m-apps:locAR FAQ Notes User Guide



The latest news about the m-apps:locAR application ...

Current Version - 4.5

2012 January 1

Version 4.5 consolidates several internal improvements and prepares for a major new feature coming up in mid-2012. This should be the stable release for the next few months.

2011 July 2

Version 4.4 includes a number of mostly internal updates related to the beta-release of locAR's new app extension into the world of optical image tracking, called vidAR.

2011 April 6

You've got to try this! With version 3.3 locAR can now speak!

Initially disabled, speech output can be enabled under the User menu. The first time you try this you may be asked to install a speech engine and associated data files. Various voices and locales (languages) are supported under this menu.

2011 April 1

Version 4.2 incorporates several internal structural changes designed to help support the forthcoming release of the next major app in the m-apps suite - to be called "vidAR". More about this in a few weeks time ....!!

2011 February 1

New to locAR version 4.1 is the 'Lock Ref' button on the Sim menu. This toggles on/off the 'Lock Ref' (lock to reference node) mode. When enabled, the simulated location, height, speed and heading of your own node are locked to those of the current reference node (if any). So, your own node will then closely follow the next team node that you select (by touching near it or selecting 'Ref' against its entry in the team list).

What's the point of doing that? Well, there are now several rather nice, big-screen Android 'tablets' coming on to the market. These typically have either 7 or 10 inch displays but not all have GPS ... so can't immediately be used as an accurate 'moving map' when you are out and about. However, if you also have a smartphone that is GPS-enabled (as most are) you can now use the Lock Ref mode to effectively 'slave' a 'non-GPS' tablet's location to that of your smartphone (assuming it is running locAR too!) Just put both the tablet and smartphone into the same team and then, on the tablet, enable Sim mode and 'Lock Ref' (Menu,Nav,Sim,Start and then Lock Ref) and select the smartphone (which should be using GPS) as the reference node. You will then see the tablet following the smartphone as each new update comes in - all shown on a big screen!

2011 January 1

Exactly a year after its initial launch locAR has been given a major upgrade to version 4.0!

Since the release of version 2 back in April 2010 locAR has been able to use the camera view as a background for data display in 'augmented reality' mode. Now, with version 4, camera images can be 'snapped' and, if permitted, shared with other members of your team and/or viewed via the web.

The capture of 'snaps' is supported by the Snap menu from the 'cam view' mode.

Snap capture can also be automated at various intervals - opening up a whole new application for locAR as, essentially, a 'web-cam' that can be viewed securely by team members directly on their phones (or, as selected, by a wider audience via the web).

Snaps captured by team members can be seen by their team colleagues as 'thumbnail' images next to their node markers or be selected and viewed at higher resolutions up to nearly full-screen. Distribution of new images to the team, if enabled, is fully automatic.

2010 November 22

Version 3.1. introduces the ability to view tracks generated by other m-apps:locAR users when their Base Tx Resolution is set to "full resolution".

These tracks can be viewed by any user, even those not in the same team as the user(s) generating them (or not in any team at all) and are not subject to the limit of 10 team members. However, they are only updated at the same rate as the current base node 'view' - typically once a minute.

2010 November 15

Versions 3.0.2 to 3.0.8 of m-apps:locAR incorporate a series of minor updates. Also added on the User menu are two checkboxes to enable/disable the showing of Tips and the "Buzz" effects (which can get a bit noisy in war-loc battles).

2010 October 21

Version 3.0.1 of m-apps:locAR incorporates minor updates to help the delivery of the new base nodes from our server. You may now be noticing that a 'city' database has been added, showing major cities in your area as 'zones'.

2010 October 16

Version 3.0 of m-apps:locAR has been released!

This is a major version upgrade incorporating TWO important new features...

The first is the ability to switch from using the main 'm-apps' base servers to 'locAR servers' run by other organisations or businesses. This is both to cover any issues regarding the local management of location data and to allow the provision of 'location-based service' (LBS) offerings by those organisations or businesses.

These "LBS" facilities are now supported by the second new m-apps:locAR feature ... support for 'views'. A view is a selection of user nodes supplied (by the base server to which you are currently connected) on the basis of your current (real or simulated) location. By default you are shown the 'main' view when connecting to a base server, but others can be selected via the new "view" button on the Node menu.

View data is currently being added to the m-apps base server, but an example already there is for the demo mode, where 'base nodes' have been added to show various landmarks around the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. These include a 'hazard zone' over each of launch pads 39A and 39B, plus 'safe points' for the Vertical Assembly Building and the Shuttle Landing Facility.

2010 September 11

The full and 'demo' versions of m-apps:locAR have been combined and upgraded to v2.3! The single 'full' variant now appears under the "Travel" category on the Android market, and is FREE!

The latest changes are to implement the merge and prepare for the release of the 'server end' of the m-apps:locAR system in a few weeks time. The 'locAR Server' will allow businesses and other organisations to run their own locAR networks and, with the help of future extensions, provide 'location-based services' to their users without relying on our main base server.

More details of the new release will be provided in the coming weeks. Watch this space ...

2010 August 6

The full and demo versions of m-apps:locAR have been upgraded to v2.2.2 (minor internal updates).

You may have noticed a break in updates recently ....

This is partly because the latest versions seem to be very stable, but also because most development effort is now going into the second major member of the m-apps suite. It's too soon to say much more about this .. hopefully an early beta version will be available for you to try in a few weeks.

2010 June 19

The full and demo versions of m-apps:locAR have been upgraded to v2.2.1.

Additional TIPs explain the team list menu, which is now automatically shown or hidden as appropriate.

An 'Own' button has also been added to re-select your own location from the list menu.

2010 June 12

The full and demo versions of m-apps:locAR have been upgraded to v2.2.

The title display now shows the number of additional team members and the ability to use NET location when no GPS signal is available has been greatly improved.

2010 May 30

The full and demo versions of m-apps:locAR have been upgraded to v2.1.2 (improvements to the title display).

2010 May 26

The full and demo versions of m-apps:locAR have been upgraded to v2.1.1 (minor internal updates).

2010 May 23

The full and demo versions of m-apps:locAR have been upgraded to v2.1

The main new feature is an informative title bar. This now shows the m-apps:locAR version, your user id and any team membership.

The demo version always enters team 'demo' when join is pressed. The full version lets you create and use your own, private teams.

2010 April 6

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v2.0.2

A 'Range' control has been added to both the Map and Cam menus to limit the range at which nodes are displayed. The initial setting is 'unlimited' (all nodes displayed).

2010 April 3

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v2.0.1

The main new item is an 'all-round' heading indicator against the cam view 'radial' display (which gives a 360 degree view of all nodes along a bar at the base of the screen). Some extra minor changes to the radial display have also been made.

2010 April 1

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v2.0.0 !! This celebrates the addition of the 'cam view' - an entirely new way of viewing your team and other data using the handset camera to provide a live background on which a graphical representation of your team and user nodes is overlaid.

2010 February 7

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v1.1.4. The changes are to improve auto-rejoin of teams after a screen orientation change (which re-starts the app!).

2010 February 2

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v1.1.3 (minor internal updates).

2010 January 31

We are back online again. Unfortunately, not only did this weekend's ISP problem leave us without a net connection for nearly two days but it also 'took out' our modem!

One replacement modem later and we're back online again BUT ... our 'fixed' IP address has changed! Fortunately, this situation was foreseen and this will be a good demonstration of m-apps:locAR automatically 'phoning home' to a totally new base address (our development phones have already successfully re-connected). Note that it may take a few more hours before the new address has fully 'propogated' around the world's DNS servers for your handset to use.

Again, please accept our apologies if you have been trying out m-apps:locAR over this weekend and wondering what was going on!

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v1.1.2 - mainly to include some extra default configuration designed to prevent a 'site outage' cutting you off completely again.

2010 January 30

Apologies to anyone trying to use m-apps:locAR since about 10pm (GMT) last night (29th Jan). A fault in the local area internet provision has left around 4000 users cut off! Hopefully we'll be back online before too much longer ...

2010 January 29

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v1.1.1 (minor internal updates).

2010 January 23

Help at last!

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v1.1.0. A 'minor' version increment was now justified after quite a few functional improvements since the launch on Jan 1st!

Every main menu page now has a "Help!" button which takes you to the relevant page within the Online User Guide.

Also, a persistant bug has now been fixed! This was preventing m-apps:locAR from re-starting after 'premature' close-down (for example, if the screen orientation is changed). You can now happily switch the screen orientation between portrait and landscape (although it's still recommended that you don't do this too often as it takes a lot of messaging to re-establish any team membership, etc).

2010 January 22

The demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v1.0.8. Changes are mostly internal, but include some further advisory messaging and auto-notification of new version availability.

2010 January 21

Well, we knew it wasn't going to all be plain sailing getting a fairly complex application like m-apps:locAR 'out there'! ...

It seems that several people have been running into the dreaded "force close" ('FC') issue when trying it out (aargh!). This is extremely frustrating for us, as we have had two development handsets (a T-Mobile HTC G1 and a Vodafone G2) along with several emulators running both development and released issues very reliably for many months! Indeed, our G1 has now been running the released versions as downloaded from the App Market more or less continuously since v1.0.1 - mostly in "demo" mode (in team "demo" over KSC, Florida) ready for new users to try out 'team' interaction. The demo G1 has not had a single 'FC' while running any of the released versions! Also, several users have successfully engaged in War-loc! battles and all of the communication with our servers is working well (in fact, with very good response times for what is mostly transatlantic data).

Even so, (rant over) there is obviously an issue to be addressed here, so ...

  • the demo version of m-apps:locAR has been upgraded to v1.0.7. This covers some changes to default values and removal of a couple of initialisation 'features' which could, conceivably, cause problems on first installation/run (even though they don't for us - we do uninstall and then re-install releases at each upgrade to check this). If you do get an FC, please try again as most of the FCs seen during development were one-offs on first starting up which then did not recur
  • we have been anticipating issues with screen sizes (other than the G1/G2's 320x480) on the newer handsets. In particular, the Motorola Droid has a 480x854 pixel screen. The Droid is not yet available in the UK, but we have run v1.0.6 on Android 2.0 and 2.1 emulator builds using the 'WVGA854' screen size (amongst others). Again, thanks to the 'dynamic layout' changes introduced in v1.0.1 there were no problems other than the display of the "Own" button on the Map menu (which had been split onto 2 lines due to the 1.5 times pixel scaling) - now fixed
  • the 'paid for' version has been 'unpublished' for the time-being until the FC issue is sorted

    We have seen, in various blogs and support groups, reports of problems running 'maps' apps in general (including Google Maps), particularly on the Droid (just search on "maps force close"). It's too soon to tell if we are affected by this (and until we can get hold of a Droid we can't check this out). However, this all shows that there are 'issues' with Android where some apps may run perfectly well on some platforms and not on others - a 'fragmentation' situation which needs to tracked as all the new Android handsets come out this year!

    In the meantime, we will continue addressing any problems that you report in order to get m-apps:locAR through this predictably difficult early 'post-launch' phase. If you have tried m-apps:locAR, successfully or not, please give us some feedback (type of phone, what you were doing, etc) via support@m-apps.com so that we can better address any issues you might have. Thanks!

    2010 January 18

    Well over 100 people have now downloaded and run m-apps:locAR! The vast majority (around 90%) seem to be somewhere in the United States, with a smattering of individuals in Europe, South America and the Far East (Taiwan, China and Japan so far).

    NOBODY HAS YET REPORTED ANY PROBLEMS! Also, we have had several live (mostly transatlantic) War-loc! engagements (including text exchanges) so we know that the system can work. However, we can't believe it's going to be that easy, so please send us some feedback (to support@m-apps.com) if you have any problems.

    Both the demo and full versions of m-apps:locAR have been upgraded to v1.0.6.

    The demo mode now has entry and exit explanation system messages and there's a 'goodbye' message on application Exit. Selecting demo mode now puts you into team "demo" (rather than "team1" as before). It also sets the map background mode to 'satellite' and locks the display to your own (simulated) position.

    2010 January 15

    Both the demo and full versions of m-apps:locAR have been upgraded to v1.0.5.

    The "demo" mode now automatically shows you the Nav menu on selection. There's also more support for 'system' messages to tell you what's going on, advise on updates, etc.

    Please consider becoming a TESTER, or at least giving some basic feedback on whether or not locAR is working for you! We especially want to know if you are having any trouble seeing the map background or reading the controls if your handset display is NOT 320x430 (or 480x270) pixels.

    As mentioned before, in these early days for locAR there aren't that many users (now approaching 100 worldwide, though) - so, most of you are not finding anyone to join in a team with! You will get the most from locAR if you can find friends, colleagues, family members, etc who can also try it out with you. In the meantime, don't forget the "demo" mode, which puts you in "team1" over KSC, Florida. We've already had a few 'live' transatlantic War-loc! battles - so it does work!

    2010 January 9

    Both the demo and full apps have been upgraded to v1.0.4.

    The new version now includes a "Demo" button to help get you going when you first try locAR. This button toggles on or off the "demo" mode.

    On entering demo mode you automatically join "team1" which (as mentioned below) is where we will try to maintain a presence with user "lexx" (and maybe the occasional visitor). You are also placed into simulation mode and relocated to Kennedy Space Center, Florida! The Team Tx Resolution is set to full resolution (since your viewed location is simulated) and auto-tx of your position to your team is enabled. Finally, War-loc! mode is selected so you can play around with the firing controls.

    A few seconds after entering demo mode you should see confirmation of your "team1" membership and, if "lexx" or anyone else is in team1, you will see a blue line from your own node (typically named "user..." when you first start up) to any other nodes present. You will be 'flying' at 5m/s - the sim controls are visible so you can change this. To control your direction just roll the phone left or right. Use the scale In/Out controls on the Map menu to zoom in or out.

    On exit from demo mode (next time you press "Demo" or "Exit") you leave the team, simulation and war-loc modes and your other privacy controls are reset to safe values.

    2010 January 8


    As the number of world-wide locAR distributions increases it would be REALLY great if some of you out there could help us test out its features and stamp out any bugs (not that any have yet been reported!) in an 'international' context (all pre-release testing was in the UK). This would involve a few email exchanges and some of your pre-arranged time playing around with locAR (maybe joining specific teams, trying out simulation and War-loc! modes, etc).

    It would be a good idea to first read the User Guide and access to Google Earth on a PC would be an advantage. You don't need to provide any identification (although a first name might be a little friendlier!). All correspondence will have to be in English. Either the 'paid-for' or 'demo' version of locAR will do as they are identical except for initial team credit (50 vs 5 hours).

    As a reward for your time the first 10 people accepted will each be given an extra 100 hours team credit (and possibly invited to help with future 'pre-release' testing of new features!). To apply, just email support@m-apps.com with "m-apps:locAR tester" in the subject line. Please tell us your general location (e.g. country and/or state) as we need a spread of testers around the world to cover different networks, etc. We also need users of the various Android phone types to help cover layout issues on different screen sizes, etc.

    Both the demo and full apps have been upgraded to v1.0.3.

    2010 January 7

    Both the demo and full apps have been upgraded to v1.0.2.

    2010 January 5


    A 'demo' version of locAR has been released (in the "Demo" section on the Google Market). This is a free version of locAR with a 5 hour team credit (rather than the 50 hours that you get with the paid version). This is metered time actually spent in a team (there is no charge, for example, when you view your location via Google Earth). Note that your initial team credit is not shown until you actually attempt to join a team.

    Both the demo and full apps have been upgraded to v1.0.1. Some internal changes have been made to improve layout on screens other than the 320x430 (portrait) size.

    2010 January 3

    First Contact!

    The very first data exchange with a 'real' (non-developer) locAR user took place today!

    Obviously, being a pioneer in the use of a 'multi-user' m-app such as locAR could be a bit of a lonely business - as there simply aren't (yet) many other users around to help try out its features! So, we're going to help you out a little here by attempting to keep a more-or-less continuous presence in an 'open' team going ...

    Whenever possible through (at least) the next few days one of the locAR development phones will be left in simulation mode 'flying around' the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, as UID "lexx" whilst in a team named "team1" (without a password). You are welcome to join lexx in team1 and try sending text messages, etc. We can't guarantee to reply immediately (we do have to do other work and sleep sometimes!) but will try to keep an eye on things from here in the UK.

    If you do join us please first ensure your 'location-privacy' by using the Team Tx Resolution controls on the Data menu and/or by entering simulation mode and 'flying away' from your actual location.

    If you'd like to see where lexx is via Google Earth just add a network link (Add|Network Link) to


    We'd also very much appreciate any feedback you have on your use of locAR, particularly on different phone types and screen sizes (which will probably be an issue soon!). Just send your comments (with screenshots if possible) to support@m-apps.com making sure that you have the string "m-apps:locAR" in the subject line. Most of the locAR development and testing has been done using HTC G1 and G2 handsets - both of which have the same 320x430 (portrait) screen. It is quite probable that screen layouts and other features may be a bit strange when viewed on other screen sizes - such as the new Motorola Droid with its 480 by 854 pixels! Future locAR updates may have to reflect this.

    The Droid isn't yet available on the high street here in the UK (where, apparently, it will be called the 'Milestone'), so if any of you US-based locAR users can send some screenshots we'd be grateful. If the initial release of locAR turns out to be unusable on the Droid please accept our apologies ... we really will try to get out an update to fix it!

    2010 January 1

    Happy New Year ... !

    This seems like a suitably memorable date on which to launch the first in what will eventually be a suite of mobile applications (m-apps) from High-level Algorithms Limited, so ....

    m-apps:locAR is now available for the Google Android™ platform via the Google Market.

    m-apps:locAR (or just 'locAR' for short) is a multi-user 'team-tracking' application which runs on the new generation of 'smart' mobile phones. An Apple iPhone™ version of m-apps:locAR is currently under development.

    The links at the top of this page take you to all the information you need to learn about and use m-apps:locAR. The Online User Guide is obviously your main resource regarding the use of locAR's features. This is a brand new and fairly complex application so problems and other 'issues' are likely to arise - these are covered in the Notes page. The Frequently Asked Questions page deals with usage questions of a more functional nature.

    So, we again wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you have a great 'user experience' if you decide to give locAR a try!

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