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Livetrack 24 Frequently Asked Questions

As various questions arrive from new users, we will add their inquiries here.

Q: This is a really cool app... can I get rid of my SPOT now ?

A: Think about that decision carefully. A SPOT tracker sends up a distress signal via L-band satellite, which is then dispatched globally based on where the signal came from. It has one, and only one purpose - to save your ass. While our tracker client can do a lot, it does need a cellular data connection to get the data out. While coverage is good in much of the world, I still personally fly in places where (from time to time) I get no signal at all.

Q: Where is the iPad version ? Why would you offer an iPad version ? It's doesn't have a GPS!

A: In beta right now.... and, it will be covered by the same purchase as your iPhone version, so you're already licensed. True, there is no GPS, but the accuracy at ground level with sufficient cell towers is really quite good. The apparent error is under 4 meters here based on casual testing. Reasons for an iPad version -1. The full screen view of the airspace maps is outstanding. 2. We plan on adding the InfoAPI feature from the tracker web site. This means that you can see where your friends are near-time (handy for chase-drivers...). 3. We would like to add a track-transfer feature, device to device. So the track you saved on your iPhone can be transferred to the iPad, where you can use all of that extra screen real estate to look the Track Detail and Map views.

Q: What about adding an SMS send feature (when the tracker stops) ?

A: An excellent idea, but we can't do that quite yet. The Apple Way(tm) lets us send an SMS via a dialog box. Ideally, we would like to be able to do this in the background when the tracker stops. As soon as the iOS API permits, we will (gladly) add this feature. OTOH, we are currently investigating adding an auto-Tweet function, so you can use your twitter credentials to send up a message. Not an SMS, but better than nothing.

Q: How long does the iPhone battery last running the tracker ?

A: It depends. The iPhone 3G has a 1100mAh battery, which gives you approximately 3.5 hours of continous tracking when sending data packets at a 90 second interval. Obviously this will increase if the tracker is set to "None" (as the GSM chip doesn't have to power up). The iPhone 4 comes with a 1420mAh battery, so I would expect a linear increase in runtime.

At the moment I am personally flying with an Imax Power IMP500. This provides 5000mAh of extra capacity, which pretty much implies I can go on a flying holiday and charge it once a week. They also have an 8800mAh version which we have received, but have not yet extensively tested.

Q: I bought the App, but I keep getting a message that my credentials are no good.

A: In order to use the "live" tracking feature, you need an account at LiveTrack24. Set that up first, then go into Settings -> livetrack24 on your iPhone and enter the same username and password. Additionally, set your mode of transport, tracker preference, and send interval.

Q: Why can't I use an external GPS and pair it with the iPhone ? Wouldn't that extend the battery life of the iPhone a bit ?

A: In theory it should work, but Apple has crippled the Bluetooth stack such that only "approved" devices can pair up with the iPhone. Personally I would like for them to fix the BT stack, as most other GPSes can provide a faster lock up and more accurate position data. Even better would be the ability to get the GPS coordinates and the barometric altitude data (say, from a Flytec 6030). And yes, the battery performance would most likely be better if the iPhone GPS is not powered up.

Q: What about airspace ?

A: The ability to load OpenAir format airspaces from the internet and display them in the live view and history view (first 5 objects only) is possible in version 1.3.0. The complete unlock is now available as an in-application purchase (this is the same model as WinPilot and flytec).

Q: What about direct upload to Leonardo/Other trackers ?

A: Just think... no more need to run for your laptop after a day of flying - just do the daily upload as you're sitting down to dinner with your flying buddies! From version 1.3.5 direct upload to Leonardo-based OLC servers is supported. We will take a look at as soon as they develop an upload API.

Q: I bought your app and the tracker never starts - the horizontal and vertical accuracy never turn green. What's up ?

A: Two things to check: First, go to the main Settings -> General -> Location Services and make sure that location services for the tracker and enabled. Second, make sure that the threshold setting is not too low. Begin with 1000 meters then go down from there.