New release of EcoCitizen Android

EcoCitizen Android improvements

Until recently our code base was working only on Android version 1.6, using a backported version of Android’s bluetooth library. We have changed our minimum target version to 2.1, using the official bluetooth library, and have confirmed that the app works well on several devices using Android version 2.1, 3.x, and 4.x. We will continue maintaining a “backport” version of the app, as most of our test devices are version 1.6 (HTC Magic).

Source code of the mainline development (Android 2.1+):

https://code.launchpad.net/ecocitizenapp

Source code of the backport development (Android 1.6):

https://code.launchpad.net/~janos-gyerik/ecocitizenapp/backport

Improvements in this release

  • Added support for another health sensor. The device measures various health parameters, such as: heart rate, respiration rate, skin temperature, posture.
  • We confirmed the app works well with a range of environmental sensors: radiation, ozone, and various air pollution sensors.
  • Improved the speed of file uploading.

Pending tasks for first release

We are gearing up for releasing the app (both mainline and backport versions) on Google Play within the next 2-3 months. For this first release we are targeting the minimal set of features that enable a wide audience to collect and contribute data from a variety of sensors. More nice-to-have features and support for more sensor devices can be added later in incremental releases. The app will be free.

Target improvements in the release candidate:

  • User registration
  • Documentation:
    • How to contribute code
    • How to add support for a new sensor (it’s easy!)
    • How to contribute data and browse on the map
    • How to send the collected to data to your own map server
  • Better app ui design

Screenshots

There are no new screens in this release, but in any case here are a few screenshots using a phone with android version 2.1+, showing measurements from a health sensor.

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New release of EcoCitizen Map

EcoCitizen Map improvements

  • All sidebars are sliding, their position is remembered, and by default all are hidden to give more space to the map
  • New sidebar for selecting multi criteria data filter. This makes a huge difference, because previously only the latest data was visible of each sensor type.
  • Improved map rendering speed
  • Slightly improved looks
  • Migrated to HTML5, though this presents some issues: Internet Explorer is temporarily unsupported, and there are strange behaviors on the map

Next targets

  • Show user comments taken during data collection
  • Bug fix: solve the HTML5 issues and restore support for Internet Explorer
  • Show multiple data sets at once, in some kind of aggregate view

Screenshots

 

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New release of EcoCitizen Android

EcoCitizen Android improvements

  • Easier navigation
    • Connect button on screen instead of menu
    • The main applications are now in tabs, for easier switching
  • Several usability improvements and bugfixes in file uploader (visual feedback, can cancel, progress indicators)
  • New, original icons

Next targets

  • Add support for another health sensor
  • New user interface (considering the multiple sensors we support)
  • Graph view

Screenshots

  

 

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Speed improvement on the map

We have significantly improved the speed of the map rendering, now it should take only a few seconds instead of half a minute.

The advanced filters that we’ve been promising for a long long time is finished, but to add it in a sidebar will need a bit of rethinking of the overall visual design, so the new release will come with a new look, most probably before the end of the year, so stay tuned.

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A small release, but more to come soon

As part of the preparation for getting the Android application ready for Android Market, we released a simple tool called Bluetooth Viewer (a few weeks ago). This tool was in fact our first Android application we used for debugging and testing Bluetooth sensor devices. We released it a few weeks ago, and just like the upcoming EcoCitizen Android application, it is open source. Read more about it here.

EcoCitizen Android updates: in December we will release the last milestone before the official Android Market release, which is expected in January.

EcoCitizen Map updates: in December we will release some major changes, but much work will remain still, so there will be several more milestone releases.

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New release of EcoCitizen Android and EcoCitizen Map

EcoCitizen Android improvements

  • Created a plugin framework for adding support for new sensor devices easily. This means that if you have a portable sensor device that uses bluetooth to send data or provide data download, now you can simply write a new driver class to get data from the device and parse that data, without needing to edit other parts of the code. Detailed documentation is in progress, and will be posted later. This is one of the most relevant features of the application.
  • Added (basic) support for the HxM health sensor made by Zephyr Technology.
  • Improved navigation, user interface. Further improvements will be in a next release very soon.
  • Several internal changes and bugfixes.

EcoCitizen Map improvements

  • Added a color-scale sidebar which shows the measurement value ranges corresponding to the marker colors on the map.
  • Measurement markers are now clickable, showing details of the measurement.
  • Several internal improvements and bugfixes.

Screenshots

You can see more screenshots of this release here.

Next targets

  • EcoCitizen Map
    • Advanced filters / data selector controls
    • Show user comments taken during data collection
  • EcoCitizen Android
    • Release on Android Marketplace
    • Review and revise navigation, screens, menus
    • More views, with map, and graph
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New release of EcoCitizen Map

The map has undergone some major internal changes, that’s why took our time with the new release. Finally it’s here, and from now on it should be easier to make incremental changes.

EcoCitizen Map improvements

  • The session summary attribute (describing the data recording session) and the contributor of the data is shown in the top-right corner of the map. This way it is clearer what you’re looking at.
  • Hovering on a graph point highlights the corresponding point on the map.
  • In real-time mode, the latest recording is highlighted, so it is easier to see where is the current data.
  • Nicer real-time mode switch button.
  • Lots and lots of internal improvements and bugfixes.

Screenshots

You can see more screenshots of this release here.

Next targets

  • EcoCitizen Map
    • Advanced filters / data selector controls
    • Show user comments taken during data collection
  • EcoCitizen Android
    • Review and revise navigation, screens, menus
    • Support for new sensor types (physiological)
    • Release on Android Marketplace
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New release of EcoCitizen Android

EcoCitizen Android improvements

  • Now you can connect to multiple sensors at the same time.
  • Now you can add notes while collecting data. This can help a lot when analyzing spikes in the data later, the notes during collection can hint at what happened.
  • Lots of stability improvements and code cleansing.

We also changed the official repository URL of the Android project to:

http://launchpad.net/ecocitizenapp

Screenshots

 

 

Next targets

  • EcoCitizen Map
    • Advanced filters / data selector controls
    • Show user comments taken during data collection
    • New release (lots of unreleased user interface improvements)
  • EcoCitizen Android
    • Review and revise navigation, screens, menus
    • Support for new sensor types (physiological)
    • Release on Android Marketplace
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Quick update

Hi, we had to take a break for a while due to the disaster in Japan, but now we are back to work.

Our roadmap is unchanged:

  • EcoCitizen Map
    • Advanced filters / data selector controls
    • User comments taken during data collection
  • EcoCitizen Android
    • Support for new sensor types (physiological)
    • Support for multiple sensors connected at once
    • User comment interface during data collection

At the same time, we are focusing on usability and stability improvements. We learned much from the Tokyo Marathon experiment. Although the core system works quite well, a few minor details can make a big difference. We will iron out the rough edges in the coming months, while introducing exciting new functionality as well.

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Tokyo Marathon 2011

Wow, Joseph really did complete the Tokyo Marathon successfully wearing all that fancy gear! Big kudos to him, otsukaresama!

Although for now we have only partial environmental data of his run (he wore the sensor on his left arm, btw), we will upload it soon and make it available on the map site in a few days.

How come the data is only partial for now?
1. At around 8:30, Android lost internet connection, for unknown reason, but most probably related to the mobile internet service provider, and possibly to the ustream issues Joseph was having. Roughly two hours later the connection was back and Android recovered automatically.
2. At around 12:00, Android most probably ran out of battery.

There was also an increasing lag in the data uploaded by Android, because the sampling rate of the sensor was faster than Android could send it to the map.

In the feature such issues will be avoidable, obviously we need to work more on the software, and a dedicated mobile internet provider for just the android should help staying connected to the internet.

We should be able to recover the full data set, because the sensor device stores it internally while sending to Android, and also it has longer battery lifetime. We will post again in a few days after we get the data off the sensors and upload on the map, so stay tuned!

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