Find your location – easy, right? However, if you don’t have internet, it becomes harder.
Smartphones have something called ‘A-GPS’ which allows you to calculate your location quickly. This is because A-GPS downloads extra data (‘ephemeris’) via mobile internet and WiFi spots to accelerate finding your location. However, internet may not be available in rural and remote locations, and you phone then has to use good old fashioned GPS to find one’s location. Your phone now needs to get the ‘ephemeris’ via the GPS satellite signal. This is slow takes about 15 minutes. In other words, to get your location, you needs to be outside for around 15 minutes in order to calculate the location. That’s where the SharePlusCode app comes into its own.
SharePlusCode guides the user to ensure that an accurate signal is found. It works like this:
- The apps looks for GPS satellites. If it cannot detect any, it probably means that you are indoors or in a covered area. In that case, the app asks you to go outside or move to a more open area.
- Once SharePlusCode detects satellite signals, it will ask you to stay outside for up to 15 minutes. The app offers audio instructions for users with visual disabilities and/or have difficulty reading, as well as for users that are less familiar with use of apps and GPS.
- One the location is obtained, the app displays the PlusCode (see https://plus.codes/). PlusCodes can be easily written down, or communicated by phone. They also work in map applications, such as Google Maps and Maps.Me.
The app displays three levels of accuracy: low, medium (approximately within 50 metres) and high (approximately within a few metres). Once ‘high’ accuracy is obtained, the user is invited to share the location via a message. The message contains the accuracy data. For many other apps, this is not the case, which makes it hard for the recipient to know whether the location is accurate.
Furthermore, the language for the app can be switched inside the app, without needing to go into the phone settings. The app is available in 18 languages: Amharic, Arabic, Bemba, Bengali, English, French, Hausa, Hindi, Igbo, Kinyarwanda, Portuguese, Shona, Spanish, Swahili, Telegu, Urdu, Xhosa and Zulu.
SharePlusCode (for Android) is available here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.opendeved.sharepluscode.
SharePlusCode is designed and maintained by Open Development & Education. Open Development & Education would like to express our deep appreciation for the dedication and support of Narola Infotech in the development of the SharePlusCode app, without whose input this project would have been significantly more challenging.