How many times did you use your own application? I mean application that you designed and developed. Last weekend we had an opportunity to test one of our side projects – Trail Offroad (you can download from Google Play, iTunes). It’s Metrometer, inclinometer and GPX track recorder in one application dedicated to 4×4 enthusiasts. We started at 9:00 am on the parking lot in front of our office at Mostowa 11. Ready for everything :) we met captains of our expedition from Landstore.pl, AutomLand and GravityProject and 4 Land Rovers Discovery. The weather was cold but not rainy.
We transferred ourselves to the starting point of the roadbook and recorded that track with the app. You can see it on the map and download GPX from our Trail Offroad Web App. We have used Parse to build backend and web application for sharing tracks. It’s easy to use platform with SDK for Android, iOS, PHP and many others. It’s also free if you don’t exceed limits which are high enough for small apps. Trail Offroad GPX recorder works pretty good and accuracy and frequency of points is fair.
It was the first time driving 4×4 vehicle for most of us. We found that very enjoyable on bumpy roads :) Our task was to reach the destination using roadbook. It is list of points with given distance from the previous point and type of maneuver to perform. You have to keep an eye on metrometer to know when you should turn left, right or go straight ahead. Trail Offroad counts meters and reset counter every time you tap the screen. It has worked good apart from one time when GPS lost fix in the forest. There is also one improvement needed – it should refresh distance more frequently because we almost missed our turn :) It’s one of things you can’t discover if you don’t test your app in real use.
This is our track uploaded automatically from application. Map preview is not available because GPX is too big (we passed 33 kilometers) but you can still download GPX file and check the track. It’s another reason to make real life test for improving application experience.
We took a break for a lunch in the roadside camping place. Grilled sausages and hot tea tasted delicious in that cold day. Off-road veterans told us what’s going to be next and made a lot of jokes from themselves. We have no doubt they really enjoy their hobby :)
Just look at our traditional Polish cuisine ;)
Main function of Trail Offroad app is inclinometer which measures pitch and roll angles. User can set alarm and warning thresholds. Loud sound alarm warns user that car can turn over. We were driving on special route with hills to test this feature. It was amazing how Land Rover Discovery control ride and keep the track. Angle of the highest hillock was about 28 degrees and our inclinometer worked very good. We made a lot of work to handle different positions of smartphone and increase readings accuracy to limits of the device. We are proud of our job :)
The best came at the end. And you should know that there is no application that can help you when half of your car is in a mud :) So our developers grabbed ropes and spades to cross the swampy forest. It was pure fun for us and great opportunity to experience something real. Just look at the photos :)
If someone asks “Do you wanna go for an off road?” do not hesitate :)