Track Echo Help


TrackEcho HELP Documentation

This page is a guide to the app screens, navigation, and usage. We encourage app users to read it, and even print it.

Note that more documentation is available such as INFO (as seen on the device), and a FAQ list. (see links to main documentation at the bottom of this page)

TrackEcho guide to screens and usage


App screens will accomodate to the device attitude (portrait or landscape). They are also responsive to "dark mode".

Except for the map screen, all the app screens are tabular (a vertical list of items). They will normally be rows of buttons, labels or text boxes. Most screen content can be scrolled if needed, but only the map can be zoomed.

The top fixed row of each app screen is a navigation bar (e.g. back and next). The center of that top navigation bar usually has the name of the current screen. This top row sits just below the iPhone system status bar (battery, signal strength etc).

The bottom fixed row of each screen is a set of tabs. These tabs have associated icons, and each tab represents an app function comprising from 2 to 6 screens.

Tapping a bottom row tab will bring you to its function start screen. All start screens have a single button (yellow rectangular, curved corners, labelled). They also have some explanatory text with a light blue background.

Note that explanatory text panels with the light blue background are a feature of many screens, and we hope you find them useful when you are familiarising yourself with our app, and after a while you need hardly notice them.

You navigate through the screens of a function in a fixed order. Navigation within any function is by the top navigation bar, and/or buttons in the screen. When you finish a function you will end up at that function's start screen again. You can also usually move backwards in a function (unless you are actually recording a trip), by tapping the named back arrow in the top navigation bar.

Normally you move through all the screens for a function, However you can interrupt by tapping another tab (eg to look at help screen, or change settings). If you then tap the original tab, you will see the screen you were previously viewing.

Within a function, some buttons or text rows can be tapped, to enter an edit dialog. Editing is 'modal', and the top navigation bar and bottom tab bar are temporarily hidden. When the editing (or similar) is completed, the parent screen and bars will reappear.

Occasionally, an 'alert box' may pop up, such as a warning, with an 'OK' to tap.

Some edits may use a standard iPhone convention of red (-) circles to indicate deletable items.


When TrackEcho is launched for the first time, it is unable to allow any functionality, except to view some help information, until registered with our server.

The first screen is titled WELCOME, and it invites you to enter your primary email. This is needed to identify you. The email address will be sent to the server by the app, and the server will immediately send a simple email back, which contains a special short term "ekey".

You are expected to read this email and enter the emailed key in the app, to verify that the email address is functioning and belongs to you.

When that is done, you are a registered user. You will have access to all app functions while you have your device with the app installed. The first thing you should do is go to the SET function (which actually will be presented first up after successful registration) and customise your app. In particular, you will probably want to define a set of possible "trip observers". See the section below for how to use the SET function.

The whole registration process takes place on the one screen which has two text boxes. Initially only the first is enabled - a keypad shows, so you can enter your email address (make sure you don't have typos in it or you will need to tap QUIT and start again). When you have entered your email, tap 'Done' on the keypad. You will see a "spinner" indicating that the server connection is happening and the app is waiting for completion.

Then the app will show either a warning if there was some strange problem (like a malformed email address or no data conection), but normally an alert suggesting you check your email inbox, as the server will have generated the email with the temporary authorisation key.

Go to your inbox and there will be a "no reply" email from postmaster at, which has the subject "Track Echo authentication key", and the email body shows you an "ekey" value which is six lower case letters. (If you can't see this email after a few minutes, it could be that you entered a wrong email address, or perhaps your mail server classified it wrongly as spam or promotional). After reading the email ekey, you then need to return to our app, and now the second text box will be active. The keypad shows again, so type in those six letters, and then tap 'Done' on the keypad. Once again you will see a "spinner" as the response from the server is obtained over the internet. If you entered the correct letters, you will see an alert pop up to that effect. Just tap 'OK' on the alert, and your one time registration is complete, and you will be able to simply use the app for years to come without having to re-register!


The TRACK function uses the GPS and the cellular connection. The first two screens define the "who, what, where, when" of your intended next trip, including emails of observers.

You tap PREP on the introductory screen to begin this trip definition. This screen shows your trip credit as well, and if it is zero, you will be sent to the SET tab purchase page, so you can buy a recharge.

An observer is someone whose email address you nominate on a trip to receive any trip status emails (observer can simply be yourself).

The next screen contains a button for you to press to START the trip. When pressed, an email is queued for sending to your observers, and a new screen appears, with a STOP button and some other buttons.

This trip control screen persists for the duration of your trip (ie until you press STOP).

The START button, and the buttons on the trip recording control screen, are special. Unlike buttons on other screens, they need a "dit-daah press" rather than a tap to activate. They are protected, by then showing an alert, which needs your confirmation to proceed.

To do a "dit-daah" press on the recording buttons (which have a distinctive border color to hint that they are special), you do a normal SHORT tap on the button, quickly followed by a LONG tap (ie a press, holding) which, after about half a second will be recognized by the app and a confirmation alert will appear when you will usually simply tap 'OK' to proceed. The "dit-daah" press is easy, and does not need any force. The "dit" tap and the following "daah" press do not have to be in exactly the same place, but you should not move your finger when you maintain the "daah" press. By the way, our "dit-daah" word here is inspired by the fact that the flight recording special button gesture is very similar to Morse code dot followed by dash (which is code for the letter 'A'). Another simple way to think of this gesture is that it is a double tap, but with the 2nd tap being held for a short while (until the alert pops up).

The reason for the special press and following confirmation alert is to minimise the chance of accidentally stopping or starting a trip. Such accidental button pressing would send emails to your trip observer(s). This could be embarrassing or misleading, and could lead to the observer treating your emails more casually in future. If you didn't notice an accidental trip START, it would mean that GPS tracking is on, and consuming battery for no purpose. And if you didn't notice an acidental trip STOP, your log and trip map would be truncated, and your observer would probably be puzzled.

We recommend that you lock the screen after starting a trip. You can actually use another app during a trip if you wish. However you must not dismiss our app from the recent app list while a trip is in progress. It is very important that you end your trip by pressing STOP at the appropriate time. To help with this we may send notifications when a critical time has elapsed (this is our only use of such local notifications). If you did "force quit" the app accidentally while on a recorded trip, and you expect your observers to worry if you are late, you should use any means you can to contact them and assure them that you are OK.


Normally there are 5 visible tabs for the 5 main functions: track, set, info, log, map.

Each tab has an icon (plane, cogwheel, bubble, list, globe).

The currently active tab will be highlighted in blue and the others grey.

Tapping any of these will normally take you to a simple introductory screen. this screen will be titled TRACK, SET, INFO, LOG or MAP (tabs from left to right).

These introductory screens will have some explanatory text and a single button.

TRACK has a PREP button - tap to specify and then start your trip.

SET has a CUSTOMISE button - tap to set up common location names, preferences, options etc. Also to buy extra trip credits or purge server data.

INFO has a VIEW HELP button - tap to see a web format page.

LOG has a VIEW LOG button - tap to explore details of past trips.

MAP has a VIEW MAP button - tap to view position or tracks or waypoints etc.

Note that when the app is first launched, there will be NO tabs as you are expected to register your own main email address with the server, before doing anything else.

After successful registration, you will see the TRACK and SET tabs - normally the first thing you would do after registering is tap the SET tab to customise defaults which make it easier to later prepare and start trips.

When you are actively engaged in a trip (ie GPS tracking) only the TRACK and MAP tabs will be visible.

Each tab function has a short series of screens which you use in sequence, navigating to the next (or previous) screen using the top bar of the screen, which normally has a blue '<' on the left (named) to go back, and blue 'Next' on the right to go forward. The screen will have a black title at center of the top navigation bar.

Note that if you are part way through one of the functions, you can still use the lower tab bar to switch to another function (eg to lookup the help screen or adjust the settings), and then when you tap the tab for the first function, you will go back to the screen you were on in your original function (rather than the introductory screen for that function).


This is the heart of the app, reached by tapping PREP in the first screen associated with the TRACK tab. The TRACK tab is the leftmost tab and has an airplane icon.

PREP stands for preparation for a trip.

If you have no trip credit (perhaps you have used up your free trips), then you will be thrown to the SET..PURCHASE screen when you tap PREP.

There are two screens, named PREP and OBSERVERS, to interact with (to define a trip plan) before you can start recording a new trip.

In the PREP screen you see a table of fields (with visible names such as TAG, DEP, DEST) each of which can be tapped to enter or modify the default values.

The main fields to select or enter are the names of the start and end points of the trip (referred to as DEP and DEST, for departure and destination), as well as a short name for the trip, which is called the TAG. The TAG is one word of your choice, and can be can be 'HIKE' or 'SHOPPING' etc, or can be a vehicle registration such as 'VH-TTS'.

If the default value shown for a field is not what you want (the usual case), just tap a default value to see the selection screen, which will have a list of possible values, in alphabetical order. Note that these values are ones which you have already prepared in the SET function (see below).

Simply tap to select one of these value, if it is what you want.

But if the value you need is not in the selection list, simply enter a new value using the keypad. Tapping 'Edit', or tapping the current value shown in the top cell, will allow you to type in your new value. Then either tap 'Done' (on keypad), or tap the 'OK' button, or tap the new value, to confirm it and return you to the main table.

The VIA field is optional (default blank), but if you tap that row, you will get a select/edit menu with the same location names as the DEP and DEST fields.

(DEP, DEST and VIA can be codes like 'YCBR', names like 'WAGGA WAGGA', or latlon like -25.35,131.04).

The NOTE field is similarly optional, but you can tap it to enter text (upper and lower case supported, 240 characters maximum) which will be seen on the email sent to your trip observer(s).

The fields discussed above (TAG, DEP, DEST, VIA, NOTE) are always present in the PREP screen. There is also an optional extra set of fields (EET, END, SAR, POB, ELT) which are only seen if you have gone to the customisation screens (via the SET tab) and chosen SAR instead of the default SIMPLE option. It is easy to change that setting option at the time of trip preparation if needed.

The SAR (Search And Rescue) group of fields are for when you want your observer to know more about your trip. Notably, how long it should take, and when they should worry about you being overdue on the trip (ie when an unexpectedly long time has passed since START, and you have not pressed STOP on an active trip). These fields are:

EET (Estimated Elapsed Time) or, more simply, the expected duration of your trip. Entered by tapping the row showing the default time, which exposes a "carousel wheel" time interval picker (hours and minutes, with 5 minute intervals).

END (Endurance) is also a time interval - it could be the approximate time before you run out of fuel, or simply the longest elapsed trip time that could reasonably be expected in slightly adverse conditions.

SAR (Search and Rescue) is also a time interval, and is the time when your observer(s) should try to contact you and maybe even consider starting some kind of search for you, or do whatever you have privately pre-arranged with them. Note that you should be very careful to press the STOP button when you finish your trip to avoid a false alarm. Also note that there is no guarantee that the observer(s) will actually receive the associated emails (eg if you are in an area with no cell coverage).

EET must be less than END which must be less than SAR.

POB (Persons on Board) may be set by you to indicate the total number of people on this trip (including yourself).

ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) is a yes/no field which can be tapped to set it to Y if needed. You should set this if you have, and will use, some sort of emergency beacon such as a 406MHz EPIRB or PLB. Using these beacons is advisable (preferably a distress beacon with GPS capability) - they have long battery life, reliable detection by satellite, and you should be known to relevant safety authorities via registration.

After you have filled in all the needed rows in the main PREP table, you tap 'Next' in the top navigation bar and you will be presented with the OBSERVERS screen. You will see a list of emails. These emails will always include your own, as used when you first registered the app. The other emails will be ones you have selected in one of the customisation screens associated with the SET tab. You can tap on any of the emails to select or deselect it. Selected emails are indicated by a small red tick mark. You must select at least one email, but if you want a private trip, simply select just your own email. If you want to add another from your device's email contacts list (but not shown in the list here) you will need to go back to the settings to add it, and then return to this screen (and it will be in the choice list).

After selecting observer(s) you can then tap 'Next' in the top navigation bar and you will be presented with a simple screen titled 'READY' which has a START button. At this stage, all the PREP details that define your upcoming trip have been locally stored, and all you have to do is press the START button to set the start time (for calculation of the expiry times of EET, END and SAR) and begin the trip. But until START is pressed, you are free to go back and make changes to the PREP details.

When you do press the START button, one trip will be deducted from your trip credits, and you will be presented with the all important RECORD screen, which has a STOP button and some other buttons.

The START button, and the 4 buttons on the RECORD screen, all need a special long (dit-daah) press. (double tap with hold on 2nd tap). The special long press will trigger an alert to pop up, for confirmation. The reason for this is that an accidental press would likely confuse your trip observer(s). This dit-daah is a bit like Morse code for the letter A by the way (ie '.-' aka dot dash).

When the RECORD screen is active (ie after START pressed), you can no longer go backwards to modify your PREP data. Until you do the special long (dit-daah) press on STOP (vital at trip end!) you can only stay on that screen, or visit the MAP tab. While you are on the RECORD screen (or the MAP screen while the trip is in progress), the GPS will be active and your track will be updated on your device, and there will also be periodic attempts to update the track on our server, so that your trip observer(s) will be able to see it mapped in near real time (subject to cellular conditions, but not needing a constant good connection). When on this screen, you can turn off the physical screen, or switch to another foreground app, but you must always remember to NOT quit our app, and switch back to it to officially end your trip with a press of STOP.

When you are recording a trip, but temporarily using another app in foreground, you may note (immediately after switching to the new app) a system message at the top of the screen which says "TrackEcho is Actively Using Your Location" and you will notice the location icon on that top blue system bar as well, which is a convenient reminder. You can tap this system bar (if it is showing) to quickly switch back to our app.

When you press the STOP button your trip will end, GPS will be stopped, and you will be presented with a FINAL screen which simply shows statistics about the trip. If you tap OK (just a simple tap here) you will go back to the first screen of the TRACK tab screen set (with a single PREP button), and all tabs will be visible. One of the statistics shown is maximum speed - very occasionally, if you travel slowly in an area of very bad GPS reception (eg in a river gorge, densely timbered valley, cave, a building with thick solid walls, especially at start up), the GPS derived speed can be untrustworthy and may claim to be too fast.

You will note that the buttons for controlling the trip have a slightly visually different (red) border, to remind you that these are critical control buttons, with email side effects, and a "dit-daah" press is needed.

All trips will involve a press of the START and STOP buttons. You will probably be reminded by 'notifications' if you forget to press the STOP button and a significant amount of time has passed since expected trip end etc.

Most trips will only need the STOP and START buttons, but there are 3 other buttons you may use:

UPDATE button:

When you press this (with the dit-daah press), you will be presented with a keypad so that you can type in a short message, which will be included in an email, similar to the start email, sent automatically to your observer(s). You might use this if you have experienced a delay.

PAUSE button:

When you press this (with the dit-daah press), the PAUSE button will be replaced by a RESUME button, which must be similarly pressed at some time before you STOP the trip. There will be an accompanying email to your observer(s), but more importantly, GPS tracking will be suspended until RESUME is pressed. You might use this if you are not moving for a while, or you do not wish your observer(s) to see your forthcoming location, or if you want to save battery. When you eventually press RESUME, another email will be sent. It will be useful to use PAUSE-RESUME when your trip has a natural break (perhaps to admire the view, talk, and eat an apple). For much longer breaks you have a choice of this, or STOP and then START (but the second trip will require you to fill in the PREP details again, so PAUSE-RESUME can still be more convenient, and may be simpler for observers). Note that if you pause a trip, but keep moving, the indication in the trip summary screen of time MOVING will be an under-estimate.

PANIC button:

If you press this (with the dit-daah press), the PANIC button will be replaced by a RELAX button, which must be similarly pressed at some time before you can STOP the trip. There will be an accompanying email to your observer(s). Also, the frequency of attempted server updates to your location will increase. When you eventually press RELAX, another email will be sent. Note that pressing PANIC should not be relied upon in emergencies - the email or position updates will not get through if there is no network connectivity, and anyway your observer may not notice the email. There will be a slight increase in battery usage in 'PANIC'. If you specially want to contact your observers, you should also attempt to send a regular SMS text message. The associated emails for PANIC/RELAX are standard but will include an extra short note that will be something like "NOTE:ALARM! please note my trip progress." or "NOTE:RELAX! - trip now progressing normally." You might consider also sending an UPDATE to explain the situation.


The SET function is entered by tapping the SET icon on the bottom tab bar, then tapping the CUSTOMISE button.

After you have purchased the app, and completed the registration process (where you provide and confirm your own email address and are given access to the server), the very next thing you should do, before trying out the app by taking and recording a trip, is to visit the SET function. Although you could first make a quick test trip, like a walk around the block, with the initial minimal default settings, (just to become familiar with what settings you need to adjust or extend).

On registration, you are given a minimal set of default tags (eg 'TAG'), location names (eg 'SOMEWHERE'), and minimal options. You need to set up your own frequently used values here, for more efficient trip preparation when you actually record a trip (ie to save the effort of later typing in common names). This SET function is also where you define your observers, and this is important, as you cannot dynamically add in new observers at trip time (unless you go back to this SET function).

After tapping CUSTOMISE, the very first screen is titled PURCHASE. You can ignore this by simply tapping 'Next' on top navigation bar. However, you should note the Trip credit displayed in this screen. If credit is nearing zero (maybe you have nearly used up your free trips), then you should instead tap BUY, to start the App Store purchase process. The price will be shown in a text panel above the BUY button. If the BUY button is not enabled, you cannot buy at the moment, and the text panel will tell you why not. If you tap BUY but have PLENTY of trip credit, the app will warn you. Note that for a smooth purchase, you need to ensure that a network connection is available, of course.

The next screen is the first real customization screen. This presents you with with 3 values named EMAIL, NAME and PHONE, which defines how an observer can contact you. The email cannot be changed, but your name (which was guessed from the email) and your phone number (which is just '?' immediately after registration) can and should be updated on this screen. Just tap the value then tap 'Edit' to bring up a keypad, then 'OK' or 'Done' when you have entered the value. If you intend your observer(s) to take any action when an ongoing trip is overdue, it is vital to have these details.

Then you progress to the next customisation screen by tapping 'Next' on the top navigation bar. You will see a list of emails of your observers. Immediately after registering a new app, the only observer will be yourself. To add observers, tap the 'Insert' button. You will be presented with a list of your phone contacts from which you can select a contact which has an associated email. (phone contacts without email information will be in greyed text). If you wanted to choose a contact without email information you would need to add that email to the list first, by the standard system Contacts functionality - you cannot modify contacts using our app, and actually our app cannot even read your contacts list, we can just see only whatever contact you finally selected (that is why you did not have to give our app any special permissions relating to contacts). If there are 2 or more emails in your observers list, you will see a red circle on the left end of email rows (excluding your own email) which can be tapped to bring up a standard red delete confirmation bar which will enable you to tap it to delete that email from your observer list. Note that unlike some other settings, the observers at trip PREP time can only be selected from the settings list, they cannot be entered temporarily at that time, so make sure the list includes anyone you might want as an observer.

After tapping 'Next' on the top bar, you will be presented with a list of tags, which can be applied to and help identify your future trips in your trip log on the device, and in your generated trip emails to observer(s). Immediately after device registration, this list will have one tag with the value 'TAG' which is not very useful. You may wish to add tags like your car, bike or light aircraft registration, or perhaps something like 'HIKE' or 'RIDE' or something personal or idiosyncratic. These tags are upper case and limited to a total of 12 letters and/or numbers etc. To add a tag, just tap 'Insert' and then tap the top yellow text box to bring up an appropriate keypad. When done, tap 'Done' or 'OK' or tap the text box. When there is more than 1 tag in your list, you will see the familiar red circles around a '-' sign which can be tapped to delete a tag from the list.

After tapping 'Next' again on the top navigation bar, you will be presented with a list of commonly used locations (usable in DEP, DEST and VIA fields), which can speed up your trip PREP in future. Immediately after device registration, this list will have one tag with the value 'SOMEWHERE' which is not very useful. If you commonly start or end a trip at some locations, you should add your most frequently used (and/or the most hard to type or spell) locations to the list. To add a location just tap 'Insert' and then tap the top yellow text box to bring up an appropriate keypad. When done, tap 'Done' or 'OK' or tap the text box. When there is more than 1 location in your list, you will see the familiar red circles around a '-' sign which can be tapped to delete a location from the list.

After tapping 'Next' again on the top navigation bar, you will be presented with the final customisation screen, entitled OPTIONS. This is a little different from previous screens as it does not involve editing values, but simply presents 3 segmented controls which allow you to choose optional behaviours by tapping to highlight the chosen option (like a switch).

The first option is SIMPLE (the default) or SAR. If you tap SAR, you will later find (when you PREP a future trip) that you have a few more details to fill in. If you were for example a private pilot using our app as an "informal flight note" you would want to enable SAR, so that your observer emails contain more time/rescue related data. But note that this SAR option does not result in any official or automated search and rescue enabling - it is up to you to tell your observer what to do if they have not received your confirmation of a safe trip conclusion (perhaps because of an emergency, or because you forgot to press STOP, or perhaps the email did not reach them).

The second option is SIMPLE or SMS. If you tap SMS, you will find that when you later start a trip, you will be presented with a simple composed text message to your observers which you can send, modify or cancel. Note that the app is not permitted to send text messages on your behalf, which is why you must activate (or not) the sending at any trip start if you have enabled the SMS option here. It can be quite valuable to send this simple text message as it alerts your observer(s) to be ready for future email messages generated by our associated server when you press recording buttons in the track record part of an active trip. Many people are a little lax in checking their emails, so this SMS can help.

The third option relates to the preferred units of measurement used in various places in the app and its generated emails. The choices are: the default metric ('Metric'), Imperial units, ie feet, miles per hour etc ('Imp') or aviation specific, which is a mix of units ('Av'). Consider your observers when making a non-default choice - many people are not familar with knots (kts) as a measure of speed!

When you are finished with defining your options, you can tap 'Next' and you will be presented with a screen entitled STATUS. This simply shows some counters, app version information, and other data. Normally you can ignore this, but it can be helpful in the unlikely event that you need to contact our support team (see FAQ page).

When you finish glancing at the status data, you can tap 'Next' and you will be presented with a screen entitled SPECIAL. This has a button labelled PURGE which you may never need, which enables you to permanently delete ALL your location data on the server (therefore also voiding all server maps of all your trips). If you tap PURGE, you will then see a CONFIRM PURGE and a QUIT button. If you use the special 'dit-daah' press (double tap, then hold) on the CONFIRM PURGE button, and then tap OK all your location data will be removed from the server (only), and you will get an email confirming that.

When you then tap 'Next' from this last SPECIAL screen, it simply brings up the settings start screen again.

On any of the SET screens, you can also tap another tab on the bottom tab bar (such as TRACK to start a new trip).


The INFO function is entered by tapping the INFO icon on the bottom tab bar, then tapping the "VIEW HELP" button.

You will then be presented with a webview, showing some formatted help information which may be helpful to understand how to use the features of the app. This page can be scrolled, zoomed, panned and local links in blue can be followed. There are sections for Overview, Registration, Settings, Tracking, Logging, Mapping, More. In the 'More' section you will find links to a similar (but slightly more detailed and more up to date) page on our internet web server. There is also a link to the app home page and this page and a FAQ page. Of course, these links can be also viewed in any web browser.


The LOG function is entered by tapping the LOG icon on the bottom tab bar, then tapping the "VIEW LOG" button.

By default, every trip you make is associated with a log entry, stored in a database on your device.

The log is presented as a long table, with a row for each trip, which can be tapped to view more detail. The label on each row contains the local date and time at start (most recent first) and the TAG and DEST fields that you set when preparing that trip.

There is a delete button near the top of the log screen, and if you tap that button, the rows will change so they have a standard red circle on the left of each row - if you tap that red circle, you will see a red bar appear labeled 'Delete' and if you tap that, you will permanently delete that entry from your trip log. After finishing any deletions, just tap'OK' to go back to the normal view without any deletion symbols.

If you tap a normal row in the log table you will see a short summary of the vital statistics of that trip: START time, plus TAG, DEP, DEST, POB (as on the PREP entered by you for that trip), plus WKEY, DURATION, DISTANCE and TO.

WKEY is a special code identifying your trip to the server (and is part of the URL link to the map of the trip on the server). It is blue, indicating you can tap it to view in the web browser of the device if you wish. If you do view it, you will normally need to zoom in. Note that the light blue left margin and top margin can be used for panning and can be zoomed in to read the trip details and that the embedded map can also be panned and zoomed independently (and there are '+' and '-' map controls above the scale line that can also zoom). When you have finished viewing the map (in the device browser, Safari), tap 'TrackEcho' at the top left to go back to our app, at the Log view. Or you can go back by double tapping the home button or whatever is needed on your device to see the app switcher, and then bring TrackEcho to foreground again.

There may be multiple rows labeled 'TO' (one per observer). Each row is an email that you had configured and selected for that trip as an observer - they will have received your START and STOP email messages as well as any UPDATE email messages.

DURATION and DISTANCE of the trip are self evident. The distance will be in the units you chose when you customised the app in the SET function.


The MAP function is entered by tapping the MAP icon (a globe) on the bottom tab bar, then tapping the "VIEW MAP" button.

Note that the MAP function is the only other function you can invoke when you are actually recording a trip. Of course, it is available when you are not actively on a trip as well.

What you will see on the screen, is a hybrid Apple Map view (terrain plus track and placename overlay) which is centered at your current location (via GPS).

Note that viewing a map sometimes requires a data connection to the internet, but luckily, map portions are cached by the operating system. So, if you plan on using the app MAP function during a trip where the cellular data connection may be at times weak or non-existent, it is a VERY good idea to preview the route on the app MAP well before you start (at some place where connectivity is good) by zooming and panning, to view where you intend to go on the trip - so on the actual trip, it will already be available on the device (probably retained for many days or weeks) without having to wait for connection and download.

If you are actively engaged in recording a trip, you will see a yellow track of your progress on the map.

It is also possible to add the track of a selected previous trip to the map. This could be useful if you wanted to follow or compare with that trip. To add a track to the map you need to first tap the icon on the top navigation bar (on the right) which shows a "pen and paper" image. Then select from a list of your trips. This list is ordered with recent trips first. The trip labels show the time since trip taken as, eg, H52 (52 hours ago) or d100 (100 days ago) for conciseness. They also show the first 3 letters of the associated WKEY, as well as the TAG and DEST. When you tap a trip label in this list you will be taken back to the map screen, and it will appear on the map as a dashed orange track. If instead of tapping a trip label, you tap 'OK', you will simply revert to the map screen. If you tap 'Delete..', you will see the red circles which can be tapped and confirmed, to delete tracks you do not want to see. Note that your past trips are represented on your device by both a log entry and a map track entry - deleting a track in MAP does not delete the same trip data in LOG (and vice versa).

If you want to temporarily declutter the map you can tap 'Clear' on the top bar to remove any added orange track (see above - only one orange track overlay can ever be seen at a time). The current most recent yellow track will not be cleared however.

You can also interact with the map itself in several ways.

One way to interact is to tap the current user location (the blue pulsing dot). This will show a small pop up panel entitled 'My Location' with a 'more information' icon (small circle around 'i') which itself can be tapped. When that is tapped, a larger alert will be shown which has some statistics about the device (eg battery level and current time) plus the GPS accuracy (eg 10/3m would means last point in current track had a reported GPS horizontal error of 10 meters, and altitude error of 3 meters). You will also see your current elevation, and the accumulated distance and duration of your current trip (which will persist until a new trip is initiated or the app is closed). Tap 'OK' to dismiss this information.

Another way to interact is to zoom into some particular point of interest, and long press at that point. This will place a 'pin' on the map, if you confirm by tapping 'OK' on the alert. The pin will then appear with an accompanying sound so that you definitely notice. It will have a '?' inside it which you can change (along with other details) by tapping. When you tap a pin, a small pop up panel will be shown, which has a circled 'i' on the left (for information) and a circled '+' on the right (for adding data).

If you tap 'i' on that popup panel, you will see the distance and direction (degrees true) from your current position to the point represented by the pin. You will also see the pin label (initially '?') and the latitude, longitude and altitude, as well as the last time you "marked" that point (initially the time the pin was created by the long press).

If you tap '+' on that popup panel, you will see a pin edit screen. This will allow you to delete or change attributes of the pin. Normally the first thing is to give a sensible SHORT name to the point (such as 'Treasure'). You can also 'mark' the point by tapping the marked date (which will replace it by the current date/time. Finally, if you wanted to change the latitude and longitude of that pin (unusual, but possible if someone has given you a precise latlon), you can tap the location cell to edit it (a numeric keyboard will appear). To move the pin to your current location, just enter 'x' as a shortcut. When you are done, and you exit the edit screen (unless you tapped the 'Cancel' button), the pin may have moved, and will have any new name you entered, and the '?' in the pin icon will be replaced by '*'. Note that your pins will persist even after force quit, but if you need to remove a pin, just tap it, tap '+' and tap 'Delete'.

Note that the map display normally has true North at the top. However, if you rotate the map (using a two finger 'twist' gesture) a small compass indicator will appear in the top right to indicate where North is on the rotated map. And when you zoom, there is a scale at the top which enables you to judge map distances.

And that is not all - the map can be in two other special modes ("Follow" and "Follow with Heading"). To change to these, tap the location arrow which you can see at the bottom of the map, just above the app TAB bar (from default, tap once to go to "Follow", tap again to go to "Follow with Heading"). The style of that arrow will change to give a visual indication of which map mode you are viewing. In both of these, the blue dot representing your location will be in the center of the screen, even if you make a significant change to your location. But if you attempt to scroll, you will revert to default viewing mode. "Follow with Heading" is very useful in finding your way, because if you hold the device in front of you (in either portait or landscape) the map view will be aligned in the same way as the actual physical view in front of you. Also, a small compass (annotated with N and an arrow) will be seen in the top right of the screen, showing you where to look at the true North direction. If you turn, the view will adjust. You can zoom the map, but if you pan the map it will revert to default, and also if you use a rotate gesture on the map, it will revert to simple "Follow" mode.


If you have a link to a GPX file of some track of interest (to later follow, or to compare with your own tracks), it is possible, with a bit of effort, to add it to your own tracks (so you can select it and see it as an orange overlay). You need to view a Safari or Mail page in your device which has a link to some file which must have a name ending in '.gpx'. Then, long press on that file, and download it or tap for preview, and tap to accept the download option. Then tap the icon with a circle and a downward pointing arrow to view your downloads (or use the standard Files app to view recent downloads). Then tap the file name in the downloads list, and tap the box with an up arrow (the share icon). This should show a list of apps which can process the file. TrackEcho should be in that list (you may need to slide left to see it), with "Copy to TrackEcho" under our icon. When you tap that, the TrackEcho app will come to the foreground, and the downloaded file you just shared should have been automatically read, converted to a bare list of track points, and added to your own map tracks. To view it, tap the MAP function icon, view the map, and tap the top right "pen in box" icon and look at the list of your tracks. The most recent track (at the top) should have a label like "H00 zzz IMPORT-xxxxx", where xxxxx is the last part of the filename of the gpx file you imported. Tap it to see the actual track. Note that this procedure may vary between iOS versions, and Apple have had some issues in this area when multiple apps declare themselves able to process GPX files.

Note that your own tracks on our server are available to others if you give them the 9 letter random secret wkey for the file (as in LOG and in observer emails). For example if the wkey for one of your trips was abcdefghi, then is the URL to the raw GPX file of your trip, if it still exists on the server (which is expected for many months or years).


A main purpose of the app is to let you choose a trusted trip observer to be alerted that you have started on a trip and to be aware of the ongoing progress of that trip. The observer needs enough information so they can, if needed, make appropriate decisions if they see that you have deviated from your plan or may be arriving late, or appear to be experiencing difficulties. We enable this mainly by sending small compressed packets of information to our associated web service when you do the special press on any of the buttons (START, STOP, UPDATE, PAUSE, PANIC) associated with your trip. These packets may suffer a delay if you enter a cellular dead zone, but if and when you briefly come within range of a phone tower, they will be received by the server.

These days, most countries have very good cell phone coverage, and data can be successfully sent from surprising places. For example on hills in rugged sparsely populated areas and from light aircraft in flight a long way from the nearest cell tower, or from boats near the coast.

The server will store the trip data (time, location, DEP, DEST etc) in a private database for you. It will then compose an informative email which it will send to each of your observers for that event relating to your button press (START, STOP etc).

The interesting thing, is that each server generated email will have a link to a map of your ongoing trip, showing the start and some recent track locations. Of course the map which our server creates for you is protected by having a URL with a component we call a wkey which is a random 9 letter code that is unique to your particular trip and which is virtually impossible to guess. You and your trusted observer(s) have access to this key. Even your past trusted observers from previous trips cannot access the current trip map unless they were specifically included by you in this current trip as well (ie if they received a server generated email for this trip). A trip must have an observer, but if you want to record a very private trip, you can simply make yourself that single observer.

During your trip, from pressing START to pressing STOP (excluding after any press of the PAUSE button until RESUME is pressed), the app will attempt to periodically send location updates to the server without you having to take any specific action. These are are highly compressed and include a few previous points in the trip as a backup. They are sent using the UDP internet protocol. This is a "one way, single packet, best effort" highly economical transmission, which only needs a moment of connectivity. The end result is that during your trip, if the observer refreshes the trip map page in their browser, they will usually be able to see your approximate track up to perhaps a minute ago. So "near real time tracking", subject to some sort of connectivity now and then.

At the conclusion of your trip (when you press STOP), the full track, as stored on your device, and seen on the MAP tab of the device, will be processed to select the most useful points (especially the key points showing major bends in the track), and these will be sent to the server to augment the track points already stored en route via UDP, so that the server based map will be good, even if some of the UDP based updates failed. This final track update is not sent via UDP and will almost certainly be correctly received as soon as connectivity is available.

So your observer(s) receive emails at START, STOP, UPDATE etc. These all show the trip descriptors (TAG, DEP, DST) and your location. They also have a link to a map of your track so far, and a link to a corresponding GPX file. The STOP email shows total distance and duration of your trip.