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Comob Net

iPhone / iPad
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Comob Net allows a group of people to see each others geographical locations in 'real-time' and connect them up with lines. To see your friends' locations, ask them to run the app and set the same group name on all phones in the settings tab.

The application was designed for an arts / cultural project and has some features to support its use in galleries or in the street.

Detailed Description:

On the main screen (Map View), the user is able to see their location along with others who are have entered the same group name in the Settings screen.
The buttons along the top of the Map View:
1. allow access to the Help page at
2. allow users to zoom the map to a scale in which they can see all members of the group
3. tells the server to mark this position

Settings screen
The Settings screen allows users to:

1. set a user name

2. set a group name (You are free to chose any group name you like, but be aware that if you use a very common name, other people might choose it as well, in which case you may be seeing more positions than you expected. This may not be what you want to happen, especially if those people are on the other side of the world!)

3. choose if you want to see the names of your friends displayed above their position

4. choose if you want the proximity sensor to switch off the screen when something comes close to it. This can save some power when you let the app running in your pocket in order to send position updates to your friends without looking at the screen yourself.

5. New with this version (requires iOS4 and at least an iPhone3GS) is the option to let the app continue to track your position and report it to other group members while comob Net is in the background.

WARNING: Continued use of GPS running in the background (accurate mode) can dramatically decrease battery life.

For that reason we limited the accurate background tracking with a timeout, just in case you forget to switch it off. This timeout by default switches Comob Net to its coarse tracking mode 30 minutes after becoming a background task, but you may adjust that in the advanced settings to a value from 1 minute to 300 minutes.

The coarse setting uses much less power, as it does not use the GPS. Instead it relies only on cell tower positioning, which causes very little overhead on top of the phone's normal roaming activity. The disadvantage is obviously its relatively low accuracy. During the few days we tested this feature on an iPhone 4 we did not notice a significant difference between coarse tracking on and no background tracking at all. However, if you drive around and the phone has to roam a lot, Comob Net will send updates more frequently, which may decrease battery life as well.

6. change the map type (Map, Satellite, Hybrid)

7. change the way that lines are drawn between users (None, All, Convex Hull)

From here you can also reach an advanced settings screen where you can adjust the timeout duration for accurate (GPS based) background tracking or change server settings. This allows anyone to use this app with his/her own server instead of ours.

Status screen
The Status screen
Is uneditable, but reports the following information back to the user:
1. available location data
2. general status of the connection with the server