TrackGuide – Getting Started

(Nederlandstalige handleiding hier)

Getting started : 7 steps if you do not read guides.

  • Start TrackGuide on your phone
  • (Close the welcome screen)
  • Tap the ‘+’ in the top-right corner.
  • Select ‘Create One By Hand’ from the menu.
  • Tap a short walk around your block (not more than 25 points) and save. Complete tapping your walk, as you need to register if you want to modify the walk afterwards.
  • Wait for the walk to arrive on your watch. (If you installed trackGuide for the first time, it can take some time before watch and phone are on speaking terms. Just wait a few minutes, then start the app on your watch, then on you phone)
  • And walk. Keep an eye on your phone and on your watch – or walk your walk twice, once guided by your phone, once guided by your watch.

First use (Theory from here on)

When you launch TrackGuide for the very first time, its library of walks is empty. When launched with an empty library, you get this window :

01 lege bib met selectie

Here, you can select some example walks to be imported in your own library. Just tap them (a blue checkmark will be added to indicate they are selected), then tap the ‘Import …’ button and wait a bit. The list of walks can be scrolled horizontally.

Importing example walks is optional – you are probably not planning a trip to Basel, Amsterdam or Ostend – but you could use these walks to explore the program.

The “+” symbol in the upper right corner

When we start TrackGuide, we get a nice list of walks. Unfortunately, this list is empty when you just installed TrackGuide for the first time. That is where the “+” comes in. It opens the menu below :

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  • Pick a gpx/tcx from iCloud : opens the fileBrowser where you can select a gpx-file to import.
  • Create one by hand : Tap on a map to create a walk. This process is detailed over here.
  • Plot route to destination : Imagine you just left Centraal Station and want to go to Hotel Huppeldepup. Then you can use this option to find your way. It generates a breadcrumb from where you are to where you want to go with turn by turn instructions. More info on this option over here.
  • Import from iCloud databases. If you created walks on some other iDevice and stored them in iCloud, or if you want to import one of the sample walks we made available from our public iCloud database, you can choose this option. More info on synchronizing using iCloud can be found here. How to get walks from iCloud on your iDevice, can be read here.
  • Receive walk from nearby device : to get a walk from someone standing within Bluetooth distance from you. That person must have indicated in the settings that walks can be shared over the air. This process is further detailed here.
  • Record a new walk… : Just walk and let your phone record your track. While recording, you can take pictures to add POI’s (Points of interest) to your track, or insert routing instructions. More info can be found here.
  • Tap ‘Close this menu’ to close this menu. Tapping outside the menu also does the job.

Anytime you add or delete a walk on your phone, and TrackGuide is started on your Watch, the list of walks on your Watch will be updated. If TrackGuide was not started on your Watch, just start it, pull down the walktable on your iPhone and let it go. You can also start the app on your Watch before opening it on your phone. Whenever the iPhone app starts, it tries to synchronize the list on the Watch with the one on the phone.

Main window

The main window of TrackGuide looks like the screenshot below. At least – on my phone it does. You probably get an empty screen.

01-02

For each walk you have on your phone, this screen shows

  • A background map
  • The name of the walk (eg. Citadel Lille)
  • The distance from your current location to the start of the walk (=> 119.32 Km)
  • Total distance from start to finish (5.29 km)
  • If the walk contains a general description, an info button is shown in the upper right corner. Tap it to read that info. (none shown on the screenshot above)
  • If you bought the full version (less than $3) and if you turned the iCloud option on, you’ll get the cloudstatus of each walk. Tap it to synchronize the walk on your phone with its counterpart in iCloud. More info can be found here.

We’ll talk about  putting walks on your own phone later. First need to talk about …

Settings

The upper left corner of the main window of TrackGuide shows a cog. Tap it to open the settings dialog :

01-03 simulator screen shot - iphone xs max - 2019-01-03 at 20.08.22

A walk in TrackGuide is a sequence of points you have to follow – just think of the breadcrumbs in some fairy tails (Hansel and Gretel to name one). Every crumb is a trackpoint, and you must walk from point to point to complete a walk. A point is reached when your position matches the position of the point.

That is the theory. In the real world, GPS locations are inaccurate by some meters – 10 meters off is not exceptional. And most GPS tracks you find on the internet are recorded by inaccurate GPS devices. So the crumbs you follow are not exactly where they should be neither. The chance that your inaccurate position matches the inaccurate position of the trackpoint is quite small. There for, we use some margin to determine whether you reached a point or not.

The settings dialogue lets you customize this margin (note that the initial settings work well for us. However, you might set them higher if you walk a city with a lot of huge buildings) :

  • Passing distance <= … m : if the GPS of your phone or your watch tells you that you are les than … meters from the next point, TrackGuide will consider that point as reached. The 12 meters initially proposed is more or less the width of a two way street with parked cars on each side.
  • + GPS Accuracy Factor : Every GPS measurement on your iPhone comes with an accuracy in meters. TrackGuide adds a percentage of that accuracy to the first number.
  • But no further than … meter : The error margin of a GPS measurement can sometimes be huge – a few 100 meters. A lot of points would be marked ‘reached’ when 100% of such a big error would be taken into account. Use this setting to set an upper limit on the ‘Consider point as reached’ distance. If GPS reception is really bad, you might up this to 36 meters.

Other settings are

  • Show distances in meters/kilometers or yards/miles.
  • Do you want to share walks with other TrackGuide users standing next to you (Bluetooth distance)? If this setting is on, other TrackGuide users can see your iPhone in a list of devices they are allowed to request walks from. This process is further detailed on this page.
  • Do you want to export your walks as standard GPX (no pictures, names and descriptions in one language only) or extended GPX (includes pictures and texts in all language available)? Applications other than TrackGuide might struggle with files exported using the extended version, so limit extended GPX for sharing with other TrackGuide users.
  • Do you want to enable access to the iCloud storage features of  TrackGuide (available second half of Januari 2019)? Only registered users can turn this option on. iCloud features are described on this page (Click).
  • North up? (setting not on the screenshot above) Do you want to keep the North above on your phone when being guided. Default is no, in which case the maps rotates with your heading.

Things you can do with a walk

Tap a walk to open the guidance screen. More info here.

If you slide a walk to the left, you get some options :

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The options you get are

  • Delete: Removes the track from your phone.
  • Edit: to add or delete trackpoints, move trackpoints to a different position or attach POI’s (Points Of Interest) to a trackpoint. More info here.
  • The three dots open a menu with some more options.

The options are a little bit different for generated tracks (tracks that guide you to a destination). For these tracks, the ‘Edit’ option is replaced by  ‘Refresh’ :   recreate the track from your current position :

01-06 simulator screen shot - iphone xs max - 2019-01-03 at 20.12.24

Edit is replaced with a refresh symbol for generated walks. Screenshot taken from a Dutch screenshot.

The WalkMenu (opened by tapping “…”)

You open he WalkMenu by sliding a walk a bit to the left and tap the three dotted button. Some of the options in this menu – delete and edit – were already available as rowbuttons.

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  • Recreate the background image : if you changed from an iPhone SE to a Xs Max, the background images might look blurred. Use this option to create a new image that fits the size of our phone. Can also be used when Apple updated its maps and you want a background image with the latest maps.
  • Share as a GPX file : Create and share GPX file for the walk. This file can be shared by airdrop, by Files, sent to another app that knows how to handle GPX etc… . Generated files can be used on other devices from other manufacturers like Garmin to name one. The generated GPX files do not contain images and only include names and descriptions of POI’s in the default language. To add this missing info to the GPX, enable the option ‘Extended’ in the settings dialog. Note that applications other that TrackGuide might not know how to handle this extended format : they most likely will ignore the photos and show all languages at once.
  • Send walk to nearby device : this option is not shown on the screenshot above. It is only available if you choose to share walks in the options dialog. Sends the walk over the air to everyone who requested walks from you. This process is detailed here. Walks sent over the air do contain photos and multilingual names.

Data usage and Privacy

TrackGuide uses Apple Maps. Apple maps gets its data from the internet. So you use mobile data while using TrackGuide away from a known WiFi network. Data usage can be minimized by opening the map of the area you plan to walk on your iPhone  before leaving WiFi coverage, but there is no guarantee you will not use any mobile data.

We never tested TrackGuide with a cellular equipped Apple Watch –  these are not yet available in Belgium as no mobile operator supports eSims – so we cannot guarantee you can leave your phone home and solely rely on your watches 4G connection.

TrackGuide uses iCloud to cloud-sync walks between iDevices. Walks saved in the cloud take some bytes (10KB for walks without photos, 30MB for a walk with 20 photos) from your own iCloud storage. We have absolutely no access to these walk – only you have. We know nothing about our customers.