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Android location tracking

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This article describes Miradore Online location tracking feature that can be enabled by the Business Plan customers for Android devices. If you're interested in location tracking, consider upgrading your site to the Business Plan. See more in How to upgrade Subscription. The Location tracking feature requires Miradore Online Android Client version 2.2.0 or newer. Customizable interval and distance trigger requires Android client version 2.3.0 or newer.

 

How to enable location tracking

Location tracking can be enabled on desired Android devices using Configuration profiles. Navigate to Mobile management > Configuration profiles and create Android location tracking profile. See Creating a configuration profile for more details.

Alternatively, location tracking can be also enabled for Android devices one-by-one by using clicking on the Enable location tracking link on the top-right corner of the device form (picture). This installs a built-in location tracking profile with default settings to the target device.

Description of the location tracking profile settings:

End user notification defines if a notification is shown to the end user when location tracking is enabled. (Please note: client version 2.2.2 or newer is required.)

Minimum data update interval defines how often location updates are reported to the server.

Minimum distance change defines the minimum distance change required before a location update is sent to the server. This setting is disabled by default. Notice that if this setting is anything other than Not used, the device must move at least the selected distance before it reports updated location data back to Miradore Online. Therefore, it might seem like the location tracking wouldn't work if the device is always located within the minimum distance threshold. It is recommended to use this setting only when the devices are known to move enough regularly.

Once the location tracking configuration profile has been created, administrators can deploy it to desired Android devices. See more in Deploying a configuration profile. When the profile is deployed and successfully installed, the device starts to collect and report location data to the Miradore Online server.

There is no global setting to enable location tracking for all devices. Tracking devices and/or employees is prohibited in some countries or collective agreements. Therefore, it is the administrator's responsibility to check whether location tracking can or should be used in your organization. There is also an option in the location tracking configuration to notify the end user that location tracking has been enabled on the device.

 

How to view device location

Once location tracking has been enabled for the selected Android devices, the current device location can be seen by navigating to Mobile management > Devices and by opening the device page.

The map on the top-right corner is centered to the last known location of the device. The last reported location is also visible in Inventory tab > Location table.

Miradore Online Android Client reports:

  • Location service status
  • Latitude
  • Longitude and
  • Location reported (time of the location fix)

The location service status can be used to check whether the end-user has disabled the location service from the device. If location data is not received from the device the main reason is most likely that location service has been disabled from the phone. Latitude, longitude and location reported values reflect the last known location of the device and time for this location fix.

In order to save battery and phone resources, Miradore Online Android client versions older than 2.3.0 request location values from the phone approximately every hour and store location data to internal memory. This last known location is then reported and stored to the server when the Miradore Online Android client sends refreshed inventory. This is scheduled to occur every 3 hours. If you wish to refresh the inventory of the device immediately press Sync now from the actions menu of the device page and follow the wizard instructions. 

Miradore Online Android clients from version 2.3.0 and onwards support customizable update intervals and/or distance triggers. This allows for almost real-time tracking of devices. Minimum interval for location updates is 1 minute. Please note that smaller update intervals will drain the device battery faster. Client versions 2.3.0 or newer will always send a location update when Sync now is pressed, if there is an active location tracking configuration on the device. So even when the update interval is 24 hours, Sync now will retrieve the current location.

Based on the raw location data, the map on the top-right corner is centered to the current location of the device. In addition, the server tries to reverse geocode latitude and longitude values into:

  • Street address
  • Zip code
  • City and
  • Country

Geocoded location data can contain errors but hopefully gives the best textual approximation about the device location.

 

Troubleshooting

If your device is not sending location updates, or location updates are occurring more sparsely than requested, ensure that all location providers are enabled on the device. How this is done depends a bit on the Android version and manufacturer of the device. Typically, there is a Location section in the device settings where you can enable or disable location services altogether, and define what features can be used to track device location, e.g. GPS, WiFi or cellular network. Below is a screenshot from a Nexus 4 device running Android 5.1.1. For optimal functionality, set the mode to High accuracy. This allows the usage of all location providers: GPS, WiFi and cellular network.

 

 

How to view multiple device locations

Location data from multiple devices can be examined by navigating to Mobile management > Map.

The devices that have either location tracking data (Blue marker) or manually assigned location (Grey marker) available are drawn on the map. The blue balloon depicts a group of devices. Zoom-in or click the group to view device locations. Clicking the marker will open the device page of the target device.

 

How to disable location tracking

Location tracking can be disabled by simply deleting the deployed configuration profile from the device. This can be done by opening the device page and clicking the trashcan icon in the Configuration profiles table. See Removing deployed configuration profiles for more information.

 

More information

About configuration profiles

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