Why does SiteConnect need Background Access to Location?

The purpose of SiteConnect is to keep people SAFE whilst working remotely and potentially alone in high risk situations like construction. For their safety it is important for our customer Site Managers to know who is on site at any time.

To reduce human error we provide functionality so users can potentially be signed into and out of site automatically via GPS.  Use of the functionality  must be consented to by the Paying customer AND their employee user to enable their location ONLY  whilst on site to be tracked.  We have automatic notifications where an employee has not signed out from a site to enable follow up.

 

Background GPS Tracking

Background location tracking is totally in the users hands. The User users their native IoS or Android settings to determine whether location access is tracked by the SiteConnect mobile app

The user can choose for the SiteConnect mobile app to:

  • "always" track their location,
  • only when they use the SiteConnect mobile app or
  • "never".

When the user chooses the "always" option, a background process will run to periodically send their location to the SiteConnect API. The SiteConnect API will determine if they are on any of the sites they have access to or not. If you are not onsite, your location data is discarded. This is the more convenient option because you will be notified when you arrive onsite to complete the site sign-in inductions. 

When you choose the "when in use" option, your location data is only sent to the SiteConnect API when you open and use the SiteConnect mobile app.  The SiteConnect API will determine if you are on any of the sites you have access to or not. If you are not onsite, your location data is discarded. In order for you to sign in via GPS with this option you must be within the geofenced perimeter of the site otherwise you will not be signed in. You can open the site map to find out where the geofenced perimeter is located. This is the less convenient option but still works well.

Your location is only stored when you are considered to be onsite by the SiteConnect API. We will never share location data with any third-party providers. 

When you choose the "never" option, GPS tracking is disabled for the SiteConnect mobile app. The only way then to sign into sites are by scanning the SiteConnect site QR codes using the SiteConnect mobile app.

 

App Settings

The employer Admin or the company in SiteConnect the site belongs to must grant the user access to their site for automatic GPS sign-in and outs.  The user can also turn off GPS tracking within the app

Enable GPS TRacking

It is very common that when users log into the SiteConnect app for the first time that they decline location service access for the app. This decision causes the app not to sign the user into and out of sites automatically.

In some cases users also accidentally deny permissions for other features like accessing the camera when reporting a hazard or an incident. This causes undesired behaviour within the SiteConnect app.

We provide user support for troubleshooting GPS

iOS

iOS SC SettingsTo fix location service permissions for iOS, go to Settings > SiteConnect > Location. You will be presented with 4 options namely "Never", "Ask Next Time", "While Using the App" and "Always". For the best experience, select "Always". Depending on your version of iOS, the app permissions could be in a different location.

iOS also have a Motion & Fitness permission that we recommend you switch on. This helps the SiteConnect app to use GPS only when it is needed and reduce battery usage.

There are other permissions that you can enable to enhance your SiteConnect experience.

Camera: This allows you to take and upload photos while using SiteConnect.

Photos: When taking photos, using the camera, the SiteConnect app will automatically store the photo to your gallery.

Background App Refresh: This allows the app to fetch information in the background, creating a more seamless SiteConnect experience as you use it.

Android

Android SC SettingsTo fix location service permissions for Android, go to Settings > Apps > SiteConnect > Permissions > Location. You will be presented with 3 options namely "Allow all the time", "Allow only while using the app" and "Deny". For the best experience, select "Allow all the time". Depending on your version of Android, the settings may be at a different location.

Android also have a Physical activity permission setting that we recommend you switch on. This helps the SiteConnect app to use GPS only when it is needed and reduce battery usage.

There are other permissions that you can also enable for a more seamless SiteConnect experience. 

Camera: This allows you to take and upload photos while using SiteConnect.

Storage: When taking photos, using the camera, the SiteConnect app will automatically store the photo to your gallery.

 

Telephone: This allows you to tap a single button to make a call from within the SiteConnect app.

For any SiteConnect issues or questions, please contact us at support@sitesoft.com or call us on 0800 748 763.

How SiteConnect meets Google requirements for location data

You should never request location permissions from users for the sole purpose of advertising or analytics.

We do not use location data of our users for anything other than safely registering their presence on a construction or other worksite

Background location may only be used to provide features beneficial to the user and relevant to the core functionality of the app.

As described above the purpose of SiteConnect is to keep people SAFE whilst working remotely and potentially alone in high risk situations like construction. For their safety it is important for our customer Site Managers to know who is on site at any time. To reduce human error we provide functionality so users can potentially be signed into and out of site automatically via GPS location identification.  Use of the functionality  must be consented to by the Paying customer AND their employee user to enable their location ONLY  whilst on site to be tracked.  We have automatic notifications where an employee has not signed out from a site to enable follow up.

Apps designed specifically for children must comply with the Designed for Families policy.

SiteConnect is for remote workers and is not designed for use by children.  Our customers must comply with legislation relating to minimum age for workers.  Children visiting site might conceivably use the app but for the same safety purpose as adults.

Review Google best practices

We encourage all developers to review the following best practices for accessing location data in their apps:

Review the background location access checklist to identify any potential access in your code. 

SiteConnect developers have reviewed the checklist and have the following comments

  • The SiteConnect app uses and requires Fine Location access due to the issue of Geolocation drift described below
    • Geofence Zone Size and GPS-drifting

      SC MapOn the odd occasion, GPS-drifting occurs. GPS-drifting happens when GPS signals are poor and your GPS location appears all over the place. You could be standing inside the geofenced zone but when viewing the map, your GPS location could be elsewhere outside the geofenced zone. 

      You can view the map by opening the site from your list of accessible sites on the dashboard of the SiteConnect mobile app. Tap the map icon to the left of the site address at the top. It may take a few seconds for the blue dot to appear. If it does not appear, then close and re-open the map.

      By opening the map, it also triggers location checking. This means that if the blue dot appears inside the geofenced zone, you will be signed into the site.

      Take note of where your location appears with a blue dot and ask your employer or the company within SiteConnect that owns the site to extend the geofence in that general direction to account for GPS-drifting. 

      In the screenshot to the left, for demonstration purposes, the orange dot represents your actual location and the blue dot represents your GPS-drifted location. 

      Notice how the geofence was extended to cover the GPS-drifting area where the blue dot appears.

  • If your app targets Android 10 (API level 29) or higher, also check for the ACCESS_BACKGROUND_LOCATION permission. Verify that your app has a feature that requires it.
    • Refer above
  • Look for use of location access APIs, such as the Fused Location Provider APIGeofencing API, or LocationManager API, within your code such as in the following constructs:

    1. Background services
    2. JobIntentService objects
    3. WorkManager or JobScheduler tasks
    4. AlarmManager operations
    5. Pending intents that are invoked from an app widget
    • When the user has enabled GPS tracking, a background process will run to periodically send their location to the SiteConnect API. The SiteConnect API will determine if they are on any of the sites they have access to or not. If you are not onsite, your location data is discarded.



  • If your app uses an SDK or library that accesses location, this access is attributed to your app. To determine whether an SDK or library needs location access, consult the library's documentation.

  • Minimize your use of location by using the minimum scope necessary to provide a feature

    • (i.e., coarse instead of fine, foreground instead of background). Users should reasonably expect that the feature or service needs the level of location requested. For example, we may reject apps that request or access background location without adequate justification.

    • Location data when the user is not logged on to an enabled site or triggering automated logoff from a site is discarded
  • Review privacy best practices and ensure you have the proper disclosure and privacy policies in place.

This document is published as part of our knowledgebase

https://docs.sitesoft.com/why-do-we-need-background-access-to-location?