Fulcrum for Android: The Next Generation

18 April 2013 by Jonathan Baker

When we released the first generation of Fulcrum for Android nearly a year ago, we had no idea that it would quickly become the primary platform for our users. It became clear that our Android client needed to be the best it could in order to enable our users to collect data easily and efficiently. Since its initial debut on July 31st of 2012, we have released 32 updates to the client, adding new features and increasing performance and stability. Today marks a big milestone in that trend.

Introducing Version 2.0

The first thing you may notice in our latest release is that the colors look a little different. In an attempt to unify the Fulcrum experience across all platforms, the Android client has been redesigned to match our new web experience. Additionally, the workflow has been improved to make it easier to collect data across forms and projects.

Selecting an App

Previously, you would select which app to use from the initial list of apps when Fulcrum launched. We have merged the two steps into one, making a more responsive and flexible experience.

App Selection

Simply tap the current app name in the top left corner to get a drop down of all the apps available on the local device. Select a new app and you’re ready to go.

Viewing Records

Map View List View

There are two primary ways to view your records on the device: map and list view. You can now toggle between the two using the action bar icon shown below. Please note that on smaller devices, your action bar may not look quite the same. If the icon described is not visible, tap the “other” icon to show a list of hidden, but available actions.

List View Toggle Action

The list view has been completely revamped and has gained a few new options. To access the list view options, tap the “other” action item and select “List View Options” from the drop down. Note that this option will only be available if you are currently using the list view.

List View Options Action

You can now choose to sort the records by title, status, created, and updated at timestamps. Additionally, you can limit the list view to only show records within the area currently visible in the map view. This is extremely handy for situations where there are several records that are clumped together making it difficult to select the right one on the map view.

List View Options

Record Filtering

One of the biggest new features to come to the Android client is record filtration. You can now use filters to determine which records you want to be visible on either the map or list views. A possible example of this is where you would only want to see records for project “2013 Inventory” with a status of “Needs Inspection”.

Record Filter Action

To access the filter options, select the appropriate icon from the action bar. If you are using a smaller device, this would be located in the other actions menu.

Record Filter

You can select as many or as few filters as you want. Deselecting all filters will show all records. This is a powerful way to increase productivity in the field by showing only the records that matter to you, the data collector, or reviewer.

Multi-Layer Maps

Previously, you were only able to use a single online or offline “base map” at a time. While this was sufficient for most users, it was severely limiting for those who wanted to use semi-transparent layers as an overlay to an existing base map. With Fulcrum for Android 2.0, this is now a possibility.

Transparent Layers

As you can see above, there are two “layers” visible: the online Google aerial layer at the bottom and a semi-transparent parcel data set layer on top. However, it is not limited to just two layers. You can have as many offline layers as you want on top of an online base layer. If you don’t need a Google base layer, just turn it off and save some bandwidth! To configure your layers, select the “Map View Options” action from the other actions menu.

Map View Options Action Map View Options

If you select a layer that hasn’t been downloaded yet, you will be prompted to do so. Need to re-order your layers? Simply use the up and down arrow buttons to get it just right.

Device Agnostic

One thing we have learned from developing for the Android platform is there are thousands of different devices out there. Some are tall and thin, some are short and wide, and some are just plain tiny. That’s why we’ve strived to make this release the most device agnostic it can be. What this means is whether your screen is tiny or your device is sideways (landscape), Fulcrum will be completely functional and look good too.

Onward and Upward

We hope that you find Fulcrum for Android 2.0 to be a great improvement in many ways. Don’t worry though, we’re not stopping here! As always, we appreciate your feedback and requests and will continue to raise the bar even higher when it comes to mobile data collection.

About the author

Jonathan worked as a mobile software developer, handling our Android and iOS applications.

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