DotWalker

Introduction


DotWalker is an Android application addressing special needs of eyes free travellers. It is assumed that Talkback screen reader will be used with this application. On its own, DotWalker uses direct speech output, sound alerts, vibration as well as sizeable text and high contrast color scheme .
A GPS sensor should be switched on in order to provide location information. Geomagnetic sensor is used for compass features and accelerometer to trigger some user actions.

Current application status


This application has been made a paid version under title DotWalker Proavailable on Google Play. Original DotWalker remains free to use, but has some limited functionality, namely handling maximum of 30 points and disabled access to web sources like navigation and maps. This change guarantees further development and support of this product.

Quick guide


  • Main Screen.
    • GPS info and speed (text field)
    • Selected route and mode (text field)
    • Selected point and distance, on swipe shows other fields (text field)
      • Default message shows current point and distance.
      • Point description, if the point has any.
      • Distance and heading to target point.
      • Route mode details, if route mode is selected. Shows destination point and route lenght to it, evaluation of turn at next point in order to continue to the next point.
      • Audio replay, if there is any.
      • Time and path length.
      • Current heading (cardinal) and speed.
      • GPS details, altitude, accuracy.
    • Select point (button)

    • Selects single point from list to be watched.
    • Nearest (button)

    • Seeks nearest point relative to current position.
      Repeated selection shows extended options:
      • Full circle

      • Covers area all around.
      • Angle view

      • Covers area within selected view angle. Ahead, back, left and right direction is selected by swipe.
      • Points

      • Shows a list of points sorted by distance. Target can be selected.
    • Route (button)

    • Guidance along the route from point to point.
      Repeated selection shows extended options:
      • Next point to destination

      • Shifts current target to next point in route list.
      • Previous point to destination

      • Shifts current target to previous point.
      • Nearest point to destination

      • Selects the nearest point as target.
      • Select destination

      • Select destination point.
      • About

      • Details including turn at target point to the next and distance to destination.
    • Compass (button)

      • Compass

      • Cardinal direction is announced.
      • Approach to point

      • Announces direction and distance to the watched point.
      • Lookaround

      • Announces points around. Covered radius is set by swipe up or down.
    • Info (button)

      • Point details
      • Reads target point details.
      • Map and address

      • Shows current and selected points, address, address annoucement by pointing at the map
      • Route details
      • Reads currently opened route details.
      • GPS
      • Reads GPS status.
      • SMS

      • Send sms message with your location.
  • Gestures on main screen.

    • Swipe up or down

    • Announces details about target point, heading, route details, gps status.
    • Swipe left

    • Announces address, either from web or from offline map data.
    • Swipe right

    • Repeats currently shown information.
    • Angle view mode

    • Brings up the nearest point in respective direction.
  • Menu.
    • Routes.

    • Provides basic route data functions, import (from web site library, from OpenStreet maps, and from Google navigation directions), record route and map.
      • Open, Delete, Rename

      • Route data operations.
      • New route

      • Creates a new route.
      • Import

      • OpenStreet map, defined by location and radius, Google navigation directions to selected destination: Creates a new route by specifying the start and target address. If the start field is left empty, the current position is used as start.
        List of published routes from DotWalker web site.
      • Record

      • Switches route logging. Next select action closes current record which is saved under "Recorded" name appended by unused ordinal number.
      • Map

      • Shows the current route on map. Menu option Points is available to show route points.
      • Close

      • Closes and saves current route.
    • Points.

    • Comprehensive point edit, filter(selection by name and description), map layer(selection by map point classes), navigation directions to selected point, new point at the current location.
      • Edit

      • Opens point edit dialog. There, you can change name, description, sound record, position and point view info.
      • Points Filter

      • Selects a group of active points (points that will be checked against the current position) based on the name and description field match.
      • Map layer

      • Switches visibility of points according to category. Applies to data imported from OpenStreet maps.
      • Navigate

      • Creates a new route as navigation path from the current location to the selected point.
      • New Point

      • Creates a new point at the current location.
    • Settings.

    • Contains settings modifying text size and announcements of navigation events, shake sensitivity and action on shake, logging counters reset and location sms number.
      • Address announcement

      • Switches automatic announcement on address change.
      • On site

      • Selects the extent of on site state message.
      • Announce redirect

      • Switches on/off point redirect messages.
      • Text Size

      • Selects the preferred text size.
      • On shake

      • Selects the action on shake. It can be a new point creation, currently watched point and distance annoucement, or current address.
      • Sensitivity

      • Sets sensitivity of shake action.
      • On site distance

      • Sets on site state definition, based on proximity to target point.
      • Location SMS

      • Enter SMS number for SMS function that sends current location formatted for Google maps.
      • Reset Counters

      • Deleted logged values of time and covered distance.
      • Approach alert

      • Assigns distances at which there will be alert on target point approach.
      • Compass in locked screen

      • Disables compass voice messages while in locked screen state.

Routes


DotWalker requires a route data to work with. There are several options how to get a route:

Creating a new route.

Select Route and then New Route item. A dialog is shown, where you will write a name for the new route. After closing the dialog a new route is loaded. Next, you can insert new points as you stop at desired location.
As on option, new point can be created on shake (see settings). New point name is assigned automatically. Audio record for the point can be saved as well.
New point can be later opened for edit, you can add a voice comment or another special feature, street view. This is a kind of vocal hint coupled with compass value. Later, as you reach the point, you will be able (on info button click) to activate this feature, and as you turn round, appropriate message will be announced.

Route recording.

Activate Record item from Route menu. This will start automatical recording of your location each 20 metres. While in this mode, if you select settings for shake control to "new point", you can add audio recording after shake. Device will respond with a slight vibration and sound alert to indicate you can speak. The recording can be stopped with another shake or swipe (2 finger with screen reader). As you later open saved points for edit, you can fill in address in description field by selecting menu address (in point edit dialog).

Travel directions to selected target.

You can download a route by specifying either start and destination address, or just a destination. In this case, the current location is used for start. You can also create a new route by selecting destination from point menu, option navigate.

OpenStreet maps route.

DotWalker is able to download map data from OpenStreet. Covered area is defined by location (current or selected from shown map) and radius. Resulting points are assigned to several categories which can be selected or disabled in Point menu.

Import a route.

DotWalker can download already prepared routes from web server. Typically this will be a collection of points of interest converted from OpenStreet maps. With this kind of route, you can select the Nearest navigation mode. Then, you will be notified as you get near, or reach any point in route. In this scenario, you can use point filter function, where you can select only a group of points, for example only crossings. This is done by specifying filter text. You can prepare your own map if you download and use Windows application that can convert osm data to dotwalker route file. Or feel free to ask for the route of your neighourhood.

Auxiliary functions.

As you go, you are automatically notified of changes of targeted points, GPS state and when you reach the point (get inside a radius). Complementary information is easily accessible by swipes. At any time, you can also open Compass dialog where you can choose from three modes: plain compass mode, which announces degrees. Or, you can select approach mode, which will indicate direction to targeted point. The direction is annouced as hour dial value as you turn around. As you aim at the target, which is at 12 hours, you will hear distance to the point. Third mode is a look around, which announces the nearest point in given direction. A button will appear, that selects current point as target.

Latest update features.

Version.1.25

Introduction of DotWalker Pro version. Limited functionality of DotWalker free version. Improvements to route mode. Getting astray from the path is indicated by sound. Map position is updated. Saving new points to empty route is handled better.nality to DotWalker.

Version.1.21

Nearest mode is enhanced by new features. Repeated button press brings up extended options: Nearest point search can be narrowed by angled views. Swipe actions then select search directions. Other option shows a list of points sorted by distance with the nearest at the top. This list reflects selected angled view and selected direction. New point fix (crash on new line in point name). Licence extended to February 2014.

Version.1.20

Route mode was enhanced by new features. If the route mode button is pressed for the first time, route mode is set and the last point is selected as destination. The nearest point on way to destination is set as current target. As you reach it, next point on way to destination is automatically set. If the route mode button is pressed again in route mode, the list of extended options is shown:
Nearest point to destination. Dotwalker finds the nearest point on way.
Next Point To Destination, Previous Point To Destination. You can manually realign the current target point by selecting next or previous target on way to destination.
Select Destination. Select destination point from the list. In this way you can, for example, move from the last back to the first point.
About. Information for route mode. The same text is also shown on the fourth swipe down on the main screen. The message contains currenly targeted point, your turn to left or right at that point in order to reach the following point. Thus you know whether there is a sharp or mild turn on the way. Total path length to the destination is also calculated.
Another new feature of this release is the option to set compass events announcement to be disabled for locked screen state.

Version.1.17

Movement information expressed in cardinal points is added to GPS list. Approach alerts can be set to inform user about reaching specified distance steps.

Version.1.16

Handling of large route data has been improved. This fix treats issues with frozen user interface and possible crashes. Low memory error is handled so that application does not crash. Up to 90 thousand points routes have been tested, but both performance and memory problems can arise. Practically, about 30 thousand points can be managed on 1GB single core processor device.

Application instability on empty routes has been fixed.

Added save dialog after point edit and data save dialog on route close command.

Russian and Chroatian localization added (many thanks to willing contributors).

Free release mode extended to the end of October.

Modified volume for approach to point sound alerts.

New feature - map layers selection - added to settings list. Route data can contain class attribute for any point, which allows for groups of points to be switched on and off. This applies for route data prepared as map. In this case, it its practical to separately select places of residence, roads and pedestrian paths, intersections and so on. More categories will be added later. Updated map data conversion utility is being prepared that will generate data from OpenStreet maps source. For more information on data format see the product web pages.

Map layers:
Key words currently supported:
road
path
residence
intersection
transport

Example:
<Point class="road">
Point can belong to more than one class, for example:
<Point class="road intersection">

Description tag can contain unique road identification which allows for precise road selection using Point Filter function.

Routes for download


Here are several routes to download. Please note that the routes can be imported directly in DotWalker. Open Routes menu item, then select Import from Web.

Conversion from OpenStreet maps


Please note that you can import OpenStreet maps directly in DotWalker. To do so, open menu Routes, Import.
If you prefer to use your Windows PC for route conversion and processing, you can download DotWalker routes editor. This utility can convert from map.osm file, which is obtained from osm.org export function. Other option is to import Loadstone format files. Converted data, as well as loaded route.xml files, can easily be inspected and edited. You can modify selected points and check position on GoogleMaps.
In order to use your route.xml file with DotWalker application, locate "dotwalker" folder on your device memory unit. Create new subfolder under this folder, folder name will be
be used as new route name.
Place route.xml file in the folder.

Locatization


You are welcome to make DotWalker speak in your own language. Just download Strings file and send it back.

Offline use


DotWalker is designed to work without the need for online web connection, except for the navigation routes that require Google webserver feeds and OpenStreet download. After saving the route on the device memory store, you can use that route offline. OpenStreet Map images are downloaded while online, stored and reusable for offline use.

Updated: 29.4.2014