Monday, April 2, 2012

Location Based Reminders in MLO-Android

As you know we recently released MyLifeOrganized for Android. Thanks to all who stayed with us during the beta period and helped us to introduce really great and solid task management product! Your feedbacks and comments were really helpful. We are looking forward to receiving more suggestions from you for further improving MyLifeOrganized application.

Now I would like to say a few words about one new feature we’ve added to MLO-Android in this release. It is about Location-based reminders. Also I have to explain why this new MLO feature is smart and why it is not just “yet another simple location based reminder” like those available on Play Store.

To enable location based reminders in MLO you will need to do the following three easy steps:

1. Create a context and assign GPS location for this context;
2. Set option "Notify when I arrive" for this context;
3. Assign this context to a task you would like to be alerted about;

Now once you are in the specified location MLO will play the alert about this task (if the Location Monitoring enabled in MLO settings). Below are three important things you need to remember:

1) MLO will remind you only about Active Actions
It means that if, for example, you set the start date for the task in the future or if your task still depends on other open tasks in your list, or if the assigned context is closed now – the task is not an ‘Active Action’ and you will not get a reminder when you are at the specified location. This will help you to receive alerts only about task which are really ready for your attention. The list of all conditions considered to identify the task as an ‘Active Action’ provided in the help for MLO-Windows.

2) Monitoring schedule to save battery of your device
The Location monitoring is a battery consuming operation for all devices. To help you save your battery, MLO can start and stop monitoring with a custom schedule. When monitoring is disabled due to schedule the battery is not consumed by this MLO function. You can configure your personal schedule for each day of the week when you usually moving around your key locations so that MLO monitors the location-based reminders only during this time. You can also disable this functionality completely in MLO settings.

3) Set different radiuses for contexts to tune the alerts distance.
In MLO each context location has the radius property. The location based alert will be shown when your current location identified inside the radius of a context. The default radius for the new context is 100 meters. So you will see the alert for the active tasks only when you are 100 meters near it (considering the precision used by your device to get the location). Adjust the radius of different contexts to better suit your needs in different situations.
For example you may want to get all alerts about things to do in the other city when you have a trip to it. Just set the radius for all contexts in that city to 10-30 km and you will get alerts about all tasks in this city when you arrive to it.

You can see your tasks on a map in MLO.  Just click Menu->Map in the NearBy view. When you see your NearBy view on the map you can tap a pin to see the Active Actions associated with it. On the map you can also notice three types of circles (radiuses) used in MLO for location based functionality. Let’s explain how they are used.
a) The Context radius used to get alerts when your current location is inside this radius (as explained above). This circle has green colour around a context (default 100 meters).
b) The NearBy radius configured in MLO settings and used to include tasks to NearBy view (default 30 km). This circle is transparent grey. When context with its radius included into NearBy radius the tasks are included to NearBy view and the context pin is highlighted.
c) The Location precision circle shows the precision used by the device to identify your location. The colour of this circle is blue. The precision depends on the method used to get your location by the system (Cell/WiFi or GPS) and current conditions. It may be several meters or kilometres.

So to summarize the usage of different radiuses in NearBy functionality:
1. The contexts will be included to NearBy view if context’s radius (a) included to NearBy radius (b).
2. You will get an alert when your location precision radius (c) included to the context radius (a).

Please let us know in the comments your thoughts on this new functionality in MLO-Android.


UPDATED: 7/23/11 - added a screenshot for Nearby map


  1. Great point about setting the monitoring schedules! I was a bit worried for my already not-so-great battery performance, but have now set custom monitoring periods that should get me through the day.

    I added a couple of 10 minute monitoring windows at the start and end of each day, so I can be sure to get a reminder in the right location without having the monitoring constantly on.

    Thanks for a great product!

  2. I think that it is good feature.

  3. I am so afraid this is too complicated for me to use even though it may be the ONE perfect program to get my life organized.
    I am just narrowing down what program I should BUY as a long time program to help me get my disabled life at least simplified somewhat.
    I am now phasing out the Windows computers in our life and do not know exactly what works with Droid, Apple, Windows so on & so forth.
    Thank you for all your hard work. It just blows my mind how so many people like you figure these things out.

  4. luvtolive, you don't have to use all the features of MLO if you don't want to. I didn't when I started using it. I started discovering features as I went and have found it more useful over time. Just a thought.

  5. I love the fact that MLO for Android has location based alerts, and the fact that I can set the accuracy level of each location (I can be more precise about "Home" than I can about the entire shopping centre in my local town), BUT ...

    Given the battery implications of using GPS for location-based alerts, is there any reason why MLO can't use coarse location (i.e. letting Android work it out using WiFi/Cell tower triangulation)? After all, Google Maps and RTM's mobile app are both perfectly capable of locating me (albeit to less accuracy) without using GPS at all, if I want them to.

    Of course I can reduce the impact by narrowing down some locations to certain times of the day and week, but surely the whole point of location-based alerts is that they're NOT time-based?

  6. Using version 4.0 and really liking it (after a year and a half of playing the rest of the GTD app field) but have one question:

    What formats are accepted for "Location-based" alerts?

    I've tried using "standard" latitude and longitude formats but MLO doesn't seem to like them.


    1. I use the phone app to create the location-- the phone app will let me tap the place on a map, and it will set the details for the desktop app.

      Unfortunately, location-based alerting is not working for me-- something I have to solve.