Training Thursday: What is the difference between Background GPS and Foreground GPS

Let’s talk about GPS on your Active911 device for today’s Training Thursday. Last June, we released a new feature that allows devices to show on the map in the Active911 app even when they have the app in the background on their device. Before this point, your device would only show up when you had the app open or in the foreground on your phone. Here’s a little more detail about each:

Foreground GPS

Having this turned on means that your device will only show on the map when you have the app open on your device. You will still get routing even if you turn this off.

If you choose to turn this off, you will not be seen on the map and you won’t get routing to an alert in the app.














Background GPS

We created this feature mostly for devices that are in an apparatus, so the members of the department can tell where they are located even if they exit out of the app. There are a couple of settings that you can choose for the background GPS

    • Reduced Accuracy (iOS) / Battery Saving (Android) – if you choose this option, your device will show up on the map even when you don’t have the app open. However, your phone won’t constantly be pinging the GPS satellite, so it saves your battery a bit.
    • Precise Accuracy (iOS) / High Accuracy (Android) – this option will use a lot of battery juice because it will be reporting your location constantly. We recommend you have a charger nearby or have these devices constantly hooked up.
    • Off – This means you will not be reporting your position on the map when you have the app backgrounded. This is the default setting whenever you download or update your device.


Training Thursday: How to test the Active911 System to see if it is down

This week I was in San Diego for Firehouse World and a question came up that I thought would be a great Training Thursday blog post. The question was, “how do I know if Active911 is down or if the issue is on my dispatch side?” This is a very common question and yet I somehow didn’t think about posting this till now!

There is actually a very simple way to check if our system is down and here are the steps you should take.

  1. Login to the Active911 website through the member access area and go to the Agency tab.
  2. Locate the Active911 email. It is below the pie chart and starts with some numbers, a dash, and then a mix of letters and numbers. Like this:

Example of an alert email address


       3. Copy the alert email address and open your personal or work email to compose a message.

4. Send an email from your work or personal email address to the alert email address. The alert email address is the same as any other email address. Anything that you send to it, will go to all the devices on the account as a “general alert”, so make sure you put test in the body of the email.

If the email gets to your device or you see it on the alarms tab of the website, then our system is working. We recommend contacting your dispatch center at this point.

If it doesn’t go to your phone or you don’t see it on the alarms tab of the website, then contact us!

Let us know if you have further questions about this and happy Thursday!


iOS 1.5.21 available in the App Store

One of the new features in this release is the addition of themes that change the look of the app:


The Light theme is currently the default and should look pretty familiar since it is mostly the same as the previous default, but has updated icons, fonts, and various other style tweaks throughout the app.

The Night theme is an experimental theme which inverts most of the colors from the light theme and it also includes a dark map theme if you are using google maps.

And last but not least is our Battalion Blue theme which is part of our effort to provide a more unified look and experience across all of our apps and services. This theme uses our new brand colors and you’ll also be able to see our new logo in the icon for the app in this release.


We’ve got one other exciting feature in this release which isn’t as obvious/visible: we’ve added support for the app to be able to connect to a separate, secondary set of servers for our new users in Latin America.