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sloth96

Recommended Apps in Poor Connectivity Environments

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Does anyone have an android or PC app that they like for poor connectivity environments?

 

In particular I am thinking about opportunistic caching as opposed to planned trips. This would cover new caches being published in the area. Unexpected road detours make preloaded lists incomplete. Unexpected errands and DNFS also sometime trigger this behavior. Unexpected flight delays/reroutes may fall into this bin.

 

In particular the hilly environments of Vermont come to mind for me as an example where phone coverage drops in and out. At a road crest the connectivity can be great. Speeds can be faster than a pocket query download can saturate. But off the crest connectivity quickly drops off to zero. Similar things can happen when around libraries or other public wifi. 

 

What this means technically I am not sure. The following are a quick list that comes to mind.

  • Automatic retries for disconnects.
  • Aggressive monitoring of network connections
  • Smart API usage to get maximum information with minimal delay/throughput
  • Smart caching (computer science sense) so data doesn't need to be 
  • Wider radius for live mapping
  • Smart use of multiple parallel https connections (The 6000/IP address limit)
  • Smart use of keep alive to reduce connection times.
  • Queuing between different types of API calls to keep things flowing with the 60 calls per minute per call type.
  • Perhaps some tracking missed calls so data can be managed/fetched for the next trip through the area.
  • Spatially aware API usage that try to be predictive of data needed. Perhaps interfacing with a routing app. (Cache along route like)
  • Proxy server component to improve throughput/buffer fetches when disconnected.

How to do any of this and remain compliant with the licenses and quotas remains as they say an exercise for the reader.

 

My hope is to get away from needing to preload large databases for difficult environments and still have the responsiveness of a connected environment.

 

 

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I'm not sure such an app exists.  Poor connectivity and opportunistic caching are a tough combination, as I'm sure you know.

 

One thing I can suggest: use an app that uses vector maps, rather than tile-based.  Vector maps (as also seen in GPS units) are space-efficient, so you can pre-load your home area and likely-to-travel areas in big chunks (eg, Alberta, California, Great Britain are typical single-chunk loadable units) without filling the phone memory.  In the Android world, I know Locus Map (free/pro) handles vector maps.

 

As for the rest, I really don't know.  You may be stuck with PQs.  Good luck.

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Neongeo and CacheSense both worked fine when I had no connection, or when I switched to airplane mode to conserve battery life when I had a poor connection. I don't know whether they had many of the features in your laundry list, but they saved cache data and uploaded field notes (now called drafts), and if I made the effort in advance, I could download offline maps too. Alas, they're both abandoned and dead.

 

But I've never had a problem running into the 6000 requests per day limit. I don't cache that way.

 

This is one of the areas where Groundspeak's app is very weak.

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