Tect O Trak (android)

Tect O Trak. A Gps track and finds recorder for metal detecting

Tect O Trak is a fully resumable Android Gps track and finds recording application. This is my own personal project to develop a useful  app specifically designed for metal detecting.

This application allows the user to build a permanent record  of their movements and finds. Search sessions can be saved and resumed from the exact spot you left off at a later date. Additionally, you can also mark  find spots, and keep detailed photographic records of your finds. There are two types of  camera. There is a ‘clodcam’ used when recording the moment of discovery. There is also an dedicated desktop camera and gallery . This is where you can showcase all your best and cleaned finds.

Tect O Trak is most suitable for the serious long term detectorist who will keep returning to a permission over many seasons and years. This app is all about reliability and longevity.  Over time, your database will become increasingly invaluable and irreplaceable to you. Keeping the database safe and up to date  is an absolute priority. This has been made as easy as possible with a one click Backup/Restore tool. It is best practice to create a back up after every session and allow Tect O Trak to be included when syncing  with your cloud storage.

There is a section towards the bottom of this page, dedicated to this extremely vital function. Following the correct procedure will make your records indestructible, giving you a helpful and reliable journal for many years to come

Get a fully functional demo here:- http://play.google.com/store/apps/tectotraklite

 

A personal message from the author
I am not a professional developer. My interest is purely in metal detecting. Although I am the designer, I have to hire in people to do the actual hard coding. If you like Tect O Trak, please show your support by purchasing the app, also leaving a review for ‘ naysayers’ at the playstore. This will go some way towards helping me develop the app further. I have lots more innovative ideas to implement, all dedicated to the specialised needs of the detectorist. With a little support from the community it will be interesting to see how far I can take it.

 

                                                VERY IMPORTANT. PLEASE READ

You obviously will need the tracking to be as accurate as possible. I highly recommend installing a free third party app called GPS Locker. It will stabilise and improve your gps signal dramatically!!  You will also benefit from a much quicker gps signal lock.   Get It!!

 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.silentlexx.gpslock&hl=en

Once installed, open the app, go to settings and enable ‘Auto lock on GPS on’

 

 

 

Samsung S2 and S4 only.
For some strange reason,  after taking  a picture, if you save the pic holding the phone vertical,(portrait)  it may crash the app and display the message ‘Tect O Trak has stopped working’.  However, If you save the pic holding the camera horizontally  it works just fine..  The workaround fix is to enable screen rotation and save the pic holding phone horizontally(landscape). Once the pic is saved you can continue normally.  Another simple permanent solution is to install the Google camera app and use it as your default camera when using Tect O Trak.  As I said earlier, this only affect the Galaxy s2 and s4 . I apologise on behalf of Samsung for any  inconvenience.  😉

 

****

How Tect O Trak can help you.
What is it that your hoping this app can do? As good as gps is, it is hardly ever 100% accurate , and you could be a metre or so out at any given moment. However, this doesn’t mean gps tracking has no use for the metal detectorist. We just need a strategy! For example, tracking yourself ‘freestyle’ roaming, will only give you limited information when it comes to resuming a search in the future. To get the best out of gps, you need to be methodical, and keep your lines straight. Don’t start tracking/detecting until you are in position, and remember to stop tracking/stop detecting when when you’re done. Adopting this technique, will give you a useful, permanent record of your outings.

Strategy.
I have been using Tect O Trak for over two years now, and I have experimented with all types of search pattern strategies. I have found that the absolute best way to use the app, is to apply  a technique I call  ‘the bounce’.  To do this,  from your starting point,  select a distant target to aim at such as a tree or a gap in the hedge or anything you can fix on then simply walk in a straight line towards it. Once you have reached the other side of your search area, stop, turn around and choose another target to aim for and carry on ad infinitum. Using this method, not only will it give you the most accurate tracking, but just as importantly, make it a lot easier for you later on, when the map starts getting crowded with all your previously recorded tracks, to find the best and clearest path when using the ‘Pathfinder’ tool

 

Tect O Trak strategyTect O TrakTect O Trak

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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USER GUIDE

GPS  (Revised 19/6/16)

Locating method. 

There are two options :-  ‘High accuracy’ (network support)  or ‘Gps only’ 

My advice until recently has been to use GPS only for a smoother line. However, some users have reported high accuracy worked better for them.  So, my advice now is to try both modes and decide what works best for you.

Calibrate the compass.

A potential issue with your GPS accuracy is an improperly calibrated compass. If this is the case, your device is getting improper orientation information which can cause issues when using navigational apps. In order to fix this, you’ll need to calibrate your Android’s compass.

Ideally, you should turn on both gps and Tect O Trak at least five minutes before you actually start detecting. This will give the gps time to settle and get a good moving fix on you. You will also benefit from a more accurate starting point.

Map view controls.

Zoom to position = Target button top right.

Move map sideways = touch screen and drag.

Zoom in/out = Double tap screen but leave second tap down, then slide up to zoom in, or slide down to zoom out. OR.. Touch screen with two fingers then widen to zoom in, or narrow to zoom our

Rotate = Touch screen with two fingers then rotate.

’3D’ Tilt view = Two fingers on screen then slide up slide up or down to suit. ( This is more noticeable at low altitude)

Tect O TrakNew search
The first thing you will need to do before you can start recording your tracks, is create a search area by marking out and outlining the area you intend to search. This action will also cache the required maps for future offline use.

BE SMART!  It’s always best practice  to mark out your intended search area before you leave home. This will save you valuable detecting time, save on data usage, and guarantee the maps are there when you need them. This is especially important if you are going somewhere new and you can’t be sure of a network connection. 

 

New search
From the start up screen, select ‘New search’ and Google satellite maps will appear. Now from the menu select  ‘Set area markers’  (you will then need to give the search area a name) To lay the first marker (in a corner for example) tap the screen. A marker will appear. This marker is immovable. Be accurate as you can be. Zoom in if you need to, but make sure you get the first marker right! You can then proceed to outline the search area by adding further markers. , These can be moved around for precision placement by holding down the marker until it becomes active and dragging to position. If you make a mistake, simply press ‘back’ to go back one step. There is no need to completely close off the search area as this is done automatically by going to menu, and pressing ‘Finalise area’. This will connect the first marker to the last. You are now ready to go. Press ‘Start tracking’ and you’re off!

You can view a demonstration video showing how to create a new search area and the find recording process here as well as other instructional videos here :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uu2J29R3pg4

Resume search.
To resume a previous search. On the start up screen, press the ‘Resume search’ icon. Then, from the menu click ‘Search areas’. When you are position and ready to continue from where you left off, from the menu, press ‘Start tracking’.  Saving is automatic. Just exit the programme when you’re done.

Recording finds.
When you make a find that you want to record. In the menu select, ‘Record a find’. You have the choice of entering the location automatically (by gps) or manually (by sight) positioning, The latter being more accurate. Enter any details about the find, press OK then touch the screen to place a star marker. As with the area border markers, to be extra precise, hold the star marker down until it becomes active, then drag to the exact spot. Once the maker has been placed you can continue on your way. Saving is done automatically.

Editing find records.
Long press the individual record to edit a finds title and description.  Only the title will be displayed in the finds list. To see the full title and description, tap the thumbnail to view the full size image, then  click the i info icon in the top left corner

Screenshot_2016-03-05-21-55-35

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manually add tracks.
There is an option for the user to enter their tracks manually, and make records from memory at their convenience.To do this, go to: menu/ start tracking/ Add a track . position screen, and tap screen to lay tracks.

Multicolour tracks.
Click ‘Start tracking’ and and a list of available colours will appear. Select the colour you want the track to be. To change colour mid search, simply stop/pause tracking, then resume ( ‘Start tracking’) and the select a new colour.

There is also an option to temporarily display all old tracks in a single colour of your choice, while at the same time allowing a high contrasting custom colour selection for the new track.

1 color interfacefmd3Screenshot_2016-02-11-15-56-14

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pathfinder. (Beta)
At first, you will have no difficulty in finding a nice clear path to take as your lines will be wide apart, but over time it will become increasingly difficult to decide which is best line to take. The ‘Pathfinder’ tool can help find the best/cleanest line.

Unfortunately because of the time of year, my permissions are closed, so the screenshots below are from the comfort and warmth of my computer chair, but it will give you an idea of what it looks like.

Tect O Trak

Tect O Trak

Tect O TrakTect O TrakTect O Trak Pathfinder

 

 

 

 

 

To initiate the Pathfinder tool :-  Firstly make sure you have a location fix, and the gps position cursor is showing.  Long press the screen, and a black line and a purple marker will appear. Long press the purple marker to make it active; (long press it again to remove it)  and drag it around until you find a line you want to take. Now tap the marker and a white compass line will appear. The map will also auto rotate to vertical. (This is so that the top of your device will always be the direction you will need to walk)  Now slowly turn around until the lines merge into one, and shows red. Now  look over the top of your phone and follow that line with your eyes to the other side of the field and select a target to aim at.. You can now put your phone back in your pocket.  You have your next line! Please note that the Pathfinder will only work when you are in tracking (record) mode.

Accuracy. 
This will depend on your device’s own compass. Make sure you calibrate it regularly. However,  you can also further maximise the compass bearing accuracy by following these simple steps :- Firstly will need to be in full track recording mode with the position cursor accurately fixed on your position. Now in the real world, look around you and choose a target you can clearly see. Now, holding the phone level, use the Pathfinder tool to set a bearing to that target, and align the bearing line with the compass needle. You may (or may not)  notice that it is slightly off to what your eyes in the real world are telling you. You can correct this deviation by either slightly tilting the phone backwards or forwards. When you see that everything lines up on the screen and the real world, take a mental note of the tilt position. this is your devices own unique magnetic deviation, you should remember and use that tilt position when taking any future bearings. It is actually set to 15 degrees from horizontal (the top slightly tilted towards you) however, individual devices may differ, so it is always best to run your own benchmark tests

Using the pathfinder tool to find your next line.

Backup. 
I cannot stress enough how important it is to regularly backup your database and keep a copy of it away from your device on your PC or Cloud drive.  Anything could happen to your device at any time. Imagine how you would feel if you lost 3 years, or even just one weeks worth of records?  You will be gutted i assure you ! Only keeping a back up  on your device is not good enough!!

To create a 100% bullet proof backup of Tect O Trak, please follow these steps:-

Start by clicking the Export/backup/restore, and create a backup. Now connect your device to your pc, open it, and look for the Tect O Trak folder. Now copy the whole Tect O Trak folder onto your desktop. It’s good practice to then then zip it and give it a date. Just to completely safe.  ie:- if you lost your phone and had a hard drive failure on your PC at the same time!  keep another copy in your cloud storage.

An even easier way to ‘back up your back up’, is to find the Tect O Trak folder on your phone, then long press the folder until the ‘Copy’ option appears. Depending on what services and apps you use, you will get a variety of destinations to copy the folder to. Choose one that you can access at anytime.

Please note that it is not necessary to include the KML folder. A new one can be created at anytime. They can get quite big, and will just take space and lengthen upload time unnecessarily.

All this takes less than a minute. Be smart and play it safe. You have been warned!

Restore. 
To do a complete restore, including images.  Assuming you created a proper backup as advised..  Please follow these steps:-

Install Tect O Trak if not already installed. Now connect your device to you PC, open the device and look for main Tect O Trak folder. Now go back to your PC and drag/copy your stored copy of the folder onto your device and replace the folder already there. Disconnect your device and start Tect O Trak. Click the Export/backup/restore, button and select ‘Restore’. Be advised this will overwrite the current working database (if there is one..)  Your database should now be completely restored.

 Exporting kml files to Google Earth
On the home screen press ‘Back up/Restore. Select ‘Export kml.’  This will create the files and a new folder (kml) in the main Tect O Trak folder. Copy the kml folder onto your PC. View your  tracks by clicking on any or all of kml files contained within the folder, or open google earth and drag and drop.

 

Global location gallery.

Just have a play!

Tect O Trak Finds overview

 

Camera(s).
There are two types of camera function. The desktop camera is designed to be a stand-alone showcase for all  your cleaned and presented finds. Only your best pictures go in here!

There is also a ‘clodcam’ (Finds camera)  This is used when recording and marking a find, and also creates a thumbnail for your finds record list.

Battery usage.
It should be noted that as with any gps device, power consumption will be high. This is not due to powering the GPS itself as you might think, but rather because gps prevents the device from sleeping. Also, most mapping software is quite processor-intense.

It is my experience that a fully charged battery will last about 5 hours. Personally I carry two extra spare batteries. I usually use about one and a half batteries in a nine hour session.

For a list of FAQ’s please click here

 

Thank you for supporting Tect O Trak. I would love to hear how you get on, and also of any ideas you may have to improve it or would like to see added.

Happy Hunting & Good luck!

             Mark S.

 

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.trib.app.tectotraklite

 

 

 

 

60 Responses to Tect O Trak (android)

  1. Kevin says:

    When will this be available on the number one selling phone for the past 5 years? The iPhone?

  2. Mark says:

    Maybe never! 🙁 Tect O Trak is a specialist niche app, and sadly, the limited user numbers make it an unviable project. However, there is some hope! I have promised I will make the iOS version, if i can guarantee to cover the cost of the hard coding. There has been an action group formed on facebook, specifically to bring together all the people that would like to see an iOS version, and who would be willing to support its development by a crowd funding project on kickstarter.com . You can find out more here:- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1569584126596648/

    • Alex Mann says:

      Mark, your app is brilliant. Perhaps development would be cheaper and more platforms supported if your developers tried the following: dont use native code, use a html5 wrapper.

      I’m offering this advice because I am absolutely dying to use Tect o Trac on the iPhone 5s.

      • Mark says:

        Thanks Alex.

        Good advice, but too late for Tect O Trak I think.. 🙁

        Don’t give up your dream of seeing it on the Iphone, I had a bit of good news this week. I can now get it done for half of the original estimated cost. That means the project is now 50% funded!:)

        Watch this space..

  3. Betina Olsen says:

    Hi, I have downloaded the app and its not working properly. When I choose >New Search and hit the menu-button I can not choose >Start tracking, Record a find or Manually add a track. Can you help me please?

  4. jeff says:

    Any news of an iphone varient yet, this is just what we need !

    • Mark says:

      Hi Jeff,

      Unfortunately, a crowd funding project I ran to build the Iphone version failed to attract enough backers in the time allotted, so the Iphone version has been shelved for now. However, I have not given up.. If you can give me your contact details.. I will add you to a list of names I am collecting that will support the project if I ran it again, Once I know there is enough interest I will try again.

  5. Tony Bloomfield says:

    Hi, I have been waiting for something like this for ages to help me whilst detecting. I have just downloaded the lite version and will look how it works next time I’m out. Just an idea, the metal detecting forums on Facebook are very professional and influential. I’m in a number of forums on a daily basis and was wondering if you would want me to trial this with an aim to publishing my results on in the forums. They have thousands of members who like me, take their hobby seriously. I think you have a niche in the android market and could be very useful for you. Regards Tony

    • Wormslayer says:

      Hi Tony,

      Thanks for trying Tect O Trak.

      Sure, that would be great! However, can I ask you just to hold off for a while.? I am just about to release an update that fixes a bug ( for some users) in the find camera. If you can friend me in facebook it would be a great help. Mark Seeley @ Milton keynes.

      Thanks Tony.
      Regards,
      Mark.

  6. Brian Hayden says:

    I have the Samsung Galaxy Tab4, when will this be available for it, or will it?
    Thank you for your time.

  7. Wormslayer says:

    Hi Brian,
    I didn’t make it for the tablet because I couldn’t imagine anyone would use one while detecting. It would be very easy to do. It just needs a larger set of graphics. The next time the app comes in for service, I will add them in especially for you.

    I will mail you when its done. (2-3 weeks) 🙂

    Be lucky,
    Mark.

  8. Geoff Peden says:

    Hi Mark

    Just paid for the app for my Sony Experia, will try it out in the field Tomorrow and see how I get on, if I get my head round the instructions 😉

    Regards
    Geoff

    • Wormslayer says:

      Thanks Geoff.

      I’m sure you will find it a piece of cake once you have used it once or twice. Don’t hesitate to message me if you have any questions.

      Good luck,
      Mark.

  9. Eric Ball says:

    Hi there,
    Found your Android app a month or so back, really like it so bought the full version. Unfortunately my Samsung phone started playing up and I traded it in for an iPhone. Have to admit a far better phone experience, however, I see that you have presently shelved the IOS version of Tect O Trak? Any idea if you might be resurrecting it?

    All the best,

    Eric

    • Wormslayer says:

      Hi Eric,
      I haven’t given up on the iOS version just yet. The previous attempt via kickstarter.com failed to attract enough backers in the time allotted. I am going to try again. However this time I am going to gather the backers before I launch the project. To facilitate this, I have created a facebook group :- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1569584126596648/ If you’re not on facebook, If you like, I will email you when we are ready to go?

      Be lucky,

      Mark.

  10. Azat says:

    Thank you, bought, good app!
    One question. Are you use Google maps for this app? If yes, how you made this, Google is not allow to use Google maps in paid app?

  11. Wormslayer says:

    Thanks Azat,

    Tect O Trak uses the google maps api. Google gets 30% from each sale.

    Happy Hunting!

  12. Neville Laskey says:

    Camera not working on galaxy SII can you help please.

  13. Mark says:

    Hi Neville ,
    If you are refering to the desktop camera, Yes, Since the latest update(2nd Feb) it has also stopped working on my Galaxy s4. (but it still works on my old Galaxy S2???? As its a feature I hardly use myself, I didn’t notice until it was too late. ( if you have the same problem as me) The problem is not with the camera. It’s just not showing the gallery pics? Is that correct? You can still continue to use the gallery camera and it will still save your pics. You will be able to view them by navigating manually to the Tect O Trak/gallery folder. I apologise for the inconvenience. You have my word it will be fixed in the next update.

    Thanks for the feedback. I need to know these things.
    Be lucky,

    Mark.

  14. Chris says:

    Hi how are you doing? I am trying to get this app for my Sony Xperia e1 but can’t find your app any ideas it is running android version 4.3 jelly bean but have updated it to 4.4.2 thanks for your help

  15. Alan Davis says:

    could you let me know when you have developed an iPhone app please.

  16. Sam says:

    Hi,

    I purchased and installed your software on my Galaxy Note 1, all seems to be working except for the gallery option under camera which gives a strange error and does not open the gallery.

    Also a few feature requests. Some of these may already be possible but I don’t know how.

    – When you click on a find star, have it show a thumbnail of the find if there is one and maybe the full size version by clicking the thumbnail..
    – Ability to edit search area borders after defining the area.
    – Ability to add more border markers in-between border markers to refine the border.
    – Instead of a blank map, load the last used area when you click resume search OR automatically popup the search areas picker OR Load the closest area to your location, (that would be cool).
    – Add standard back option to the Tect O track title to return the the previous page.
    – Not sure this is possible with the googlemaps api but the ability to zoom in closer on the maps would be nice, not for map quality (I know this is limited by google) but to see more detail of tracks and finds etc.
    – A map location search to quickly find an area, I like to pre-define my search area before visiting the location and having to zoom out a long way and scroll to the place far away and then zoom back in is a bit annoying.
    – Historic map data like on google earth would be cool, not sure that is possible? I found that things like beach hunts if I can see on the map the locations of sun bathers I can pinpoint those area for hunting to optimise my searches. Sometimes however the current map is in the winter and not as much use. Same thing with crop markings which may only be visible at certain times of the year.

    Overall though a surprisingly nice app for a niche hobby.

  17. Sam says:

    Oh Couple of other features I have just thought of.

    – Ability to export track data to view as overlays in google earth.
    – Ability show/hide map layers so you can show only the finds or only the tracks etc.
    – Is there a technical reason why you have to define a area in the app? it seems to me that naming a search is fine and then just tracking the search is all that is needed, the MD’ist can define there own search limits during the search and may find they want or need to search outside an area, maybe the option not to have a defined search area would be nice, save some time setting up also.

  18. Mark says:

    Hi Sam,

    We have communicated by email and your gallery issue is now resolved. 🙂

    About your feature requests.

    You said,

    “When you click on a find star, have it show a thumbnail of the find if there is one and maybe the full size version by clicking the thumbnail..”

    I have thought of that already, and it will be implimented at some stage.

    ——————–

    ” Ability to edit search area borders after defining the area”

    I can’t see why you would want to. Its just a case of planning ahead and sticking to the plan. There is no actual need to be precise when marking out the new search area. Put a square around the wholeworld if you like! 🙂 You can detect anywhere you want then, However, there is a downside to having a too large search area. Each dot is an individual graphic that needs to be generated. If you just keep adding to it, you will eventually run out of memory!
    ——————–

    “Ability to add more border markers in-between border markers to refine the border.”

    Just press ‘back’ to go back one step, and get it right the first time! 😉
    ——————–

    “Instead of a blank map, load the last used area when you click resume search OR automatically popup the search areas picker, OR Load the closest area to your location, (that would be cool).”

    Yes you are right. There is a click too many! I think the most elegant solution would be to pop up the search area list on the ‘Resume search’ command. Loading the map nearest to your current position would mean that the GPS would already need to have a fix on you. Maybe the last known location… I will think about it. Thanks for the idea! 🙂
    ——————–


    ” Add standard back option to the Tect O track title to return the the previous page.”

    Can you elaborate on this please, and in what situation it might be used.
    ——————–

    “Not sure this is possible with the googlemaps api but the ability to zoom in closer on the maps would be nice, not for map quality (I know this is limited by google) but to see more detail of tracks and finds etc.”

    Sadly it is not possible to zoom in any closer than it already does.
    ——————–

    “A map location search to quickly find an area.”

    Another good idea and something I’ve wanted to do for a while..
    ——————–.

    “Historic map data like on google earth would be cool, not sure that is possible. Same thing with crop markings which may only be visible at certain times of the year.”

    That was part of my original concept for Tect O Trak. Unfortunately it is not possible in the maps api at the moment, but I’m pretty confident it will be one day..
    ——————–
    “Ability to export track data to view as overlays in google earth.”

    This can already be done using the SQlite file, but I would like to make ita lot easier by setting it as a feature. It’s just a matter of time.
    ———–
    “Ability show/hide map layers so you can show only the finds or only the tracks etc.”

    I could do but it would be way down the list of priorities. Thanks for the idea though.
    ———-

    ” Is there a technical reason why you have to define a area in the app?”

    Defining the search area encourages you to concentrate on one particular area at a time until its done. Also, it enables you to cache the specific maps required for that area. This is is useful because you might not get a network connection in some of your search areas. As I said earlier in this reply, it’s up to the user how they plan an area. If they are the type that like to wander then need to consider that when marking out, and be generous with their borders. Personally I like to be exact with because I can! 🙂 It’s always good practice to mark out your search areas beforehand whenever possible.
    ———

    “Overall though a surprisingly nice app for a niche hobby.”

    Thank you Sam. 🙂

    ——————–
    There are many other features I plan to include. I have lots of ideas! However.. I am really just a metal detectorist. Every little thing costs money to develop and code. As you say, this is a niche hobby, and I can tell you theat revenues do not cover the development costs, especially as I keep spending more updating and upgrading it. I will just keep adding more to it as I can afford it, which i’m quite happy to do, as I’m really making this app for purely selfish reasons.. Myself!! What better motivation is there? Maybe that’s why it’s ” a surprisingly nice app for a niche hobby.”

    Cheers Sam,

    Regards,
    Mark.

  19. Greg says:

    Love the app, works great…
    Though I wish it would log gps positions at a faster interval, as it is now it leaves alot of gaps even at detector-walking speed…
    https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/69261994/2015-05-10%2011.20.28.png

    As a paying contributor I would looove to be able to change the interval, and also to enable an averaging position fix for accuracy – say it takes five gps readings and calculates the average position, it would improve accuracy ALOT…

    Thanks for taking the time to make this app!
    Cheers!

  20. Mark says:

    Thanks Greg!

    Regarding the gps interval rate. In a future update I will be adding the ability for the user to set the interval. However, there are some concerns.. If the search area is very big and a fast rate is selected, the user will find that eventually, the many thousands of dots will cause the screen to start lagging when zooming out. Every dot in the tracks is a custom graphic and full of information which has to be individually generated. It could get messy! Ideally, I would like the refresh rate to be set automatically depending on the size of the search area. I am looking into this..

    As you are aware, gps accuracy has its limitations. Even averaging five gps readings as you suggest would not really improve things, and combined with a faster gps rate, would ultimately make for a very jagged and ugly track recording.

    However.. (copied from the strategy section of my instructions page)

    I have now been using Tect O Trak for over two years now, and I have experimented with all types of search pattern strategies. I have found that the absolute best way to use the app is to apply a technique I call ‘the bounce’. To do this, from your starting point, select a distant target to aim at such as a tree or a gap in the hedge, or anything you can fix on, then simply walk in a straight line towards it. Once you have reached the other side of your search area, stop, turn around and choose another target to aim for and carry on ad infinitum. (a bit like a spirograph) Using this method, not only will it give you the most accurate tracking, but just as importantly, make it a lot easier for you later on, when the map starts getting crowded with all your previously recorded tracks, to find the best and clearest path when using the ‘Pathfinder’ tool.

    You will definitely reduce potential for error if you only track in long straight lines. It is also very important that you track yourself to your starting position before you actually begin to record. This gives gps time to get an accurate fix on you.

    Although I have been developing the app for over two years now, it is still far from finished! There are lots of tweaks I could do to the app as it is now, but I am still focused on getting the major functions in place at this stage. I am not a hard coder myself, this means I have to pay for any work done, It’s simply a matter of priorities with limited funds. Financially the app is a basket case, so I just add to it as I can afford it. When I reach the point that think I can add no further tools and functions, I will start again at the begining, and see If anything can be improved.

    Thank you for trying Tect O Trak and showing your support by ‘going pro’ Like I said, I will continue to develop it over time. I hope you find it genuinely useful. I know I do! Don’t get too hung up about absolute pinpoint accuracy, Don’t think of it as showing you where you have been, rather, think of it showing you where you haven’t been.. Thats’ it’s real strength!

    Please stay in touch. I would like to know how you get on with it over time, and any other ideas you may have for improvement.

    Happy hunting
    &
    Good luck,

    Mark.

  21. Aurelia says:

    Hi Mark

    My paid-for version of the app no longer works properly. I originally used it on the Galaxy S3 and was very pleased with it. Then it just suddenly stopped tracking me even though I had GPS switched on. My S3 died shortly afterwards, which originally made me think it could have been an issue with my phone.

    I then bought an S5 and the app worked perfectly on a rally. Shortly afterwards the S5 upgraded itself to Lollipop and the app has not really worked since. Initially it would start to track me but now it seems reluctant to save markers when I set up a new detecting area and simply will not track me. I gather there are problems with GPS on some phones following the Lollipop upgrade but is there something that can be tweaked in the app to get it to work? I’m reluctant to revert to the M*****b app but at this rate may have to as I need the finds spacial data for the FLO.

    Thanks

    • Mark says:

      Hi Aurelia,

      I’m sorry to hear you have a problem.

      Oh boy.. Those android updates are the bane of my life. 🙁 As you correctly say The problem is that your issue is a bug in lollipop with some devices but not all.. ( i am running lollipop on my S4 and used it today for continuously for 6 hours without the slightest problem) I assume no crash reports are being generated as I’m sure you would have sent them. They would be a great help. There is actually a new service being started by google for android developers that allows developers to test and de debug their work on real devices. That might be useful. It could also be that we will have to wait for Android to release a new update to fix their errors. (actually.. there was one just the other day, I don’t know if you have tried using the app since then?) Also, have you tried reinstalling the app? Make sure you create a backup before you do. After reinstalling, run the restore tool to bring your old data base back up. Can you try that for me please. it might help. Another thing you could try is to restart your phone just before using the app, this will clear the memory and delete some temp gps files (one of which could be causing the problem..) Let me know how you get on. I will ask around in the android developers forums and see how other people are handling the situation. I apologise for the inconvenience, I will do my very best to find a solution for you. I wouldn’t want to lose you to M*****b. 🙂

      Regards,
      Mark.

      • Aurelia says:

        Hi Mark

        I’ve checked my phone and it is running completely up to date as far as available updates are concerned. I’ve also uninstalled and reinstalled the app as suggested – as it happens there was no data to back up. I will probably be out detecting this w/e and will let you know if the reinstall has solved the problem.

        • Mark says:

          Thanks Aurelia,

          I look forward to hearing how you get on.

          Good luck.

          • Aurelia says:

            Hi Mark

            The work-around you suggested as a stop-gap works – many thanks.

            Is there a way to simply review a search session without opening a new search or continuing an existing one? Having closed down a search this afternoon I wanted to show the session to another detectorist but couldn’t find a way of doing so. It would also be useful to review a search at home afterwards. If there isn’t, would you please consider this facility as a future development point?

          • Mark says:

            Hi Aurelia,

            Im glad to hear you’re up and running again.

            The android gps bug is now fixed although I haven’t actually tested it yet, but fingers crossed.. There are also a few other tweaks that need to be done to ensure compatibility with Android 6.0 (M) before I can release the update, but any day now..

            Regarding reviewing a session, the only way this can be done on your phone is by resuming a search area but without activating track recording. However, you can view them on your pc/laptop in google earth.
            To do this – On the home screen press ‘Back up/Restore. Select ‘Export kml.’ This will create the files and a new folder (kml) in the main Tect O Trak folder. Copy the the whole kml folder onto your PC. View your records by clicking on any or all of the kml files contained within the folder, or open Google Earth and drag and drop.

  22. Mark says:

    VERY IMPORTANT. PLEASE READ

    A few users have recently reported that after upgrading to Android 5.0+, (Lollipop) they have experienced issues with GPS on their device. After some research, it has been established that this is caused by a known and documented error in the Android 5.0+ ‘GPS Lock’ coding, and affects a small number of devices. The most obvious symptoms are:- A blinking gps/location icon. and/or jumpy or failed to track recording. This affects all device gps based apps

    If you think this affects you, please download install the app ‘ GPS Locker ‘ You can get it here:- https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.silentlexx.gpslock&hl=en

    Once installed, open the app. go to settings and enable ‘Auto lock on GPS on’ This is a satisfactory temporary work around until Android release the fix. (or I get tired of waiting..)

    Another bug that has been discovered recently affects the Find/clodcam camera in the Samsung S2 and S4. (ONLY). For some strange reason, when you take a picture, if you save the pic holding the phone vertical,(portrait) it may crash the app and display the message ‘Tect O Trak has stopped working’. However, If you save the pic holding the camera horizontally it works just fine.. . The problem is caused by a bug in the samsung camera firmware. I have not been able to find a fix for this bug yet. HOWEVER.. Happily, There are two simple workarounds. Firstly, workaround 1 .. is to enable screen rotation and save the pic holding phone horizontally(landscape). Once the pic is saved you can continue normally. OR.. Workaround 2- is to install the Google camera app. Please bear in mind that this ONLY affects the s2 and s4. I apologise for any inconvenience.

    Ps. If this bug has affected you.. You should check through your finds list and look for records with no pic or default image. Please delete these as they are remnants of the failed image recording. and will crash the app if you try to view them. I apologise for any inconvenience.

  23. Alex Mann says:

    Hi Mark, please please please bring out Tect o Trak on IOS.

    • Mark says:

      I’d love to Alex, but it will cost too much to develop, and application is too specialised to guarantee enough users 🙁 The only reason there is an android version is because it was something I wanted for myself so I didn’t mind taking the hit.. However, there is hope! I have promised to make it if I can guarantee to cover this cost, If you are interested, there is an action group that’s been created to solely to bring Tect O trak to iOS. https://www.facebook.com/Tect-O-Trak-452454958169850/

      I hope you will join us. 🙂

  24. John says:

    Hi Mark, It’s a great app. I tested it out in the field yesterday.

    Is there any way you can edit the name of the finds you record after the event?

    Regards John

  25. Mark says:

    Hi John,

    Thanks very much. I’m glad you like it.

    Regarding editing your finds records. The finds database is stored in a standard sqlite file. It is very simple to edit this file but requires a third party editor. Get it here :- http://sqlitebrowser.org/

    You will need to connect your device to the computer and locate a file called ‘application-database.’ You will find this file in the main Tect O Trak folder. Copy this file onto your desktop. Once this is done, double click the file and it will autorun the editor. Once the editor is open, click the ‘Browse data’ tab. (top left) then, directly under your cursor, you will see a drop down menu labelled TTArea. Change this to TTFindings. You can edit your finds records in this table.

    Once done, save the the file and exit the program. You will now need to drop the new file back into the Tect O Trak folder on your device. Having done this, run Tect O Trak and click ‘Restore’ This will update the working database.

    It may sound complicated, but it really is very quick and simple once you have done it a couple of times. If you have any problems just email me and I’ll walk you through it.

    Thank you for your support,

    Good luck,

    Mark.

  26. Brian crane says:

    The lite version works good and I tried to upgrade by apps store but no luck entering my card details as its so jumpy you can never get to the end of the payment .so looks like I am stuck with the lite version.as said the dots are too far apart .needs more accuracy ..I am using a lenovo tablet…cheers

    • Brian crane says:

      Needs a distance meter so you know how far you walked in a session

      • Mark says:

        Easily done Brian..
        I didn’t include it yet because I was trying to keep the app streamlined for simplicity and speed of use. However, quite a few people have requested it. I have nearly finished the next update which i hope to release some time over the weekend. I will try and include it in the March update for you.

    • Mark says:

      Hi Brian.

      Thank you.

      I didn’t actually think the app could run on a tablet, as there is no official graphic support for screens that size! It must look awful? Does your tablet have an led flash?

      Making it truly compatible with tablets is high on my list of priorities and will be included in the next major update in March.

      Regarding the the dot proximity. If they are any closer together it might start jumping around while you stop to dig a target. To get the best out of gps, a user is advised to work in straight lines. The refresh interval is set to allow you to stop, dig a hole, circle the hole many times… . (fill it in 😉 and continue, while at the same time keeping your lines nice and clean. Walking in straight lines only, massively reduces potential for error.

      It’s worth persevering to get the supporters version. Colour control makes a huge difference. It also helps me to maintain and develop the app further.

      Regards,

      Mark.

  27. Bill Melvin says:

    Just purchased this app. One of your suggestions is to set the search area before leaving home. How is that done? I don’t see a place to put in an address. One of the places I hunt is about 40 miles from where I live. What is an easy way to get that area to come up while I am at home? I’m probably overlooking something obvious, but any help would be appreciated.

  28. Mark says:

    Do you really need a physical address? Couldn’t you navigate your way there by eye? 😉

    Actually there is no place to enter an address to begin with 🙁 This is because we’re using the google maps api in a slightly unusual way. (for our slightly unusual hobby) However, there is a workaround.. What you need to do is create a search area (or open an old saved one if you have one) and record at least one dot of track. Touching the any part of the recorded track will bring up the google map icons (bottom right) and will let you access the google earth database. I hope this helps. Any questions just ask.

    Thank you for your support. 🙂

    • Bill Melvin says:

      I have no problem getting to the location. My question about the physical address was in reference to your suggestion to bring up the map BEFORE you leave home.

      BE SMART! It’s always best practice to mark out your intended search area before you leave home. This will save you valuable detecting time, save on data usage, and guarantee the maps are there when you need them. This is especially important if you are going somewhere new and you can’t be sure of a network connection.

  29. aurelia says:

    Hi Mark

    Can I suggest a couple of enhancements please?

    1. Allow the editing of digging areas after finalisation. In one of my fields, the farmer had left a 50m strip along the top of the field unploughed and under rough grass and old machinery. He’s now cleared and ploughed it and I would like to incorporate this into the rest of the field.

    2. Allow the joining of two fields into one, keeping the tracking data and finds logging in place. I could see this being useful where a farmer grubs up a hedgerow and combines two existing fields into one larger unit.

    3. Allow the renaming of digging areas from, say, Field 1 to Upper Hayhoe Field.

  30. Mark says:

    Hi Aurelia,

    Very nice to hear from you again. Thank you for your suggestions. 🙂

    There are so many things I could still do to ToT, but unfortunately costs prohibit. 🙁 Due to its specialisation, the app doesn’t really get the support it needs. It also doesn’t help that posts I make promoting Tect O Trak are often removed from forums and facebook groups under the rule of ‘no selling’ However, I will continue to develop it regardless, as I am a committed user myself. But progress is slow. I will probably get to your suggestions one day, it’s just a matter of priorities.

    The next update will see the addition of optional find spot coordinate formats. IE:- UK grid reference, WGS, etc.. I will then be turning my attention to getting LIDAR maps into the app, which will be quite a task, but worth it I think. As I say, It’s just a matter of priorities.

    Looking at your requests more closely.. Renaming a search area shouldn’t be too difficult. There’s a few in my own records I’d like to rename. I’ll see what I can do. 😉

    Thank you for your continued support.

    HH

    Regards,
    Mark.

  31. Haydn Thomas says:

    Hi Mark,
    Very interested in your tect-o-trak app, and I gave it a mention in our monthly newsletter last month and will be monitoring feedback to see the general comments and take-up.
    Do you have any guidance please on when we can expect the iOS version to be available as I for one have itchy fingers!
    Regards,
    Haydn
    Newsletter Editor, C&NMDS

  32. Mark says:

    Hi Haydn,

    The iOS version is currently in development after a successful crowd funding campaign, and should be published by the beginning of November. You can keep in the loop here:- https://www.facebook.com/groups/1569584126596648/

    Thank you for mentioning it in your newsletter. If any of your members have any questions, for a quick reply, they can contact me directly at :- markseeleyUK@gmail.com or message me on Facebook.

    I would like to add that Tect O Trak runs flawlessly. I’m very proud of it. If any of your members say it doesn’t, please point them in my direction as they probably haven’t read the user guide, OR there is a problem with their device’s GPS. Both can be fixed.. 😉

    Thank you for your interest in Tect O Trak. I look forward to hearing what your members have to say about it.

    HH & Good luck

    Regards,
    Mark

  33. Chris says:

    Hi
    I downloaded and paid the App and immediately started the first project by defining the search area based on an old map while at home.
    After half an hour of searching I discovered that the area was actually much larger and finds began to pop up outside the defined area.
    I was very disappointed when I found out I was not able to edit the area markers. I did not want to leave the current search so I continued but was not able to record half of the Track and finds for this day.
    I would really appreciate the possibility to edit the search area.
    Apart from that the first Test was really successful and I have to say, I like the App a lot.
    Regards,
    Chris

  34. Mark says:

    Hi Chris,
    I’m very pleased you like the app. Thank you for your support. I will continue to add functions and improvements over time. I will look into enabling the user to edit the search area, but I have to be honest, it is WAY down my list of priorities. Please understand that Tect O Trak is a VERY small specialist app and developing it is very expensive. 🙁 I am pleased to say that Tect O Trak is now self financing, but it still takes some months to amass enough revenue to finance the next update, ( I’m a detectorist, not a coder 🙁 ) so I have to be very careful about how i spend it.

    The only solution to the situation you found yourself in was to create a new search area. Although they would be 2 separate search areas, which isn’t ideal, you would still be able to view them as a single area in Google earth. I’m afraid you will have to put it down to experience on this occasion. Tect O Trak isn’t perfect.. Yet!

    Kind regards,

    Mark.

  35. Cleopatra Browne says:

    Only been detecting for a couple of months and i’m hooked! This is fantastic app. Just what i needed as found myself losing track after a while.
    Only things i can think to improve it would be the ability to import search areas (somehow set up on google maps on desktop?) and the ability to edit current search areas perimeter.
    I’ve found a nifty app (GDriveSync) to auto sync the app data with google drive.
    Keep up the good work dude 🙂

    • Mark says:

      Hi Cleopatra,

      Thank you. 🙂

      Regarding your idea of importing search areas.. First let me congratulate you for being the only user to ever come up with an idea I hadn’t already thought of myself. 🙂 Thank you. I’ll find out if its possible/affordable. (this is a very small specialised app..)

      You could try using an emulator such as BlueStacks so you can run the app on your pc. It would be interesting to see if it works. I might even give it a go myself..

      As for the editing the perimeter. Unfortunately that will never be possible (it’s technical..) Sorry. 🙁

      Thank you for supporting Tect O Trak and being kind enough to leave a nice review.

      Happy Hunting and good luck in the new year!

      Mark.

  36. Hans Demant Nielsen says:

    Hello,

    I have recently changed my phone from a samsung Galaxy s7 to a Samsung Galaxy s8+. I have imported my files to my new phone, but I am unable to import it into the System (the app) so I can continue using all the Fields (10+) and more than 150 finds I have had on my old phone.

    Please.advise what to do.

    Thank you very much in advance.

    Kind regards
    Hans

  37. Mark says:

    Hi Hans,

    Did you use Smartswitch by any chance? I recently spoke with another user that used Samsung Smartswitch and he said it gave problems…

    Please try following these steps:-

    On your old phone Start Tect O Trak and click :Backup’ Now connect you old phone to pc and look for the Tect O Trak folder. Open it, and copy/drag these files ‘ application-database.sqlite’ and the Finds folder ONLY onto your desktop. If there’s a Gallery folder drag that across too. ( There might not be one if you haven’t used the desktop gallery camera.)

    Now, assuming you have freshly installed Tect O Trak from the play store…
    Connect your new phone :- Find the Tect O Trak folder, open it and drag the files from the desktop into the Tect O Trak folder. Now start Tect O Trak and click ‘Restore’

    Let me know how you get on..

    Regards,

    Mark.

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