Frequently asked Questions

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Application and phone issues

What does offline signals mean?

Offline signals is a count of the measurements that the device has logged and still needs to upload. My offline signals count is just increasing and does not seem to be uploading. Is something wrong? Check that you have not set the gr8signal application to only upload on WiFi (the default). If you are on WiFi just wait: the data will upload eventually.


Will the application use my cellular bandwidth?

If you've set the application to only upload on WiFi (default setting) then the app will not use additional bandwidth.


Will the application drain my battery?

We've done all we can to limit the amount of battery the application uses so it shouldn't. Although, like any application it will use a tiny bit of power from your phone. Please log a bug with us if you encounter unacceptable battery drain. Why does your icon now appear on the top left corner? If you have an application running in the background on an Android device, Android requires that a status icon be shown. This is to prevent processes running in the background that you can't easily close or identify.

Will you be creating and iPhone/iPad version?

Unfortunately Apple doesn't allow access to the signal strength information we need. There are ways of getting it, but then the application would not be allowed in the Apple iTunes store. We'd be very interested in developing for the iPhone/iPad, but Apple's rules forbid it. What other phones are you looking at next?

The next phones were looking at will be Blackberry and Symbian devices.

Why did you pick Android first?

It was the easiest and quickest option to get a working system up and running.

Why do you only show my providers signal on my phone?

The phone only measures the provider you are currently using. So that the only information we have available. What does Turbo Mode do?

The purpose of this option is to increase the amount of logging your phone does at the cost of higher battery usage. Though it can greatly help to get information about your area.

What is the Tracker ID about?

This is for debugging purposes: If you set a tracking ID the data your phone uploads will be tagged with the ID you have entered. If you leave the tracking ID blank, your data is uploaded anonymously.

If I cannot pick up a cell tower, how do you know who my provider is?

We get the provider from the sim card that you put in and the towers that it talks to (The phone says if its roaming on a different network) Picking up dead spots is difficult until we have sufficient logs, such as when someone goes into flight mode or they go into a tunnel (Gautrain/Huguenot Tunnel). In a future version of the app were are planning on adding dropped calls. As we get more data we will keep on looking at accurate ways to give you information on dead spots.

Is there a way that I can send a debug log to help diagnose my problem

Yes and it would really be appreciated as it can really help us diagnose the problem on your phone.

The simplest method is to install alogcat https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.jtb.alogcat&hl=en. Then go to menu preferences and set level to verbose and set format to time.

if you could email the support@gr8signal.co.za

Do I need to click the upload button

No not at all its there more so that you can force the upload at that specific time. Otherwise the upload will start by itself. If you've set this to only occur on wifi it will only do when your phone is connected to a wifi hot spot.

I've unchecked the start on boot checkbox but it says "do not start on boot" underneath. Do i need to have it checked"

To have the app start on boot have it checked. If you don't want it to start on boot leave it unchecked. The message will tell you what it will do with respect to you current selection.

Phone measurement queries

My phone is showing full bars but the app is not showing 100%

Different phones use different measurements to report on the signal bars. As we are trying to do a consistent measurement we are using the ranges bellow.


-91 <= 25 % or 1 bars
-89 <= 50% <= -75 or 2 bars
-77 <= 75% <= -59 or 3 bars
100% <= -57 or 4 bars

Website queries

Why don't I see any logs in an area I know I've been to?

There can be a number of reasons for this:

For the moment, we only update the signal map images on the site once a day, therefore your data may only show in a day or so. The signal map images may also be cached by a third party. The location sent from your phone wasn't accurate enough. If you send us data we only show points on the map with a certain accuracy: this is not to say the data is completely useless, if we get enough, we may use it to interpolate better in the future.


How do I switch between satellite and map view

The controls are on the left had side underneath the scroll bar.


Downloaded data

What is the "lac" column for in my downloaded data?

Location Area Code (LAC) is used in conjunction with a couple other fields to uniquely identify the tower.


Why is "signal bars" permanently on -1 for my phone?

Some phones only give a signal strength in dBM some only with signal bars and a very few do both. Your phone seems to be one of those that doesn't give bars.

The 'signal_bars' field says -1 , does this data get plotted or discarded?

We don't use the data with a location of -1 at the moment. Our original hope was to use the the tower location to still get some useful data out of these but it turned out not to be feasible. So currently it is ignored but we don't discard it, we wish to be able to use this information eventually.

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