We’re Cherie & Chris – two full time technomads (technology enabled nomads). Our apps are mostly a side hobby project for us, not our primary business focus. – they solve problems we’ve encountered in our own RVing travels. That is their focus.
We have partnered with Hired Gun Software for development of our apps, so that we can keep this product line sustainable.
Below are answers to our most frequent questions.
Quickly check the update status for each of our apps, so you know if you have the most current versions and when you can expect the next update:
Projected Next Update
|Coverage?||6/17/2017||HD Map Subscription Update: September 2017
Standard App Update: As soon as needed
The newly re-written version of Coverage? is now available for iOS and Android!!!
This is a free update for existing customers with the option of in-app subscription to higher resolution maps! Standard map updates will remain free.
|State Lines||4/27/2017||Later in the year, we will be re-writing State Lines with a more modern format – this app is a bit long in the tooth, having been first released in early 2010.|
|US Public Lands||First Released: 4/11/2014||Whenever updated public domain maps are available.|
US Public Lands FAQs
How Accurate are the Maps?
The public domain source of our data is from the National Atlas, and they only report to the nearest 640 acres (or about a square mile). Obviously, this is not detailed enough to be accurate around borders, or for distinguishing private inholdings within public lands.
US Public Lands should only be used as an overview, and you should always confirm more precise details by consulting more detailed maps, local field offices or the websites links with in the app.
We do hope to find a more detailed level public domain map source to improve upon this. If you know of such a source, please do let us know.
How can I tell where it is legal to boondock / camp?
US Public Lands is not specifically a boondocking location app. It simply shows the boundaries of US Public Lands.
After finding where the boundaries are, and which department owns the land – you’ll need to further your research as to what activities are permissible and what permits might apply. There are links provided to each departments website on the Settings page to assist you finding this information.
For finding specific camping locations, you may want to utilize other resources such as FreeCampsites.Net or many of the other boondocking resources out there.
What’s with the checkerboard patterns.. or that dark line off the California Coast?
These are actual US Federally held lands. In some locations, public lands were divided up in squares, creating the checkerboard patterns. And the water off the California is a BLM Monument called the CA Coastal National Monument.
Why isn’t this app available for my older iPad or iPhone?
US Public Lands utilizes features from iOS 7.1 to achieve our map overlaying technology. Unfortunately, this means devices that can not support iOS 7.1 will not be able to install US Public Lands – such as first generation iPads.
Keep in mind the name of our company.. Two Steps Beyond, not Behind 🙂 When releasing new products, we try to utilize the latest and greatest to stay ahead of the technological curve.
Are in-holdings on Federal Lands shown?
Our source maps come from the National Atlas – a government run public domain source. Their own disclaimers say that in-holdings of private property within the lands may not be displayed on the maps. The resolution is down to 640 acres.
You should always check more detailed resources for greater accuracy.
Is there a Color Legend for the Map Layers?
Yes! If you click on the ‘Gears’ button in the upper right hand corner you will be taken to the Settings screen (or pull down on iPad). The colored toggle buttons are color coded to match their map layers.
I’ve found some inaccuracies in the maps, can you fix it?
Our maps are provided by the National Atlas, a public domain source run by the government. Their resolution is at about 640 acres.
In September 2014, their maps are slated to be combined with the National Map. At which time, we are hoping the maps are updated and perhaps offered in higher resolution for greater accuracy. We will issue an update if so.
Sorry, any inaccuracies should be reported to them.. not us. We’re just the messenger. Thanks!
As always, you should always continue your research by consulting other resources as well. US Public Lands should only be used as a general reference point.
How often are Coverage? maps updated?
Updating Coverage? maps is a very labor intensive process that takes a lot of time and bandwidth. Even with them now being provided by Mosiak Solutions.
By the very nature of our apps, the updates will always be a bit out of date by the time they reach your device.
We intend to process updates about quarterly… sometimes it may be less, sometimes it may be more.
Is Coverage? available for Android?
YES!! As of April 2017 the app is now available for Android too.
Why am I receiving different coverage than the app indicates?
All of our maps are derived from the carrier’s own maps. We can only report what they themselves report. And especially during a rapid roll out of a new technology, like LTE – the carriers are turning on new services faster than even their own maps can keep up.
If you’re receiving different coverage than the app indications, here are the possible reasons why:
- The carrier just recently turned the service on in your area, and they haven’t even updated their own maps yet. We typically find it can take the carriers several weeks to update their own maps, ever after making a press release that they’ve turned on new service. We update based off of what is reported on their maps, not what they have announced.
- The carrier has updated their map, but it’s not yet reflected in our maps. We hand create our maps, which is a lot of effort – so thus we have to balance our update cycles to try to include as many changes as possible. It’s inevitable that as soon as we submit an update to Apple to approve (which can take several days), a carrier updates their maps. Don’t worry, our next update will automatically capture the changes.
- Carrier maps do not guarantee the coverage you’ll actually get – which can be impacted by your device, signal strength, surrounding buildings & geography, weather, your specific plan and tower load.
Please keep in mind, Coverage? is not intended to report the actual coverage received at a location – there are many other apps out there that take user submitted reports (we like the RootMetrics app ourselves). However, these are generally only useful in populated areas with an active user base – not everywhere. We created Coverage? to give us an idea if our next travel destination or route has a chance of having signal.
What’s included on each’s carriers layer?
Coverage? displays layers for each carrier. We’ve selected colors for each carrier that best matches their branding, and the darker the color indicates faster/newer coverage.
Also, each carrier has diverged a bit in the coverage types they offer and present.
Here is how each carrier’s coverage types are displayed within the app:
- Verizon – Offers LTE, 3G and 2G . Verizon does not distinguish between XLTE and LTE on their own maps, so their LTE layer is inclusive of it. Since Verizon does not treat its roaming areas differently, they are also included in the regular layers. All Verizon coverage is displayed in shades of Red. ‘Extended LTE’ is shown as a duller red in the LTE layer.
- AT&T – Offers LTE, HSPA+, 3G, 2G and Roaming coverage. We indicate AT&T’s HSPA+ coverage areas on the ‘4G’ layer – as AT&T markets this coverage as 4G. Displayed in shades of blue.
- Sprint – Offers Spark, LTE, 3G, 2G and Roaming coverage. Spark is displayed as a darker layer on the LTE layer. As of October 2015, Sprint has discontinued their WiMax network, so it is no longer included. Displayed in shades of yellow.
- T-Mobile – Offers LTE, 4G/3G/2G (all in one layer, as T-Mobile no longer makes a distinction) and Roaming coverage. As of July 2015, they also include Canada and Mexico coverage as native coverage with ‘Mobile without Borders’. In the October 2015 release, we include coverage areas for Mexico & Canada that are within our Lower 48 ‘map imaging area’. In a future release, we intend to expand this area to include all of Canada and Mexico (no promises tho.. we never marketed Coverage? to include international coverage.) In the January 2016 release, we also now indicated Band 12 in a brighter purple on the LTE layer.
For more information on coverage types and the evolution of LTE, check out our article on 4G speeds.
Can you add more carriers or countries to the app?
Other US Carriers:
We are keeping an eye on the smaller US carriers (like MetroPCS, Clear, NetZero, etc.) to see who might emerge as a big enough player to include in Coverage?. MetroPCS is the next largest after T-Mobile, but is still significantly smaller (9.5m vs 35m customers). As none of these smaller carriers officially offers the iPhone or iPad, we don’t feel there is currently enough of a market demand to merit the extraordinary costs it would take to create & update their maps. But if that changes… we’ll reconsider.
Also keep in mind that many wireless carriers are actually MVNO’s who are re-branding bandwidth from one of the bigger carriers. Check this Wikipedia article for a listing of what networks various MVNOs use, which can better able to you to use Coverage? to find where you are covered with each.
Also, most road warriors and fellow full-time travelers we talk with tend to favor the big carriers for maximum coverage nationwide. Frequent travelers are our target audience.
If you have a need to see the other carriers in the app that we haven’t considered, please do write and tell us about it. We’d love to further learn how you utilize the app.
The infrastructure of Coverage? could easily accommodate other geographic regions as separate apps. However there is extensive research to be done to determine each country’s primary carriers and how to capture their map data to be overlayed within the Coverage? model. This is a lot of labor intensive work that we just simply don’t have the time or funding for ourselves.
If there’s a country you want to see a version of Coverage? for – and you’d be interested in learning how to create the maps yourself – we’re totally open to partnering on this. Just be in touch.
I’ve spotted new coverage – where can I report it to you?
We create our maps off of the carrier’s own maps, not from user submitted data. That’s something that makes our app unique from others like Rootmetrics or Sensorly (which we think are great resources too!) – we cover the entire USA, not just markets with an active user base.
Any new coverage that carriers have added will be picked up in the next update of Coverage (providing the carrier’s themselves have updated their maps). There’s no need to let us know, we’re actively tracking the carriers too.
If you spot new coverage – enjoy! It’s always awesome to find the unexpected, isn’t it?
State Lines FAQs
How often is State Lines updated?
We have to manually research each piece of information in State Lines and enter it ourselves – it’s not an automated process.
We strive to find the right balance between the expended effort and the benefit of having as up-to-date information as possible. After all, we depend on these apps in our own life – so it’s in our best interest to keep them updated. Rest assured, we’re on top of it.
We intend to update State Lines annually – but have fallen behind as the original iOS code will no longer pass Apple’s standards. Which means we have to re-write State Lines from scratch. It’s in the development queue to hopefully be handled in 2017.
Why aren’t gun laws covered in State Lines anymore?
You may have noticed that we no longer track gun carry laws. We found this to be very complex topic, and not well suited to the short summarization format of State Lines. We’ve heard great things about the Legal Heat app, which seems to be very comprehensive and written by gun enthusiast attorneys. We’ll let the experts concentrate on this one.
Can you add some new laws?
We always welcome suggestions for laws or regulations you’d like to see tracked in State Lines. We try to keep the content of the app focused on laws that impact travelers as they cross State Lines. If you have an idea, write and let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org). If you know of a public domain source for the data, please also include that.
Our App Development
Are you available to develop an app for me?
We are available, for hire, for custom app development and consulting. We offer a range of services from providing a ‘reality check’ about your app idea, creating a firm spec and wire frame, outsourcing developers, project manage your development cycle and/or do the development ourselves.
Our core business is providing technical strategy and full on application development. We have extensive experience in business logic systems, database & data integration, product roll out, quality assurance, automation, mobile tech, research & analysis and more. We have taken on creating internal custom application development for a variety of industries… both for iOS devices and web apps. If you have a project you’d like to bring us in on – be in touch.
If you have an app idea that could fit within the model of one of our existing apps – for sure be in touch. All of our apps are designed to be used for different purposes. We’re always interested in ways to partner using our existing technology.
‘Can I Drink the Water’ is really just another version of our ‘State Lines’ app.
‘Coverage?’ could easily be used for other geographic areas, or even for things not specifically cellular – if someone wanted to take the time to create the maps. The map overlaying technology we forged is pretty versatile and awesome.
If you have an idea for an app not related to our existing line – and are looking for a developer to ‘partner with’ (ie. split future profits) – we’re likely not interested. But we do offer an app ‘Reality Check’ consultation session where we can help you determine if your app is worth pursuing a development partner.
Check out our Business Services page for more information on what we can offer.