about Push to log your mobile and bluetooth network!
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Introduction

PushToLog is an Android app. In short: It logs the signal strength of your mobile network, which is depedent of your location and shows the results in map. And .. simultaneously you can monitor bluetooth as well!

As of May, 2022, the app is no longer supported (and made unavailable on Google Play), due to compatability issues with Android 10+ devices. But still, you can download the app by this link.

Mobile network scanning

With the PushToLog-app you can monitor and log the signal strength of your mobile network (4G/LTE) into a logfile while you are moving. The logfile is used to display the results in your map any time later. The logged points are colored by their relative signal strength (see the tables below).

Other mobile networks are expected to be supported by the PushToLog-app (at least 3G).

The PushToLog-app is using the Fused Location GPS-provider by Google to minimize the use of your battery. But nevertheless your GPS location must be activated. Despite the technical driver for creating this app, it is still fun to use the app wherever you are!

The app offers you 4 simple functions:

STARTStarts the logging of your mobile network
STOPStops the current logging
SAVESaves the data of your logging in a file
SHOWShows the data of an earlier saved logfile

Note: In case you have enabled the SHARE LOG FILE setting, the SAVE function is changed in SHARE!

The app shows the current date, running time, your provider, your network type and strength level. The strenght level corresponds with your level indicator showing 1 to 4 bars. The higher the level, the higher the strenght of your network on your location.

Dependent of the network type the strength of your network is given as RSRP, RSRQ & QCI for 4G/LTE or just with RSSI (all other network types). Both RSRP (Reference Signals Received Power) and RSRQ (Reference Signal Received Quality) are key measures of the signal level. Strength of the signal is expressed in (negative) decibel-milliwatts.

Strenght for 4G/LTE networks

ColorStrengthRSRP (in dBm)RSRQ (in dBm)
light_greenExcellent>= -70>= -5
greenVery good>= -80 and < -70>= -10 and < -5
yellowGood>= -90 and < -80>= -15 and < -10
orangeFair>= -100 and < -90>= -20 and < -15
redBad>= -110 and < -100>= -20 and < -20
darkredVery bad< -110< -25
For LTE-networks, the CQI (Channel Quality Indicator) indicates how bad or good the communication channel quality is (0 till 15), 0 is very bad, 15 very good.

For 3G/GSM mobile networks (and all others within the current scope of PushToLog-app), the strenght is measured by the RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator).

Strenght for 3G/GSM (and other) networks

ColorStrengthRSSI (in dBm)
light_greenExcellent>= -70
greenVery good>= -80 and < -70
yellowGood>= -97 and < -80
orangeFair>= -103 and < -97
redBad>= -110 and < -103
darkredVery bad< -110

Last but not least, the PushToLog-app shows the current langitude and latitude of your location. This data is provided by the Fused Location provider of Google and uses the GPS-sensor of your device and others means to minimize the draining of your battery. The coordinates are used to position your current location in the map showed by the app. Furthermore, the coordinates are also used to calculate the distance between the points in the map and the speed applied for reaching the next point of your moving.

The PushToLog-app lets you monitor and log the strenght of your network while your are walking, driving. By pushing the START-button, the logging is immediately started. By touching the STOP-button, the logging is stopped. It can be saved as logfile on your device to show it some other time. When saving the file, you can add a tag to use it as reminder for selecting the file for showing. With the SHOW-button you can show any saved logfile. You have also the option to delete the file or rename the tag (which can be disabled by a setting). After that you select of logfile from the list of files presented, some statistical info is presented: the number of points, the diastance and optionally the average and maximum speed (in km/h). An extra point (blue) is drawn in the map marking the highest speed.

Bluetooth network scanning

Beside the scanning and logging of your mobile network, you can simultaneously scan bluetooth devices. Bluetooth results are also logged and can be displayed on the map later. The PushToLog-app selects the nearest device based on the strenght of the signal. A distance calculation is made, which must be calibrated for your device. A warning will be displayed if the strength is too high, which means that your distance to the device is too short. You can also set a strenght level to get an audio signal when the strenght exceeds it.

You will discover for yourself that the bluetooth signal varies greatly, so the distance should be handled with care. Therefore, you can enable the option to let the app calculate the average of the 5 latest measurements. Every discovery (10..15 sec) will show a list of devices found in a message (if technical info is enabled), including the strenght (in dBm). You can re-show this message by a long press on one of the 4 buttons at the bottom of the screen.

For demonstrative reasons, it also possible to temporarily change your device name to an app-friendly format. The device name is changed when logging is started and restored when logging is stopped. The device name is in the form of "PTL-XX-YYYYYY", whereby XX implies your mobile operator's country code and YYYYYY is the unique usercode, which is randomly generated by the app during installation. If the scan detects another device with this formatted device name ("PTL-"), the device will vibrate three times regardless of the signal strenght.

And do not forget, scanning bluetooth is not making any sense to discover devices while you are passing by quickly (by car or train). The app will always show the results of a full discovery cycle, which implies the results are delayed especially when moving or updating fast.

Strenght for Bluetooth

ColorStrengthRSSI (in dBm)
fireredVery close>= -45
redClose>= -60 and < -45
orangeNear>= -80 and < -60
yellowFurther>= -90 and < -80
greenFar>= -100 and < -90
light_greenDistant< -100

Auto-logging

When your sensor is activated (see settings), the movement of your device is automatically detected by the PushToLog-app. If you have enabled additional information (see settings), the displayed time will flash when a movement is detected.

By a long press of the START button, the auto-log will be started. Only when your device is moving, data will be logged (like the normal log function). When no movement is detected, the logging will be paused (the logging status message will stop flashing). As soon as you start moving, the logging will be resumed (the logging status message will flash again).

Note: If bluetooth scanning is enabled, the auto-log option is suppressed. In this case, a long press (of the STOP button) will show you a message with the latest scanning results.

KML-files

By enabling the ENABLE KML-TYPE option the Push-to-Log app will create KML-typed logfile as well when the logging is stopped. This KML-file can be displayed by Google Earth and will show you your route in 3D. Furthermore, you can also follow the route as a real tour, showing you an eagle view for 1 or more seconds from the start point up to the last point (with some stepsize). You may change some KML tour parameters (check the KML Tour settings). However in some cases, the route might be disturbed by a deviating gps registration, but consider that as an personal surpise for you!

Available settings

LOG-INTERVAL TIMESet your desired interval time to log strength and location in seconds (5..120 sec).
PLAY NOTIFICATION SOUNDSPlays tones when the signal strenght increases or decreases.
BE SILENT WHEN NOT LOGGINGPlays only sounds when logging (useful to monitor the logging via audio).
USE WHITE BACKGROUNDUse this if you don't like the default black background.
FOREGROUND SERVICEUse this option to have the app log while the app is not active in the foreground. A special android service is created to continue the logging in the background (for most android devices).
 
MORE SETTINGSThis menu gives you some more options to choose for.
- USE HYBRID MAPUse satellite image as map, requires a little bit more power while monitoring or logging.
- ADD MIN. & MAX. STRENGTHSMark the highest and lowest strength in the (shown) map.
- ADD SPEED INFOAdds the speed together with the default strenght in the map (SHOW only).
- ADD TIME INFOAdds the time the point in the map was logged (SHOW only).
- SHOW MOVING AVERAGEShows average of last 5 measurements instead of minimum and maximum of the signal strenght.
- USE GRADIENT COLORSUse gradient color starting from green (high quality) to red (low quality).
- BLUETOOTH IN MAPShow the results of bluetooth scan in the map (nearest device name and strenght).
 
- TECHNICAL SETTINGSThese technical settings need to be set occasionally.
- ADJUST MAP HEIGHTEnables you to set the height of the map just fitting your available screen space.
- OFFSET COLOR MAPPPINGSet offset in dBm for color levels in map.
- ACTIVATE SENSOREnables the accelerometer to detect any movement of your device (to support auto-logging).
- ENABLE AUTO-ORIENTATIONEnables automatic map rotation corresponding to the orientation of your device with geomagnetic north. In case of trouble, calibrate your sensor (with help of Google Maps).
- ADJUST ACCELERATION SENSOREnables you to change the sensitivity of your sensor sensoring the movement of your device.
- QUICK FILE SELECTSkips the menu to delete or rename log file and show log file in an instant.
- SHOW HIGHLIGHTED VALUESDisable this option if the highlighting of the dynamic values is failing on your device.
- SHOW ADDITIONAL INFOShows additional info like the number of location and phone status updates processed. In case of bluetooth scanning, messages appear with the complete list of a scan cycle.
- ENABLE DEBUG MODEThis option may be needed to add extra data to the log for support by PhD Software in case of trouble.
 
- KML TOUR SETTINGSThese settings can be updated for a different view (with Google Earth).
- ENABLE KML-TYPECreates and show KML-typed logfile by Google Earth. A long press of the SHOW button will trigger showing the file with GE (if available).
- ADJUST TILT RANGEEnables you to set the tilt angle from your view.
- ADJUST RANGE DISTANCEEnables you to set the eye level of your view.
- ADJUST TOUR PAUSEEnables you to set the pause between the points of your tour.
- ADJUST TOUR STEP SIZEEnables you to set step size of logged points to view.
 
UPLOAD SETTINGSThis menu enables you to optionally share your logfiles with a provider of your choice. The logfiles do not contain any personal data. You may share your data with PhD Software, other arrangements in progress. The transfer is done securely with SFTP.
- SHARE LOGEnable it to upload your logfiles to your provider.
- WIFI ONLYOtherwise your mobile connection for uploading is used.
- UPLOAD PROVIDERSelect your provider by key or by name.
- UPLOAD KEYEnter key if your provider is selected by key.
 
BLUETOOTH SETTINGSEnabling bluetooth scanning (restart is required) selects the device with the highest strenght and sounds a warning if the level exceeds. The distance is calculated on a theoretical basis without taking into account local conditions.
- SCAN BLUETOOTHEnable discovery of all Bluetooth device and select the nearest device (with highest strenght).
- BLUETOOTH CALIBRATIONSet this for the best distance calculation, try to use the strenght measured from a device 1m away.
- BLUETOOTH WARNING STRENGTHSet this level to sound warnings, Use 4 dBm lower than the calibration value for a 1.5m warning.
- PLAY WARNING SOUNDEnable this to get an audio signal when the bluetooth warning strenght is exceeded.
- SHOW MOVING AVERAGEShows average of last 5 measurements of the bluetooth device with the highest power.
- EXTEND YOUR VISIBILITYEnable this option to be discovered by others (which should be your obligation). Your device will be discoverable for max. an hour (which requires your consent when the app is started). At any time you can withdraw your visibility by turning your bluetooth off.
- CHANGE DEVICE NAMEEnable this option to change your device to an app-friendly name while logging. When you stop logging, your original device name will be restored.
- SCAN CONTINUOUSLYBluetooth scanning takes some battery power, so it restricted by default to 2 times a minute, which can be overruled.
- SHOW OTHER DEVICE TYPESEnable to discover also device types other than the classic BR/EDR devices, such as LE, combination of BR/EDR/LE. LE stands for Low Energy devices. If the technical info option is enabled, the following type numbers are added to the result message: 0 = Unknown, 1 = BR/EDR, 2 = LE, 3 = BR/EDR/LE.

Necessary permissions

ACCESS_FINE_LOCATIONNecessary to retrieve your location data.
WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGENeeded to save logged data and to show it later.
FOREGROUND_SERVICENecessary to continue logging when you're using other apps.
READ_PHONE_STATENeeded for reading the network data (Android 10+).
ACCESS_NETWORK_STATENeeded for checking the network and wifi state.
ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATIONNeeded for getting location data while running in the background.
INTERNETNeeded for accessing the network to upload data (optional).
BLUETOOTHNeeded for accessing the bluetooth adapter.
BLUETOOTH_ADMINNeeded for discovering any bluetooth devices.
VIBRATENeeded for generating a vibration in some cases.
Note 1: The first three permissions you have to grant explicitly when running the app the first time. To apply these permissions, a restart of the app is necessary!
Note 2: Android 10 requires an additional location permission, which can only be set manually. When enabling the forground service option, the permission screen is shown only once to let you check and update it to "Always all the time".
Note 3: To run in the background and sleep mode, Android 10+ requires unrestricted battery usage (via Settings/Apps/PushtoLog/Battery optimization). Android 12 unfortunately has a special feature: background processes are heavily restricted to provide battery benefits. Older Android versions may require to enable mandatory the FOREGROUND SERVICE.

Known bugs

- In some rare cases the app might be restarted, when running in the background, which will stop the logging, you can recover it manually be selecting the working file and renaming with your file explorer
- GPS location provider has incidentally strongly deviating values which can cause surprising tour views ;-)

Any questions?

In case you have questions or suggestions about the PushToLog-app, you are more than welcome to send us an e-mail (info@phdsoftware.nl). The latest version is currently v1.3g, released 6 May 2022 (technical update and few fixes).

Disclaimer

Use of the app is at your own risk. The app is provided "as is". PhD Software accepts no responsibility for any technical failure of the app.

Examples

Below you find three screen images of the PushToLog-app and an example of a map created by the PushToLog-app. It shows a part of the highway A15 in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

appscreen1 appscreen2 appscreen3

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