Spot It! – for Android™

Spot It! home Screen Image
Spot It! Home Screen

The Spot It! application for mobile Android™ powered devices is an app designed to help you find your way back to a specific geographical location.

Did you ever find yourself trying to return to a location such as the place you parked your vehicle in a large mall parking lot?  How about that new fishing hole you discovered the day before, or the tailgate party outside the football stadium?

I came up with the idea for this lightweight and simple app because I need help returning to a location quite often.  I just wish I had written the app several years ago!


The Spot It! application has two major functions represented by the two large buttons on the home screen.  Mark and Spot.

Mark Screen
The Mark location mapping screen using the normal view by Google Maps.

Mark – allows you to view a map which shows your current location represented by a blue dot.  Should you be moving or traveling some distance, the map will update every few seconds according to your new location and orientation.  The blue dot will change to an arrow if you are traveling and point in the direction you are moving.

When you want to save the current location so you can return later, Just tap the SAVE IT button in the application title bar and the location is saved  along with the boundary size of a virtual fence around the location.

Spot – helps you to find your way back to the location you saved before using the Mark screen.  The screen once again shows your location as a blue dot (or blue arrow if you are moving) on a Google Map and a red pin indicating the location you want to return to.

Navigate back to a saved location.
Find and navigate to a saved location using a normal map view.

A straight red line connects your current location and the target you want to return to.  Note the circle around the red pin.  This is the virtual fence which surrounds the target location.  A notification is sent to the notification bar when you either enter or exit the virtual fence.  The size of the fence may be set in the Settings Dialog before you save the location as an aid to give notice when you are close to the location.

You generally will want to line up the straight red line towards the top of the screen and move in that direction when navigating back to the location.

Spot screen using a hybrid map view.
Use a combined layer of satellite images and standard map elements to find your way back to a saved location.

This works well when there are few obstructions in the way to the target.  You will have to use the map and some common sense to avoid running into obstacles.

Why a straight line instead of a street routing line  Well, that doesn’t apply very well when boating across the lake or bay to your favorite fishing spot.  I do some  my work in photography on large tracts of open country where there are no roads and a straight line works just fine to help me travel along in the right direction.  When I am in rough country,  I will use the Terrain map view avoid difficult areas to navigate.

Settings Dialog Image
Set your preferences for your favorite mapping layer and the size of a virtual fence surrounding the target location.

Four map view options are available to help you verify your current location in the Mark screen and navigate back to a saved location using the Spot screen. These options are available in the Settings menu on your mobile device button or on the screen.

This screen will also let you set the default virtual fence radius when you need to be alerted via device notification as you get within range of a marked location.  A notification is also generated when you exit the virtual fence.  I tend to change the setting while using the Mark screen depending on whether I will be walking or driving back to the location.

Navigation Menu Image
The application features a navigation drawer which can be opened from the action bar.

Spot It! complies with all the latest Android application UI design features for ease of use and content. Use the Navigation Drawer (available from the main or Spot It! screen) in order to access all areas of the application.

Spot It! was developed for my own personal needs working as a photographer, naturalist, hunter and guide. The Spot It! mobile application is most valuable to me especially when I am working in rural locations where cell phone service is available but roads and streets may not exist.

Spot It! uses the GPS, orientation and motion sensors in mobile devices to determine your current location and movement. Depending on your location, Spot It! will require a mobile data connection when a WiFi connection is not available  to retrieve mapping information from the Internet.

Spot It! also has the potential to impact a data limit imposed by your wireless Internet provider and put more strain on your battery depending on how the application useful to you.

I am interested in receiving some feedback about your use of Spot It! Tell me what make and model of mobile device you have it installed on if you are having problems.  Otherwise, let me know how you are using it!

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