For Mobile App Users
Both Android and iOS devices have a number of restrictions in place to make sure that mobile app users are only sharing their location when desired. The following criteria have to be met in order for you to see the location of other responders in your mobile app:
- The responder has to have “Supervisor View” permissions which are given when the responder is first registered by a dispatcher
- The responder has to give their device permission to share their location with Beacon
- The responder has to set their GPS Tracking settings to “Always” or “Only during incidents” in the mobile app (watch this video or read this page to learn more)
Once those criteria have been met, then the mobile app user must have their phone turned on and the Beacon mobile app in the foreground to share their most recent location.
*Note: If you click on a responder’s icon in the sidebar of the mobile app, and it says “Location Unavailable” that happens for two reasons:
- The responder is using Beacon via SMS or
- The responder has not met the criteria listed above
For Web App Users
If responders comply with the criteria above, then dispatchers will be able to see the last reported location of the responder. This may or may not be the most recent location — if a responder doesn’t have the phone on, the app in the foreground and/or hasn’t changed their GPS Tracking settings to “Always” or “Only during incidents”, then the dispatcher will not be able to see the most recent location (even if they click the Ping button on the home screen map).
We’re sorry to belabor this point, but we have gotten enough complaints from users saying “The web app isn’t showing my current location”, when the reality is that they don’t understand how GPS Tracking works. Please keep in mind that Android and iOS do not allow mobile apps to track a user’s location all the time no matter what. Permissions have to be granted, the phone has to be on, the app has to be in the foreground, and the settings have to be configured correctly. (For example, if the responder allows Beacon to track their location “Only During Incidents“, and there is no active incident, then their current location will not be displayed until they are assigned to an incident and they interact with Beacon.
Similarly, if responders install the app for the first time, and they have set their GPS Tracking settings in the app to “Only During Incidents“, their location will not appear until they have been assigned to an incident and they interact with Beacon.
To resolve this, try these steps:
- Tell the responder to temporarily change their GPS Tracking settings to “Always”, and then ask them to click the MyLocation button on the home screen of their app
- Create a new incident and assign the responder to that incident. Once they reply to a message, Beacon will update their location (assuming they have followed all the other steps)
We wish it more straightforward but, like Push Notifications, there are restrictions placed on mobile apps by Android and iOS that require developers and users to meet certain criteria. At least in the case of GPS Tracking, this is a good thing for protecting privacy. But once you understand the criteria and educate your users, we are certain you’ll see the GPS Tracking works quite well.