Software screen lock ability
My idea is that you implement a software “screen-lock” ability directly into the map-mode of Field Maps. An easy access button where we can lock the screen from input without utilizing the units built in power button. Combine this with a setting that sets screen light strength to “0” (or a chooseable percentage) and we would gain the full functionality of the applications location service as we need it for us to be efficient in our field of work.
Example of use
Important: For the user it is important that the engage/disengage of the lock is done with as few inputs as possible. We should be able to choose a preferred standard-lock that only requires one click on the lock icon to engage. To use further options those could be hidden behind a “hold” functionality (picture 1). Imagine we are doing this hundreds of times during a day, often with gloves on.
To unlock the screen a simple double swipe or double/triple tap in a very specific area is probably enough (picture 2).
The setup of what kind of locking/unlocking mechanism the user wants could be managed from within user profile settings. For example, I could pre-set my lock to engage directly to dark mode at a single press on the lock button (picture 3). And then unlock the unit with a dubbel tap in one of the corners (picture 4). Whilst other users maybe value a visible screen during lock mode more over battery-managing.
As we have been working with your application Collector/Field Maps over the last two years we have isolated a couple of important factors for us to be successful when we use it for our field related work.
We need to be able to close the screen from input due to the environment we work in where the risk for unintended screen-input is high.
We need to do whatever we can to preserve battery time in our units since we work full time in the forest. The need to carry heavy battery-packs to last a normal day’s work must be minimized due to the simple fact that we already carry a lot of things that needs to be prioritized.
Our demands on the location service is extremely high and we rely on Field Maps presenting a correct location for us in every aspect of our field work. Not only for streaming but also for navigating and finding pre-known locations of different shapes and types. The type of work we do makes us use the application in what can be described as a very active on/off manner. We turn the screen on for approximately a couple of minutes, during that time we get our bearings right, interpret the map/layers and set a course. Then we close the screen for battery preserving and prevent unintended inputs only for it to be opened again a couple of minutes later for the whole process to be repeated. This is mixed with the same kind of active on/off usage of the streaming capabilities including frequent use of the pause function.
Using the power button to turn off the screen during work on both Android devices and Apple devices creates huge issues with the reliability of the GPS/location services. Android devices seems to handle it worse than Apple-products (personal experience after quite immense testing). However both of them cause deal breaking problems for us since we cannot trust the location provided by the unit and we simply do not have the time to wait several minutes for the location to triangulate anew every single time we unlock the screen. Which is the case now.
Since this affects our productivity and the quality of our work I have looked into and tested third party applications to lock the screen from input without using the power-button.
This works very well. With the ability to choose what has been called as “dark mode” in these applications the screens light setting can be set to “0” which also helps us with preserving battery time. This is done with the simple press of a button. To unlock the screen again there is a “magic” swipe-input that you need to use (same in dark mode). This prevents all other inputs from interfering with the unit. And since the unit itself never registers this as an actual “lock” or standby mode the location services never gets shutdown or affected in the background.
However, we as a big company cannot rely on “free” third party apps to gain full functionality of our field work application, hence I turn to you with this idea.
No need to address Google or Apple about how built in power-saving modes or background access to location services affects your application.
We will gain the kind of functionality and trust in the location services that we need to carry out our work to full productivity and quality. For us this would affect all our approximately 250 users directly. Even as small time savings of 15 minutes a day would soon count up to entire work weeks if we could find a way to stop standing around waiting for the locations service to triangulate every time we unlock our units.
I am sure other companies than ours will benefit from this implementation as well. Not only those working with forestry. I can imagine there are users within many different field operations who wants to be able to track their movement without the risk of unintended screen input no matter if they gain from the use of dark mode or not.
I would have given you kudo's just for the detail in your suggestion, but I also happen to agree with the request completely. We also work in the forestry space, and the ability to stream or navigate with the application with the screen on but locked or in a low power mode would be very handy for our field workers. We have also found that the location accuracy resets every time you lock the screen and find it really annoying (time waster), unless you are streaming - in which case that will carry on with the screen off and still be okay when you turn it back on (assuming the calculated accuracy doesn't drop below the set threshold).
Time to revisit this and just say that the need is still as high as when I wrote the idea. I never thanked you before but I thank you now @LindsayRaabe_FPCWA for your comment. Even if its not a good thing, its a comfort knowing that more people and organisations experience the same problems with the location accuracy reset that we do. The more who feels the same way, the larger the chance an improvement will be sorted out. //Fredrik
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