Device Tracking - Mobile

How device tracking work on EarthRanger Mobile

Updated at March 8th, 2024

Device Tracking

Before going into the details, it's important to understand how EarthRangers device tracking works. 

Once tracking is enabled, the app will immediately start capturing the devices position as device's coordinates.


When tracking is enabled, EarthRanger Mobile will continually attempt to submit the most recently recorded position to the EarthRanger system in real-time. Tracking points are calculated based on a distance-to-speed relationship. When the user is walking, the app records a track point every 25 meters. When a user is in a helicopter, the distance between track points is larger resulting in fewer track points as speed increases. If no movement is detected, it will record the device’s position every 5 mins.


Track points will sync as long as it has an active connection to a cellular or wireless network.

If the device does not have an active connection, the data will still be recorded, but will be stored in a local cache on the device. Once an active connection to a network is reestablished, EarthRanger Mobile will begin sending the data to the EarthRanger system.


Data will be locally cached if you do not sign off the device or if you sign off and sign in with the same user. If you sign off the device and log in with a different user, the database will be erased and all pending sync items will be lost. As long as there is cached data remaining on the device, EarthRanger Mobile will transmit it to EarthRanger whenever it has a network connection.



The cached tracking points will be uploaded in batch. To optimize the upload performance when cached, batches are uploaded with a maximum of 25 observations per upload. 



The first time you open the app the default state of the Map View will be Tracking/Patrol. This is also the state if you log out and log in again. You have two options to start tracking by:

  1. Tap on the button Tracking at the bottom of the Map View.
  2. Tap on the Patrol button at the bottom of the Map View. This will start tracking associated with a patrol. 

While the tracking is off you will see the indicator of the user’s location moving, but no tracking will be made as you will not see the tracking points uploading to the web.

Start Tracking

Tapping the Tracking button from the Map View bottom sheet will initiate device tracking and change the bottom sheet context to your devices tracking status.

The tracking status bottom sheet can be expanded to allow you to start a Patrol at any time while the device is tracking.  To initiate the full tracking status display, slide the bottom sheet up. 

Tapping the Start Patrol button will initiate the start patrol workflow in the app and allow all future tracks to be part of the patrol. There are two states to tracking

  1. Live
  2. On

The next sections will describe those 2 states. 

Tracking Live

The tracking is considered live when:

  • Tracking is on
  • Tracking points can be uploaded successfully
  • There’s an internet connection available



Tracking On

The tracking is considered On when:

  • Tracking is on
  • Tracking points cannot be uploaded successfully or
  • There’s not internet connection available

When there’s a problem with uploading the tracking points or there’s no internet connection the tracking points will be stored locally on the device and as soon as an internet connection is available these tracking points will be uploaded to the server.

The tracking points will not be lost if the app is closed before syncing.

Track observation points will be connected by a straight line representing a track.  This line is not a true representation of the track the device as it simply connects all observation points that have been recorded.  Only the observation points, represented by the blue arrows, are uploaded to your EarthRanger site server.

No Location

If the location cannot be found, the tracking icon will appear different and a message will be prompted.

Because the current location cannot be determined a message “Location not found“ will be displayed instead of the latitude and longitude position.

The indicator of the user’s location will stop moving as location cannot be found.

The Track line will stop recording as well as the tracking points.

Once the location can be determined EarthRanger Mobile will refresh and tracking points will start uploading.

EarthRanger version 2.3.0