We have been hard at work on the largest changes to the OMN software since we launched it just over 2 years ago.
Why make large changes?
Since we launched our subscriptions just over 2 years ago the subscription part of the business has expanded every month and continues to do so. Subscriptions now account for over 95% of our consumer business with 93% of users renewing.
It’s a nice place to be for Anquet.
But to live up to our side of the agreement, and keep customer loyalty we need to work hard and invest in our software and services.
Whilst things are running very smoothly, like all software there are always bugs and always room for improvement.
There is always a balancing act between keeping old systems running and the complexity of doing so versus moving forward. We are now starting to cut some ties to our older systems so that development is not held back.
New Map Rendering
Our current map rendering engine has served us well. However, its underlying technology will not be supported an upcoming versions of macOS. Technology moves forward and we certainly now have a new candidate from Google which is proving to be quicker, easier to work with and in initial tests use less memory and be more battery friendly – it just appears to be lighter on its feet and hence using less resources.
In completely changing our map rendering engine, we also looked at our map tile format.
Our current map file format was designed over 10 years and is not best suited to subscriptions.
We have now fully updated our file format, and added our Enhanced Zoom technology to all map types.
The downside is that users will need to re-download their maps as the app updates go live. We will be sure to warn users about this.
With a new map format, we have completely re-written map download to be more robust by building in new redundancies in our servers that deliver the maps.
Map Updates will now be much more granular. In our current system if a 10km by 10km source map tile from the Ordnance Survey was cut into 100 tiles, when the OS updated the source tile, we would update all 100 tiles with the user. The new system compares the cut tiles, so if only say 6 have been updated, only 6 of those 100 tiles will need to be downloaded. This will lead to smaller update downloads for users.
With the new system in place, renewals will no longer require a long sync which the current system requires. This process will now become much smoother.
Our sync system was designed before subscriptions, and so with the changes to our maps we have completely re-written the part of sync around map definitions. We no longer need the calculations done on the servers for a long initial sync. This should make sync a lot quicker for users.
GPX files and Styles have not been changed and will sync as normal.
There are very little changes to the user interface, so it will all look and feel very familiar.
Progress and Timings - updated 3rd January 2020
OMN Android is now in public beta. The results are nice, with startup and sync being much quicker, map rendering being smoother and the whole app just feeling nicer. To finish up Android to allow for an initial release we still need to integrate our height data which is being done at the moment, and then return to make sure all of the map data required for a full release is correctly available on the Anquet servers.
OMN macOS is also now in public beta. It's not as mature as the Android beta yet, but it's coming together nicely. Like Android, the startup time is much improved, sync runs quicker and map rendering is fast and efficient. As the height data and map data tasks are completed for Android, they will become available in the macOS betas.
With macOS currently we are working on improving the interface as it borrows a lot of code from the OMN mobile apps which whilst functional is not optimal for a desktop application. Once we get that work done, we still have Printing and Route Profile work to implement.
To access the betas, login to our forum using your normal login details you use on for the OMN software. In the forum for the app, look for the latest version number - i.e. choose the thread 3.0.6 rather than say 3.0.1.
None of the betas will interfere with your regular installations of OMN.
iOS will follow on after macOS. With the majority of its code shared with Android.
We don’t currently have a timeline on the PC app yet.
The apps won’t all launch live at once, but as a user you can mix and match as sync will work between them seamlessly.
Either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or book an informal chat with David using the link below:Book a call with David