Sophisticated background and foreground geolocation plugin for Cordova 3+. Tracks user when app is running in background.
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README.md

cordova-plugin-mauron85-background-geolocation

Description

Cross-platform geolocation for Cordova / PhoneGap with battery-saving "circular region monitoring" and "stop detection".

Plugin can be used for geolocation when app is running in foreground or background. It is more battery and data efficient than html5 geolocation or cordova-geolocation plugin. It can be used side by side with other geolocation providers (eg. html5 navigator.geolocation).

On Android you can choose from two location location providers:

See Which provider should I use? for more information about providers.

Example Application

Checkout repository cordova-plugin-background-geolocation-example.

Submitting issues

All new issues should follow instructions in ISSUE_TEMPLATE.md. Properly filled issue report will significantly reduce number of follow up questions and decrease issue resolving time. Most issues cannot be resolved without debug logs. Please try to isolate debug lines related to your issue. Instructions how to prepare debug logs can be found in section Debugging. If you're reporting app crash, debug logs might not contain all needed informations about the cause of the crash. In that case, also provide relevant parts of output of adb logcat command.

Semantic Versioning

This plugin is following semantic versioning as defined http://semver.org

Migration to 2.0

As version 2.0 platform support for Windows Phone 8 was removed. Some incompatible changes were introduced:

  • option stopOnTerminate defaults to true
  • option locationService renamed to locationProvider
  • android providers are now ANDROID_DISTANCE_FILTER_PROVIDER and ANDROID_ACTIVITY_PROVIDER
  • removed locationTimeout option (use interval in milliseconds instead)
  • notificationIcon was replaced with two separate options (notificationIconSmall and notificationIconLarge)
  • js object backgroundGeoLocation is deprecated use backgroundGeolocation instead
  • iOS foreground mode witch automatic background mode switch
  • iOS switchMode allows to switch between foreground and background mode
  • setPace on iOS is deprecated use switchMode instead

Installing the plugin

cordova plugin add cordova-plugin-mauron85-background-geolocation

Default iOS location permission prompt can be changed in your config.xml:

<plugin name="cordova-plugin-mauron85-background-geolocation" spec="^2.2.0">
    <variable name="ALWAYS_USAGE_DESCRIPTION" value="This app requires background tracking enabled" />
</plugin>

Registering plugin for Adobe® PhoneGap™ Build

This plugin should work with Adobe® PhoneGap™ Build without any modification. To register plugin add following line into your config.xml:

<plugin name="cordova-plugin-mauron85-background-geolocation" spec="^2.2.0"/>

NOTE: If you're using hydration, you have to download and reinstall your app with every new version of the plugin, as plugins are not updated.

Compilation

Android

You will need to ensure that you have installed the following items through the Android SDK Manager:

Name Version
Android SDK Tools 24.4.1
Android SDK Platform-tools 23.1
Android SDK Build-tools 23.0.1
Android Support Repository 25
Android Support Library 23.1.1
Google Play Services 29
Google Repository 24

Backwards Compatibility

Please note that as of Cordova Android 6.0.0 icons are by default in mipmap/ directory not drawable/ directory, so this plugin will have a build issue on < 6.0.0 Cordova builds, you will need to update Authenticator.xml to drawable directory from mipmap directory to work on older versions.

Quick Example

document.addEventListener('deviceready', onDeviceReady, false);

function onDeviceReady () {

    /**
    * This callback will be executed every time a geolocation is recorded in the background.
    */
    var callbackFn = function(location) {
        console.log('[js] BackgroundGeolocation callback:  ' + location.latitude + ',' + location.longitude);

        // Do your HTTP request here to POST location to your server.
        // jQuery.post(url, JSON.stringify(location));

        /*
        IMPORTANT:  You must execute the finish method here to inform the native plugin that you're finished,
        and the background-task may be completed.  You must do this regardless if your HTTP request is successful or not.
        IF YOU DON'T, ios will CRASH YOUR APP for spending too much time in the background.
        */
        backgroundGeolocation.finish();
    };

    var failureFn = function(error) {
        console.log('BackgroundGeolocation error');
    };

    // BackgroundGeolocation is highly configurable. See platform specific configuration options
    backgroundGeolocation.configure(callbackFn, failureFn, {
        desiredAccuracy: 10,
        stationaryRadius: 20,
        distanceFilter: 30,
        interval: 60000
    });

    // Turn ON the background-geolocation system.  The user will be tracked whenever they suspend the app.
    backgroundGeolocation.start();

    // If you wish to turn OFF background-tracking, call the #stop method.
    // backgroundGeolocation.stop();
}

API

configure(success, fail, options)

Parameter Type Platform Description
success Function all Callback to be executed every time a geolocation is recorded in the background.
fail Function all Callback to be executed every time a geolocation error occurs.
options JSON Object all Configure options

Configure options:

Parameter Type Platform Description
desiredAccuracy Number all Desired accuracy in meters. Possible values [0, 10, 100, 1000]. The lower the number, the more power devoted to GeoLocation resulting in higher accuracy readings. 1000 results in lowest power drain and least accurate readings. @see Apple docs
stationaryRadius Number all Stationary radius in meters. When stopped, the minimum distance the device must move beyond the stationary location for aggressive background-tracking to engage.
debug Boolean all When enabled, the plugin will emit sounds for life-cycle events of background-geolocation! See debugging sounds table.
distanceFilter Number all The minimum distance (measured in meters) a device must move horizontally before an update event is generated. @see Apple docs.
stopOnTerminate Boolean all Enable this in order to force a stop() when the application terminated (e.g. on iOS, double-tap home button, swipe away the app). (default true)
startOnBoot Boolean Android Start background service on device boot. (default false)
startForeground Boolean Android If false location service will not be started in foreground and no notification will be shown. (default true)
interval Number Android The minimum time interval between location updates in milliseconds. @see [Android docs](http://developer.android.com/reference/android/location/LocationManager.html#requestLocationUpdates(long,%20float,%20android.location.Criteria,%20android.app.PendingIntent) for more information.
notificationTitle String optional Android Custom notification title in the drawer.
notificationText String optional Android Custom notification text in the drawer.
notificationIconColor String optional Android The accent color to use for notification. Eg. #4CAF50.
notificationIconLarge String optional Android The filename of a custom notification icon. See android quirks.
notificationIconSmall String optional Android The filename of a custom notification icon. See android quirks.
locationProvider Number Android Set location provider @see PROVIDERS.md
activityType String iOS [AutomotiveNavigation, OtherNavigation, Fitness, Other] Presumably, this affects iOS GPS algorithm. @see Apple docs for more information
pauseLocationUpdates Boolean iOS Pauses location updates when app is paused (default: true)
url String all Server url where to send HTTP POST with recorded locations @see HTTP locations posting
syncUrl String all Server url where to send fail to post locations @see HTTP locations posting
syncThreshold Number all Specifies how many previously failed locations will be sent to server at once (default: 100)
httpHeaders Object all Optional HTTP headers sent along in HTTP request
saveBatteryOnBackground Boolean iOS Switch to less accurate significant changes and region monitory when in background (default)
maxLocations Number all Limit maximum number of locations stored into db (default: 10000)

Following options are specific to provider as defined by locationProvider option

ANDROID_ACTIVITY_PROVIDER provider options

Parameter Type Platform Description
interval Number Android Rate in milliseconds at which your app prefers to receive location updates. @see android docs
fastestInterval Number Android Fastest rate in milliseconds at which your app can handle location updates. @see android docs.
activitiesInterval Number Android Rate in milliseconds at which activity recognition occurs. Larger values will result in fewer activity detections while improving battery life.
stopOnStillActivity Boolean Android stop() is forced, when the STILL activity is detected (default is true)

Success callback will be called with one argument - location object, which tries to mimic w3c Coordinates interface.

Callback parameter Type Description
locationId Number ID of location as stored in DB (or null)
provider String gps, network, passive or fused
locationProvider Number Location provider
debug Boolean true if location recorded as part of debug
time Number UTC time of this fix, in milliseconds since January 1, 1970.
latitude Number latitude, in degrees.
longitude Number longitude, in degrees.
accuracy Number estimated accuracy of this location, in meters.
speed Number speed if it is available, in meters/second over ground.
altitude Number altitude if available, in meters above the WGS 84 reference ellipsoid.
bearing Number bearing, in degrees.

start()

Platform: iOS, Android

Start background geolocation.

stop()

Platform: iOS, Android

Stop background geolocation.

isLocationEnabled(success, fail)

Platform: iOS, Android

One time check for status of location services. In case of error, fail callback will be executed.

Success callback parameter Type Description
enabled Boolean true/false (true when location services are enabled)

showAppSettings()

Platform: Android >= 6, iOS >= 8.0

Show app settings to allow change of app location permissions.

showLocationSettings()

Platform: iOS < 10.0, Android

Show system settings to allow configuration of current location sources.

watchLocationMode(success, fail)

Platform: iOS, Android

Method can be used to detect user changes in location services settings. If user enable or disable location services then success callback will be executed. In case or error (SettingNotFoundException) fail callback will be executed.

Success callback parameter Type Description
enabled Boolean true/false (true when location services are enabled)

stopWatchingLocationMode()

Platform: iOS, Android

Stop watching for location mode changes.

getLocations(success, fail)

Platform: iOS, Android

Method will return all stored locations. This method is useful for initial rendering of user location on a map just after application launch. NOTE: Returned locations does not contain locationId.

Success callback parameter Type Description
locations Array collection of stored locations
backgroundGeolocation.getLocations(
  function (locations) {
    console.log(locations);
  }
);

getValidLocations(success, fail)

Platform: iOS, Android

Method will return locations, which has not been yet posted to server. NOTE: Locations does contain locationId.

Success callback parameter Type Description
locations Array collection of stored locations

deleteLocation(locationId, success, fail)

Platform: iOS, Android

Delete location with locationId.

Note: Locations are not actually deleted from database to avoid gaps in locationId numbering. Instead locations are marked as deleted. Locations marked as deleted will not appear in output of backgroundGeolocation.getLocations.

deleteAllLocations(success, fail)

Note: You don't need to delete all locations. Plugin manages number of locations automatically and location count never exceeds number as defined by option.maxLocations.

Platform: iOS, Android

Delete all stored locations.

switchMode(modeId, success, fail)

Platform: iOS

Normally plugin will handle switching between BACKGROUND and FOREGROUND mode itself. Calling switchMode you can override plugin behavior and force plugin to switch into other mode.

In FOREGROUND mode plugin uses iOS local manager to receive locations and behavior is affected by option.desiredAccuracy and option.distanceFilter.

In BACKGROUND mode plugin uses significant changes and region monitoring to receive locations and uses option.stationaryRadius only.

// switch to FOREGROUND mode
backgroundGeolocation.switchMode(backgroundGeolocation.mode.FOREGROUND);

// switch to BACKGROUND mode
backgroundGeolocation.switchMode(backgroundGeolocation.mode.BACKGROUND);

getLogEntries(limit, success, fail)

Platform: iOS, Android

Return all logged events. Useful for plugin debugging. Parameter limit limits number of returned entries. @see Debugging for more information.

Real world example

backgroundGeolocation.configure(callbackFn, failureFn, {
    desiredAccuracy: 10,
    stationaryRadius: 20,
    distanceFilter: 30,
    url: 'http://192.168.81.15:3000/locations',
    httpHeaders: { 'X-FOO': 'bar' },
    maxLocations: 1000,
    // Android only section
    locationProvider: backgroundGeolocation.provider.ANDROID_ACTIVITY_PROVIDER,
    interval: 60000,
    fastestInterval: 5000,
    activitiesInterval: 10000,
    notificationTitle: 'Background tracking',
    notificationText: 'enabled',
    notificationIconColor: '#FEDD1E',
    notificationIconLarge: 'mappointer_large',
    notificationIconSmall: 'mappointer_small'
});

backgroundGeolocation.watchLocationMode(
  function (enabled) {
    if (enabled) {
      // location service are now enabled
      // call backgroundGeolocation.start
      // only if user already has expressed intent to start service
    } else {
      // location service are now disabled or we don't have permission
      // time to change UI to reflect that
    }
  },
  function (error) {
    console.log('Error watching location mode. Error:' + error);
  }
);

backgroundGeolocation.isLocationEnabled(function (enabled) {
  if (enabled) {
    backgroundGeolocation.start(
      function () {
        // service started successfully
        // you should adjust your app UI for example change switch element to indicate
        // that service is running
      },
      function (error) {
        // Tracking has not started because of error
        // you should adjust your app UI for example change switch element to indicate
        // that service is not running
        if (error.code === 2) {
          if (window.confirm('Not authorized for location updates. Would you like to open app settings?')) {
            backgroundGeolocation.showAppSettings();
          }
        } else {
          window.alert('Start failed: ' + error.message);  
        }
      }
    );
  } else {
    // Location services are disabled
    if (window.confirm('Location is disabled. Would you like to open location settings?')) {
      backgroundGeolocation.showLocationSettings();
    }
  }
});

HTTP locations posting

All locations updates are recorded in local db at all times. When App is in foreground or background in addition to storing location in local db, location callback function is triggered. Number of location stored in db is limited by option.maxLocations a never exceeds this number. Instead old locations are replaced by new ones.

When option.url is defined, each location is also immediately posted to url defined by option.url. If post is successful, the location is marked as deleted in local db. All failed to post locations will be coalesced and send in some time later in one single batch. Batch sync takes place only when number of failed to post locations reaches option.syncThreshold. Optionally different url for batch sync can be defined by option.syncUrl. If option.syncUrl is not set then option.url will be used instead.

When only option.syncUrl is defined. Locations are send only in single batch, when number of locations reaches option.syncThreshold. (No individual location will be send)

Request body of posted locations is always array, even when only one location is sent.

Warning: option.maxLocations has to be larger than option.syncThreshold. It's recommended to be 2x larger. In other case location syncing might not work properly.

Example of express (nodejs) server

var express    = require('express');
var bodyParser = require('body-parser');

var app = express();

// parse application/json
app.use(bodyParser.json({ type : '*/*' })); // force json

app.post('/locations', function(request, response){
    console.log('Headers:\n', request.headers);
    console.log('Body:\n', request.body);
    console.log('------------------------------');
    response.sendStatus(200);
});

app.listen(3000);
console.log('Server started...');

Quirks

iOS

On iOS the plugin will execute your configured callbackFn. You may manually POST the received Geolocation to your server using standard XHR. The plugin uses iOS Significant Changes API, and starts triggering callbackFn only when a cell-tower switch is detected (i.e. the device exits stationary radius). The function changePace(isMoving, success, failure) is provided to force the plugin to enter "moving" or "stationary" state.

stationaryRadius

Since the plugin uses iOS significant-changes API, the plugin cannot detect the exact moment the device moves out of the stationary-radius. In normal conditions, it can take as much as 3 city-blocks to 1/2 km before stationary-region exit is detected.

Android

On Android devices it is recommended to have a notification in the drawer (option startForeground:true). This gives plugin location service higher priority, decreasing probability of OS killing it. Check wiki for explanation.

Custom ROMs

Plugin should work with custom ROMS at least ANDROID_DISTANCE_FILTER_PROVIDER. But ANDROID_ACTIVITY_PROVIDER provider depends on Google Play Services. Usually ROMs don't include Google Play Services libraries. Strange bugs may occur, like no GPS locations (only from network and passive) and other. When posting issue report, please mention that you're using custom ROM.

Multidex

Note: Following section was kindly copied from phonegap-plugin-push. Visit link for resolving issue with facebook plugin.

If you have an issue compiling the app and you're getting an error similar to this (com.android.dex.DexException: Multiple dex files define):

UNEXPECTED TOP-LEVEL EXCEPTION:
com.android.dex.DexException: Multiple dex files define Landroid/support/annotation/AnimRes;
    at com.android.dx.merge.DexMerger.readSortableTypes(DexMerger.java:596)
    at com.android.dx.merge.DexMerger.getSortedTypes(DexMerger.java:554)
    at com.android.dx.merge.DexMerger.mergeClassDefs(DexMerger.java:535)
    at com.android.dx.merge.DexMerger.mergeDexes(DexMerger.java:171)
    at com.android.dx.merge.DexMerger.merge(DexMerger.java:189)
    at com.android.dx.command.dexer.Main.mergeLibraryDexBuffers(Main.java:502)
    at com.android.dx.command.dexer.Main.runMonoDex(Main.java:334)
    at com.android.dx.command.dexer.Main.run(Main.java:277)
    at com.android.dx.command.dexer.Main.main(Main.java:245)
    at com.android.dx.command.Main.main(Main.java:106)

Then at least one other plugin you have installed is using an outdated way to declare dependencies such as android-support or play-services-gcm. This causes gradle to fail, and you'll need to identify which plugin is causing it and request an update to the plugin author, so that it uses the proper way to declare dependencies for cordova. See this for the reference on the cordova plugin specification, it'll be usefull to mention it when creating an issue or requesting that plugin to be updated.

Common plugins to suffer from this outdated dependency management are plugins related to facebook, google+, notifications, crosswalk and google maps.

Android Permissions

Android 6.0 "Marshmallow" introduced a new permissions model where the user can turn on and off permissions as necessary. When user disallow location access permissions, error configure callback will be called with error code: 2.

Notification icons

NOTE: Only available for API Level >=21.

To use custom notification icons, you need to put icons into res/drawable directory of your app. You can automate the process as part of after_platform_add hook configured via config.xml. Check config.xml and scripts/res_android.js of example app for reference.

With Adobe® PhoneGap™ Build icons must be placed into locales/android/drawable dir at the root of your project. For more information go to how-to-add-native-image-with-phonegap-build.

Intel XDK

Plugin will not work in XDK emulator ('Unimplemented API Emulation: BackgroundGeolocation.start' in emulator). But will work on real device.

Debugging

Plugin logs all activity into database. Logs are retained for 7 days. You can attach your device to the computer and print logs to console.

  • For iOS open Safari and select from menu DevelopYour Device name
  • For Android launch Chrome about:inspect

Copy paste following snippet into your browser console:

function padLeft(nr, n, str) {
  return Array(n - String(nr).length + 1).join(str || '0') + nr;
}

function printLogs(logEntries, logFormatter, COLORS, MAX_LINES) {
  MAX_LINES = MAX_LINES || 100; // maximum lines to print per batch
  var batch = Math.ceil(logEntries.length / MAX_LINES);
  var logLines = Array(MAX_LINES); //preallocate memory prevents GC
  var logLinesColor = Array(MAX_LINES * 2);
  for (var i = 0; i < batch; i++) {
    var it = 0;
    var logEntriesPart = logEntries.slice((i * MAX_LINES), (i + 1) * MAX_LINES);
    for (var j = 0; j < logEntriesPart.length; j++) {
      var logEntry = logEntriesPart[j];
      logLines[j] = logFormatter(logEntry);
      logLinesColor[it++] = ('background:white;color:black');
      logLinesColor[it++] = (COLORS[logEntry.level]);      
    }
    if (logEntriesPart.length < MAX_LINES) {
      console.log.apply(console, [logLines.slice(0,logEntriesPart.length).join('\n')]
        .concat(logLinesColor.slice(0,logEntriesPart.length*2)));
    } else {
      console.log.apply(console, [logLines.join('\n')].concat(logLinesColor));
    }
  }
}

function printAndroidLogs(logEntries) {
  var COLORS = Object();
  COLORS['ERROR'] = 'background:white;color:red';
  COLORS['WARN'] = 'background:black;color:yellow';
  COLORS['INFO'] = 'background:white;color:blue';
  COLORS['TRACE'] = 'background:white;color:black';
  COLORS['DEBUG'] = 'background:white;color:black';

  var logFormatter = function(logEntry) {
    var d = new Date(logEntry.timestamp);
    var dateStr = [d.getFullYear(), padLeft(d.getMonth()+1,2), padLeft(d.getDate(),2)].join('/');
    var timeStr = [padLeft(d.getHours(),2), padLeft(d.getMinutes(),2), padLeft(d.getSeconds(),2)].join(':');
    return ['%c[', dateStr, ' ', timeStr, '] %c', logEntry.logger, ':', logEntry.message].join('');
  }

  return printLogs(logEntries, logFormatter, COLORS);
}

function printIosLogs(logEntries) {
  var COLORS = Array();
  COLORS[1] = 'background:white;color:red';
  COLORS[2] = 'background:black;color:yellow';
  COLORS[4] = 'background:white;color:blue';
  COLORS[8] = 'background:white;color:black';
  COLORS[16] = 'background:white;color:black';

  var logFormatter = function(logEntry) {
    var d = new Date(logEntry.timestamp * 1000);
    var dateStr = [d.getFullYear(), padLeft(d.getMonth()+1,2), padLeft(d.getDate(),2)].join('/');
    var timeStr = [padLeft(d.getHours(),2), padLeft(d.getMinutes(),2), padLeft(d.getSeconds(),2)].join(':');
    return ['%c[', dateStr, ' ', timeStr, '] %c', logEntry.logger, ':', logEntry.message].join('');
  }

  return printLogs(logEntries, logFormatter, COLORS);
}

Print Android logs:

backgroundGeolocation.getLogEntries(100, printAndroidLogs);

Print iOS logs:

backgroundGeolocation.getLogEntries(100, printIosLogs);

Debugging sounds

ios android
Exit stationary region Calendar event notification sound dialtone beep-beep-beep
Geolocation recorded SMS sent sound tt short beep
Aggressive geolocation engaged SIRI listening sound
Passive geolocation engaged SIRI stop listening sound
Acquiring stationary location sound "tick,tick,tick" sound
Stationary location acquired sound "bloom" sound long tt beep

NOTE: For iOS in addition, you must manually enable the Audio and Airplay background mode in Background Capabilities to hear these debugging sounds.

Geofencing

There is nice cordova plugin cordova-plugin-geofence, which does exactly that. Let's keep this plugin lightweight as much as possible.

Changelog

See CHANGES.md

Licence

Apache License

Copyright (c) 2013 Christopher Scott, Transistor Software

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the "Software"), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED "AS IS", WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.