AirMapper – Not Quite Ready
**** While this initial review is still accurate for the version I reviewed we have received an updated version and will post a new review shortly! ****
If you remember we did a podcast episode on mobile devices and tools for them earlier and there wasn’t much out there for tools. Since that last podcast we have had a few new products start to popup on the Android side. One of the new products that we took a look at was the AirMapper ($199) program by Fluke Networks. I wanted to show some screen shots but my license was apparently disabled or time-bombed, one of the two. Unfortunately that will make this review quite a bit shorter. I’ve used quite a few different survey products (Ekahau - $399, Wolf WiFi - $49) on the tablets and I still haven’t really found them overly useful.
When I heard Fluke (AirMagnet) was going to be developing a survey application for the Android OS I was excited, I figured if anyone could do it right it would be them seeing as they already have other mobile tools (Air Check for example) but once I ran the application my excitement turned to disappointment.
Some of the very basic features I would assume to be there were missing, i.e. portrait mode locked, no way to use landscape. Anyone who has ever done a site survey knows that landscape mode is typically how you view a floorplan as they are usually wider than taller. Another basic feature seemingly missing is the AP icons for placement of APs. I couldn’t find a way to place an AP icon on the floorplan or move an automatically determined AP icon. Also where is the live view of the APs being detected? I know there are a bunch of apps in the Google Play store that can do that but where is it builtin?
Ok, so I was always brought up to not focus solely on negatives, look for positives as well. I liked the documentation aspect of the program, the abilities to add pictures, audio notes, video notes, etc to click points was great, but this also needs to be available for the AP icons mentioned above. If you have the Pro version you can export the project and open it up on the full desktop app for post processing, something that is key to any tablet based survey app. The program felt snappy, it didn’t seem like there was a huge delay in using and it and could work well for surveying a location for a tablet deployment (again with the above fixes).
The Critical Failure:
It would seem that if you don’t have support on your license that if you go to reinstall it or it does it’s periodic check in your app is dead in the water. If I’m paying $199 for an app I expect to use it as long as the device will run it, if there is a new version I should still be able to run my older version without support if I choose to do so. So I guess the moral here is buyer beware, you may not be able to continue to use your purchase if you discontinue support knowing that you lose future software revisions.