End of year 2021 Mapeo update: what's new, and what's next

By 
Ximena Becerra
Category 
November 30, 2021

As we wrap up 2021, we are excited to share the latest Mapeo update as well as a sneak peek at a few features coming up in 2022! 

🚀 WHAT’S NEW 🚀

EXPERIMENTAL FEATURE

P2P Upgrade (Peer to peer upgrade) :

  • Why P2P upgrade?  As Mapeo evolves and grows, and based on the valuable input and experiences shared by local partners, such as members of the indigenous organization PUINAMUDT, we recognized the need for users to update to the latest version of Mapeo even in the most remote locations.
  • One of the biggest challenges our partners in Northern Peru face is limited access to the internet. For many community monitors who are members of PUINAMUDT, access to the internet can be a few hours or even a few days away by boat. The volume of water flowing in the windy rivers as well as the variable water levels and conditions means motors are required to navigate the different boats available. Boats require maintenance, skilled operators and fuel. And in the same areas where oil has been extracted for 50 years, the price of gas is higher than in the rest of the country. Sending individual monitors to their nearest internet access point to get the latest Mapeo updates is simply not an accessible solution.
  • P2P upgrades from within Mapeo will help make sure monitors in remote areas eventually get the features they have requested by relying on local organizations for synchronizing Mapeo data. 
  • What does it do? With P2P upgrade, you can update your copy of Mapeo from another Mapeo user without needing to be online. When you sync with someone on a newer version of Mapeo, you will have the option to upgrade.
  • This is an experimental feature, which means it might not work as intended, but it should not break anything. To test it out, you can opt-in through the app's Settings under the Experiments button.
  • When you have the P2P upgrade experiment activated, and you synchronize with another user who also has it activated, you will see on the sync screen a dark blue bar indicating that Mapeo is checking for updates.
  • We are excited to release this first version of P2P Upgrade as we believe it's an essential step in long term technical sustainability for any Mapeo user who is out mapping and monitoring in the field. We look forward to improving it in the year to come!

"The Open Development Initiative has been happily testing out the experimental feature using DWeb-Decentralized Web technologies to receive upgrades offline from other Mapeo clients. We can see that it would support grassroots communities in the Mekong Region who often have limited or no access to internet"

- Open Development Initiative, Southeast Asia

NEW FEATURES

  • On mobile, Custom coordinate formats: choose the format to enter and display coordinates from the settings screen. Currently supported formats: UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator); DD (Decimal Degrees); DMS (Degrees, Minutes, Seconds).
  • On desktop, New report layout, with embedded maps for each observation and export direct to PDF (as opposed to "print to PDF”.).
User views their report and clicks on "Save PDF"
User clicks on "Save PDF" and can automatically save the PDF to their computer
  • Mapeo will now notify you if there's a new version and update itself whenever you're ready! Auto-update notifier and downloader that lets the user know when an update is available and can choose to download and install it from within the app. 
  • Labels in Project Configuration. Mapeo configurations now allow the label field, which allows you to change the presentation of fields without changing historical values.
  • See Project Configuration during Sync. Now in the Sync screen, you can see the current configuration's version and name as well as the first 5 characters of the project key.

🚀 WHAT’S NEXT 🚀

As we continue to co-design technology with indigenous partners, we’ve been working hard on building features that will help users easily document, monitor and map many types of data with the use of Mapeo. Here are a few ways we want improve Mapeo in 2022;

  • Secure onboarding of new devices:  User feedback for project onboarding identified the increased friction for new users of Mapeo: a user needs to complete several steps to set up a project and invite others before they can start using Mapeo. Our goal is to make it easier for new users to onboard and start collecting human rights data, while meeting the security needs of those users. We plan on improving Mapeo by providing an easy-to-use interface for users to create a new, secure project, and manage who has access to the project. See below a possible workflow when inviting a new device:
  • Device Seizure: As we acknowledge data-privacy is a concern for Mapeo users, we have identified two places where malicious actors could gain access to Mapeo data: eavesdropping network connections and physical access to devices. In 2022, we aim to improve Mapeo’s security in both these areas.
  • Tracks: Many users are currently using Mapeo Mobile as their primary geolocation device for navigating. Local partners have expressed interest in having the ability to record and save their path for future visits. As this is not only a data gathering feature but also a safety feature, we plan on exploring Tracks in order to make Mapeo a more reliable navigation tool. As we gather feedback from Mapeo users in the field, see below a first draft of our design explorations:
User can begin to track their paths by clicking on "Record Tracks"
User can stop recording a track at any moment by clicking on "Stop Tracking"
  • Cover pages and overview maps in PDF Reports, Offline Map Management, Mapeo on iOS ...and more!

Mapeo is an open source software that benefits from continued feedback from our users across the world. 

Suggestions? We would love to hear from you. 

Email us at support@mapeo.app

You can also find us on Discord!

Header photo by rafael albornoz on Unsplash
Published by
Ximena Becerra
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