be recognized by TBScan. The other ones can simply be entered manually (or even with voice recognition!).

 

Offline use sound simplier than it is to realize. It's a lot more complex because the live-check of the code is very important to guarantee that the code is valid. For better understanding: When TBScan recognizes an "O" and the live-check says "not valid", then the app tries with an "0" instead. This can't be done offline! This is just a very simple example. In reality it's much more complicated what TBScan does to find the proper code.

 

In situations when there is no internet connection available, TBScan (Pro version) can save the codes in the photo library for later recognition. This doesn't mean, that the developer is not trying to implement a possibility to scan offline, but it's really not a simple thing.

 

-- Attila

Edited by Attila_G

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Yeah, without offline capability this app wouldn't be useful to me. I don't want to spend an entire event typing out logs. That is a task that should be done later, not while there's a social gathering happening.

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Since this app relates to trackables, I'm moving the thread from the Geocaching Topics forum to the Travel Bug forum.

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Actually it's an iPhone only app.

 

-- Attila

Boooooo :laughing:

 

Yeah, too bad. It's a good idea though. I'd download it for Android for sure.

 

Yep, too bad for me too. I would give it a try on my Android. :( Truth is, I seldom log TB's anymore and really don't need an app for that. :)

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In my opinion there is just a major cutdown: the lack of offline ability. It won't take a code in it's memory list, when it can't approve it online. Which is bad when no internet connection is possible. I discussed this with the developer, he says it's a feature to instantly check the code and there is no other way. I oppose this, but at the moment don't succeed.

Is the developer closed to suggestions? I work offline in the field, but even online, many TBs and coins will not be OCR readable, and even are unreadable by me. I have to get a flashlight and look at the code at several angles, then probably make a few guesses. The App must at least include the ability to save the image (whether it was scanned into OCR or not). And I'd like to be able to include notes with each image.

Developer is very responsive and open for discussion. From a process viewpoint I think there may be another way to implement the trackingcode validation, but apparently he knows his algorithms better than me. :)

 

The app offers a photo ability from within the scanning view, just a click on the screen. The photo can be stored and used later for online OCR or own reading/typing just as the real trackable. So this is kind of offline ability, which works pretty fine. No notes possible as long as the code is not recognized (online!), though. But no notes with images, too (picture is stored in the standard image library), AFAIK.

 

The App offers a button from within the scanning screen which activates the flashlight of the phone, so scanning/reading the code may be easier.

 

My TB Discovery process is to take a picture of the tag, decide if I will be able to type it later (due to legibility), and take other photos of the item with no tracking number in view, for posting with the eventual log. If I have to resort to paper notes or other Apps, I might as well not even bother with this one.

Posting photos with the log isn't possible yet, I think. Would be a good suggestion. However, resorting to paper notes or another App isn't necessary for discovering even when you don't have online acccess in the field, as long as you don't need to note additional info. Logging works only when the code is recognized (online).

 

I'm trying to free myself of iThing, and might sometime switch to a data-connected Android phone. So I won't be using that iPhone App if it's online-only. But I'd consider a competing product (or this one while I still use iPhone) if it had much better handling of tracking numbers that require additional work to read.

It totally supports the whole process of discovering trackables within one App. So far a pretty smart thing. Plus the OCR capability, which makes getting most tracking numbers very easy, if you gain a bit experience.

 

There is a free trial version available, so I'd suggest to simply try it. FAQ and other hints on the web site are useful, direct developer contact there as well. It's a Groundspeak partner app (official use of the API, no guideline violation).

 

Disclaimer/Interest declaration: I'm not affilated to the developer, I'm not obliged to advertise the product, I'm just a happy customer (having paid the discount price which was available for a short period), however I'm surely interested in further development of the App. :)

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7 hours ago, Dread_Pirate_Bruce said:

I'm too dense to figure out how to use this app. I can scan the TBs, but have no clue how to get them to log to the website!

 

Yeah.  TBscan immediately confused me.  I think I get the idea now.  Maybe. :cute:

A couple of years ago at an Event, I saw someone scanning TBs using the iPhone version of this App and it seemed to work pretty well.  I recently noticed this App is available for Android.  I now have a smartphone with data subscription, and can use "online" Apps in the field.  So I thought I might as well install this.  I was especially interested in how adept the App might be at helping to unscramble particularly messed up TB logs.  It would need to do much more than "typing a tracking number", which I can easily do myself with no App.  The App's site integration, instructional material, and troubleshooting tree would need to be pretty impressive, to help even a novice understand what to do next if there's a problem with making the desired log. But the App is pretty basic, very slooow at "scanning", and it wipes away any scanned or typed data once a log is "posted", regardless of whether or not the log arrived on the web site.  That's no good.  What if I had scanned a lot of TBs, and there was a site glitch when I "posted" them?

It took me forever to figure out what I was doing wrong with the first TB I tried to log using TBscan by itself, without accessing the web site to do any of that log. This was my own TB, so that situation is something to keep in mind when using TB scan.  And I'd bet there is more than just one gotcha.

On the web site, in this situation, the TB "Owner" can make a "Note" log on his TB, but "Discover" is not in the list.  The “Discover” log should not be available within the App, in cases when the App can't cause that log to happen. No only was “Discover” an option to me, the whole process seemed to go smoothly, and there was a sort of confirmation, "Log got posted", all of which should not have occurred, because the result was no saved log.  There should have been a prompt at some point about a problem with that log type, like, "In this case you can't make a Discover log".  I "posted" several "Discover logs" before I realized why the App wasn't creating the logs.

I also tried this on my iPhone with the exact same results.  The iPhone has a slightly different look, better prompts, and a "Log got posted" notice that's easier to notice, than the Droid version has.

I can't think of a reason why by design a TB Owner couldn't always "Discover" his own TB, but I'm sure there's a great reason. B)

I instead made a Note log (a log which the TB Owner is allowed to make), and that worked OK.

Edited by kunarion

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Geooh Live for Android has a built-in TB scanner... for free. It's the only geocaching app to have one included.

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On 21.3.2018 at 12:09 AM, Dread_Pirate_Bruce said:

I'm too dense to figure out how to use this app. I can scan the TBs, but have no clue how to get them to log to the website!

 

Have a look at this video: https://youtu.be/JPxe3IFG7Bg

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On 21.3.2018 at 5:51 AM, kunarion said:

But the App is pretty basic, very slooow at "scanning",...

 

No, not the App itself is slow. TBScan recognizes the code within fractions of a second if the lettering is optically readable. After detection, the code is checked via the Live API at Groundspeak. This check can often take longer than the actual detection and is very dependent on the Internet connection. However, there are also fonts that TBScan has trouble with. Examples are available on the website: http://tbscan.com/hints_en.php

 

 

On 21.3.2018 at 5:51 AM, kunarion said:

...and it wipes away any scanned or typed data once a log is "posted", regardless of whether or not the log arrived on the web site.  That's no good.  What if I had scanned a lot of TBs, and there was a site glitch when I "posted" them?

 

No, if a TB cannot be logged (e.g. because of a weak Internet connection), the code remains in the discover list. Exception see next answer:

 

 

On 21.3.2018 at 5:51 AM, kunarion said:

On the web site, in this situation, the TB "Owner" can make a "Note" log on his TB, but "Discover" is not in the list.  The “Discover” log should not be available within the App, in cases when the App can't cause that log to happen. No only was “Discover” an option to me, the whole process seemed to go smoothly, and there was a sort of confirmation, "Log got posted", all of which should not have occurred, because the result was no saved log.  There should have been a prompt at some point about a problem with that log type, like, "In this case you can't make a Discover log".  I "posted" several "Discover logs" before I realized why the App wasn't creating the logs

 

That's a very good input! Thank you! 
I guess it was different in the past, but at the moment you can only write a note to your own trackables. This change has yet to be implemented in TBScan. 
VERY IMPORTANT: If you encounter such a problem/bug, please contact the developer directly! => developer[at]tbscan.com

 

 

On 21.3.2018 at 5:51 AM, kunarion said:

I can't think of a reason why by design a TB Owner couldn't always "Discover" his own TB, but I'm sure there's a great reason.

 

True...!

Edited by Attila_G

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On 3/21/2018 at 12:51 AM, kunarion said:

I can't think of a reason why by design a TB Owner couldn't always "Discover" his own TB, but I'm sure there's a great reason. B)

 

Well, a Discover log is a way to let a trackable owner know that you've seen a trackable out in the wild but didn't take it with you.  I suppose the logic is that, as the trackable owner, you don't need a log to realize you've seen your own trackable. 

 

(Or if you do need a log to tell yourself that you have seen your own trackable, there are larger issues at hand.)  :anibad:

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55 minutes ago, hzoi said:

 

Well, a Discover log is a way to let a trackable owner know that you've seen a trackable out in the wild but didn't take it with you.  I suppose the logic is that, as the trackable owner, you don't need a log to realize you've seen your own trackable. 

 

(Or if you do need a log to tell yourself that you have seen your own trackable, there are larger issues at hand.)  :anibad:

 

My post was about the fact that "Discover", regardless of why it is not allowed, was available in that App, sending a log to null.  OK, if, I Discover my TB in a cache somewhere, sure, I'll log a note instead.  Others can go MYOB, it's my TB :).  But since it's been unilaterally decided and sooo logical to disallow that function, an App needs to also not allow it.

 

Edited by kunarion

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I just read about this app and thought "How cool!"  But when I went to download it, My device is not compatible. How not cool.  I guess it's probably because my phone is too old--it runs Android 4.4.2.  No, I'm not getting a new phone.

 

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5 minutes ago, NanCycle said:

I just read about this app and thought "How cool!"  But when I went to download it, My device is not compatible. How not cool.  I guess it's probably because my phone is too old--it runs Android 4.4.2.  No, I'm not getting a new phone.

 

 

From original post (bolding mine): "new and revolutionary iPhone app"

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6 minutes ago, yawetag said:

 

From original post (bolding mine): "new and revolutionary iPhone app"

That was 2 years ago.  It is available for Android now. See kunarion's post from March 20.

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3 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

My post was about the fact that "Discover", regardless of why it is not allowed, was available in that App, sending a log to null.  OK, if, I Discover my TB in a cache somewhere, sure, I'll log a note instead.  Others can go MYOB, it's my TB :).  But since it's been unilaterally decided and sooo logical to disallow that function, an App needs to also not allow it.

 

 

Fair enough.  Off to maul my own burger.   :cool:

 

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5 hours ago, NanCycle said:

That was 2 years ago.  It is available for Android now. See kunarion's post from March 20.

 

That's what I get for only reading the first post.

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5 hours ago, NanCycle said:

I just read about this app and thought "How cool!"  But when I went to download it, My device is not compatible. How not cool.  I guess it's probably because my phone is too old--it runs Android 4.4.2.  No, I'm not getting a new phone.

 

 

Android KitKat. There aren't even any security patches for that. Just 5 years old. My Acer tablet runs it. But I only use it offline as a chiming clock. :P

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