Official Highway Radar iOS app development thread

JaySC

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Having kicked off a journey to bring Highway Radar to iOS a few weeks ago, I thought it proper to create a thread for posting updates as I'm ready/able to share them.

This thread is a continuation of the discussion/updates here, but will hopefully eventually include many more updates and details.

My thanks to @ferius for working with me to make this happen! You've been extremely helpful and responsive thus far, and I look forward to continuing to work with you as this project continues.

Here are a few Q&As just to kick things off, but feel free to ask/bring up anything I may have missed:

What exactly are you doing?

I'm developing a version of Highway Radar for iOS. It will be lightweight at first so that I can get something released to you, likely starting with police/airplane alerts and heat maps. Because HR is written specifically for Android (native), there isn't a process by which some things can be changed/tweaked to run it on iOS. The entire application has to be written from scratch, although ferius is providing access to some of his data which will help speed up the process a bit. This means that the process is not a short one, but it also means that I can make full use of some iOS-specific features/frameworks to provide the best experience possible.

When will you be done?

Since the time I'm spending on this is not generating income and I have to be respectful to my family, job, and step away from the computer at times to stay sane, this is a "no-guarantees" process. I'm taking the project seriously (hence deciding to stick with it for a few weeks before posting this thread), and am motivated by a desire to have this for myself as well as to contribute to the community, but I'm aware that sometimes life happens.

That said, I'm targeting a final beta in early-July, in time to really put it to the test on the Houston to Toronto Dustball Rally (2020 gimmick champs!). If I miss it I miss it, but I'm hopeful that this is a doable target.

When will you update us? What's the current state?

I'll provide updates as I have things worth sharing. I'm going to avoid posting too frequently so as to not pressure myself day-by-day. I'm going to take time off, maybe a week or more at a time. I'm going to binge work on this more than once, I'm sure. I'll do my best to share the latest as soon as I have something worth sharing. While I won't be put off for requests for status, just know that the answer will likely be a bunch of technical jargon that you may not want or care about.

Will/can you include [feature x]?

Probably. Probably not in the initial release, which will be a "minimum viable product" sort of release targeting the US (though as @Vancity23 suggested I'll likely add KMs from the get-go).

What are your long-term plans?

I'd love to continue development over time to bring the app in line with all of the feature offerings of the Android app, and even begin pushing into uncharted territory once we're there. Admittedly, I'll need to figure out a pricing model that makes sense for continued development since I do need to be able to justify my time, but I imagine that that will depend on lots of factors that I have no insight into at this point (and so this probably isn't even worth mentioning).

Again, thank you @ferius for your support in this process! I'm looking forward to sharing updates and getting this launched for you all!

JaySC
Post automatically merged:

Current state:

  • Map, alerts, settings, speed limit indicator, and notifications UI elements complete.
  • Able to request and receive crowdsourced data, filtering and converting results into usable data
  • Fetching crowdsource data for a "box" around current location (math was interesting for this since miles:degrees longitude changes based on latitude) and populating map with alerts when app starts
  • Able to store alerts after fetching and populate map with only those alerts that are still "valid" after each fetch
Next steps:
  • Fetch and store data on a background thread so that the app remains usable while continuously updating
  • Update the map continuously with valid alerts, remove stale alerts
Post automatically merged:

Looks like Apple is adding a feature for crowdsourcing alerts. I'm hopeful that this will be available to developers but not holding my breath. Wouldn't surprise if they waiting until WWDC (summer) to release such a thing, if at all.
 
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alloy00

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This remains terrific news. Let us know how we can provide encouragement to you along the way!
 

WJS

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This is great! Several forum members beta test for @mswlogo and his iOS app. If you need a tester, I'm happy to help.
 

gorgid

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i think many members can donate few dollars down the road to keep your motivation high;)
 

JaySC

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Appreciate the support all!

First major milestone achieved: basic map/alert functionality. The app now continuously checks for police alert data and updates the map based on a "box" around your current location.

The next step is to slightly expand the data that I'm collecting about each alert so that I can give all relevant information (e.g. "hiding behind a sign") where appropriate. Aside from that, this is first point where there's not a super clear "thing that has to be done next."

The basic plan is to get police alerts working completely, then aircraft, then heat maps, so I guess I need to put some thought into how I'm going to announce/warn about police alerts. I'd considered using a notification banner for off-the-currently-visible-map alerts, but have decided that I'm going to populate all alerts on the visible map (actually within a "box" that's fixed size, currently 5 miles square) as pins, audibly alert to any within a specified radius, and save the banner alerts (which will stay present on the screen until physically dismissed) for aircraft. I think that this makes for the simplest UI but of course I'll be open to changing this if it doesn't turn out to be the best way to go.

So, that means that audible alerts are next. I like how ferius' app sort of works like a radar detector, giving you an audible alert and a mute button. I'm still back and forth with this approach vs. the "Waze style" of just announcing it and leaving it at that, but the former ensures that it keeps alerting until you acknowledge that you heard it so that's likely how I'll go. Trying to balance making buttons that are big enough to be "mashable" while driving and not cluttering up the screen too much. Maybe a transparent button (just an outline) that fills in red when a new alert pops up? We'll see.
 

6thgear

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within a "box" that's fixed size, currently 5 miles square) as pins, audibly alert to any within a specified radius

Awesome update! Thanks for sharing. Regarding the alerts, it would be great to be able to specify the radius criteria on numerous axis. For example 5 miles in front, 0.5 miles behind. This certainly can be an incremental enchantment, don’t want to slow down the momentum you have going!!
Very exciting news!
 

Vortex

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Awesome! Thanks so much for taking on this project! As an iOS user, I'm very grateful. :)
 

edconline

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So excited to see this happening!! Once you get to the point for beta testing via TestFlight, I’d love to be a part of that - and would still more than willingly pay for the public release!

I know Apple locks down their CarPlay apps to only massively popular and desired third party stuff (for now) but to have this on CarPlay *someday* would be incredible. (If this app shapes up to be what we all want it to be, I’d actually probably JB my device just to make CarPlay happen, cause screw Waze in that case 😂)
 

JaySC

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Awesome update! Thanks for sharing. Regarding the alerts, it would be great to be able to specify the radius criteria on numerous axis. For example 5 miles in front, 0.5 miles behind. This certainly can be an incremental enchantment, don’t want to slow down the momentum you have going!!
Very exciting news!
Definitely will be an incremental upgrade but worthy of a setting for sure. I'm planning on starting it out to only play alerts for notifications that are within a certain distance and number of degrees off your heading (that is, it's reasonably "in front" of you). Considered doing only while you're moving, but I think many would prefer to know whether they've stopped for a moment or not (stop light, pulled over for directions, etc.). This could be a setting. Still considering whether or not to only alert for same-street notifications, but I think with a reasonably close distance setting this probably isn't necessary. I feel like most will want to know about close-by threats even if not on their current street of travel.

Got an audio police alert created and working. Next step is to add the logic to make it play at the right time, mute/dismiss, etc.
Awesome! Thanks so much for taking on this project! As an iOS user, I'm very grateful. :)
Whoa, celebrity recognition really adds the pressure! Looking forward to getting it out there for all of us!
Post automatically merged:

So excited to see this happening!! Once you get to the point for beta testing via TestFlight, I’d love to be a part of that - and would still more than willingly pay for the public release!

I know Apple locks down their CarPlay apps to only massively popular and desired third party stuff (for now) but to have this on CarPlay *someday* would be incredible. (If this app shapes up to be what we all want it to be, I’d actually probably JB my device just to make CarPlay happen, cause screw Waze in that case 😂)
Appreciate the offer!

I've thought a lot about how great CarPlay would be for this as well, as I use it regularly. Apple has started loosening CarPlay "entitlements" a bit but I'm still not sure that I'd get one because they specifically limit it to navigation apps, which this is not. Might be worth a shot once we get to that point, though. I can't even build that functionality just for myself in a beta version of the app since the entitlement is required to load the app on any CarPlay hardware.
 
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Vancity23

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So excited to see this happening!! Once you get to the point for beta testing via TestFlight, I’d love to be a part of that - and would still more than willingly pay for the public release!

I know Apple locks down their CarPlay apps to only massively popular and desired third party stuff (for now) but to have this on CarPlay *someday* would be incredible. (If this app shapes up to be what we all want it to be, I’d actually probably JB my device just to make CarPlay happen, cause screw Waze in that case 😂)
They also disable some features, my Waze in carplay does not have all the features the app itself offers....
 

JaySC

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Coming along nicely. Audio alerts are now working for all police alerts within a set distance (currently hard-coded to one mile). Red "MUTE" button comes on screen when the audio plays and goes away once tapped to mute the alert. This action mutes all police alerts currently inside of that 1 mile radius (until/unless they drop outside the radius and come back in).

I have a couple optimizations to make, but the basics of the police alert functionality are all in place. I'm thinking that the next step is to get the current speed limit display working.

Thinking that once speed limit is done it might be about time to load it up in the car a few times and do some real-world testing before moving on to the next feature set (aircraft alerts).
Post automatically merged:

Also worth mentioning that I was going to upload a video showing the app loading up and alerting on a nearby threat w/ the pin displayed on the map, but the simulator is SUPER slow when zooming in/out so it's almost not worth doing. Might wait until I get it loaded up on a real device where I can make a better video.
 
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spanky

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Huge thank you for the time and effort you are putting into this.
 

JaySC

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Appreciate the support and thanks! I've hit a bit of a snag in trying to test locally (on-device). iOS version on my phone is too new for my version of Xcode, so have to update Xcode... which requires me to update macOS... which requires me to turn off FileVault... but it's not turning off. Trying to force it to decrypt, but there's still a chance FileVault will not recognize the change and I'll be stuck. Can update again if I have further problems, but for now I'll need to switch back to just building the app.

[email protected] shared his speed limit solution with me and it's great but a bit more involved than anticipated, so this part of the development may take a while. Don't expect an update for a week or so.

Great work thank you. Are you able to share any screen shots?
I can, although that was the purpose of the video. The screenshots aren't going to look any different than the ones in the prior thread, with the addition of the mute button. Nothing too exciting. Pins were out of view for this one; set audio alert to one-mile radius. Outline of the button looks a little odd because this is a screen shot of the screen video.

Screen Shot 2021-02-17 at 1.32.54 AM.png
 

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