This release introduces an important feature which I know many users have been waiting for: the ability to save a "live" scene, which continues to be interactive after it has been saved and then later retrieved from memory. Now, when you tap the Save button at the top left of the screen, you will be offered three options:
• Save as static image
• Save as live scene
Save as static image is the same as the original save feature: it simply saves an image of what is on your screen, which can be retrieved later. The saved image will include any drawing which has been retained on the screen using the "Freeze" button.
Save as live scene will remember all that is on your screen so it can be reproduced later in "live" form. When you retrieve the scene from memory, objects you added to the view will appear exactly as they were when you saved the scene and they will continue to be interactive just as they were when you first added them. Signals will also be remembered so indicators will continue to flash after you have called up your saved scene from memory.
Email simply takes a snapshot of what is on your screen and places it into an email composer which allows you to add any relevant text, input an address to send it to, and (as long as you are connected to the internet) send the image via email.
More features added to Road Board in this update:
✓ Cars can now show brake lights & reverse lights - triple tap the car to access these options
✓ Basic traffic lights can now be used for pelican crossings - double tap the traffic light when it's showing red to trigger the flashing amber light
✓ You can now adjust the pen size when drawing
✓ New items have been added including a sharp corner (which can be used to replace the more rounded corners)
✓ A couple of new road users have been added, including a special guest among the ORUs
✓ An updated and expanded user manual has been added - tap the "i" button and select "Help" to see it
✓ Full support for Retina displays
✓ Various bug fixes, usability tweaks and other minor enhancements
As always, I've tested all the new features and am not aware of any bugs in the app at the time of release. However, there is always the possibility that one or more bugs will have crept in along with the many changes made to the app. Please don't hesitate to get in touch and let me know if you find anything that seems to be amiss.
If you don't already own a copy of Road Board, I suggest you get yourself along to the App Store and grab yourself a copy now!
The focus is on Zebra, Pelican and Puffin crossings. Once you know what you're doing with these three, you also know what to do at Toucan and Pegasus/Equestrian crossings.
The app emphasises the approach to the junction and the importance of starting the MSM routine early.
Top tip: in the Pelican and Puffin sections, turn on the "Anticipation" switch and pause the animation just after the pedestrian appears on screen. A little info button will appear. Tap the button to show a close-up image of the pedestrian reaching out to push the button.
Hit the button below to get it now on the iTunes App Store.
When you have an event planned, add it to the app so you have a record of all the events you are going to attend. You can easily insert the event into your device's calendar and set a reminder.
Once you've attended the CPD event, mark it as completed. It will then be removed from your planned list and added to your completed list. The completed list maintains a tally of the number of CPD hours you have completed to date.
For each event, you can add your own notes and pinpoint it on a map so you can easily get directions if needed.
CPD is free to download and use. Small adverts may appear from time to time within the app. If you want to use it without any adverts, you can make an in-app purchase for 69p which will remove them permanently.
CPD is currently optimised for use on the iPhone. Native iPad integration is planned for the future. In the meantime the iPhone version of the app can be installed and run on an iPad.
Hit the button below to get it now on the iTunes App Store.
• Rear wheel steering: steering has been greatly improved, giving a more realistic impression of how cars really move when turning corners.
• Stop junction: a stop junction has been added to the Emerging section of the app.
• Give Way & Stop signs: these have been added to the Emerging section of the app.
• Variable pen width & colour: these can be changed in your iPad's Settings app.
Emergency Stop received an update with some new features around a month ago. Here's what was included:
• Stopping distances chart.
• Image showing how to look for feet behind parked vehicles. This can be found in the planning section by pausing the animation when the pedestrians are passing behind the parked van. Once paused, tap the info button to show the image.
• In the skidding section, the car will now be shown skidding out of control if you steer the wrong way when trying to correct a skid.
Show Me Tell Me options: Now you can view the full list of DSA vehicle safety questions and answers within the app. Just tap the info ("i") button on the main screen where your pupils are listed. You can also email the questions and answers to your pupil from the pupil's Details section. Once sent, Records will remember that you've sent them, although you can always send again at any time.
Keep others in the loop: In your pupil's Details section, you can add an additional email address. Scroll down and select the option to "Cc Emails". Now every time you send a progress update, a copy will automatically be sent to the additional email address. Perfect for keeping parents constantly informed about their child's progress.
Instructor Apps integration: If you use the Instructor Apps web service, you can tell Records to automatically send a copy of each progress update to Instructor Apps. Instructor Apps will identify which pupil the update is for and add it to their online record. To enable Instructor Apps integration, select Records in your device's Settings app.
Help & FAQ: When you tap the info ("i") button on the main screen there are a couple more options in addition to being able to view the the Show Me Tell Me questions. There also a Help page, which is basically a user manual for the app, and third page which lists some frequently asked questions and answers relating to the app.
Lesson Times: This is a major feature and something that a number of users have asked for. You can now use Records to maintain a list of each pupil's preferred lesson times. You can reorder the list to show the pupil's order of preference. When you want to add a lesson to your diary, all you need to do is tap it. The calendar interface will pop up on your screen, you can make any changes you wish, or just tap the Done button to proceed. The lesson will be added to your diary without you having to leave the Records app. The new lesson will then sync with iCloud or Google Calendar, depending on how you have your calendar set up. This makes adding the next lesson to your diary so fast and simple it's hard to believe.
Also: New fields for Progress and Country Roads have been added. The user interface has received various tweaks and performance enhancements.
I've got plenty more planned for this app and development work is ongoing as you read this. If you don't already use Records, it's a steal at £3.99 and is available on the App Store by tapping the button below. If you do already have the app, the update with all of the above features is absolutely free!
• In the Planning section, if you quit and then relaunch the app during one of the animations, strange things will happen.
• In the Planning section, if you pause the action and then reset while still paused, the blue car will be frozen in place and not move out the way of parked vehicles. Other weird things may also happen.
• In the Skidding section, if you turn the wheel right around while skidding, you can correct the skid by turning the wheel the wrong way.
All these bugs have been fixed and I've submitted an update to Apple for their approval. Hopefully they'll get it released with the minimum of delay.
If you come across any issues which are not listed above, please let me know as soon as you can. Include a list of steps to reproduce the bug and I'll get it fixed.
• Pause button: tap to pause the animations while they are in progress
• Camber button: tap to show an image of the camber in Turn In The Road and Parallel Park
• Additional signalling options for communicating with ORUs in Parallel Park
• Variable turning position for Parallel Park
• Change pen width & colour via your iPad's Settings app
• Spelling corrections: I still manage to get "break" and "brake" confused sometimes!
Click here to see a video of the adjustable Parallel Park position in action.
Most instructors have certain roads they like to cover with all pupils in order to ensure they gain the right range of experience in practice. The trouble is, after a few lessons it becomes very difficult to remember which roads have been covered and which have not. With Routes, you can record the route for each lesson, making it easy to check where you've been and where you have not.
The first version of Routes is optimised specifically for the iPhone. I'm still working on the interface for the iPad. The app can run on an iPad in its current form, but the interface will not be ideal as it's designed for the smaller screen of the iPhone. A 3G enabled iPad is required.
UPDATE 30/12/12: This version of Routes will not run on an iPad which unless iOS 6 or higher is installed. If you want to use this app on an iPad with iOS 5.1 or iOS 5.1.1 you will need to wait for the next version.
UPDATE 14/01/12: iPad optimisation has now been added to the app.
Hit the button below to get it now on the iTunes App Store.
I've recently sent updates to Apple for Records and Road Pad. These updates are still awaiting approval and release.
The changes to Records are as follows:
Option to set alternative prices (for student discount etc)
Option to include details of latest payment in email to pupil
Option to sort pupils alphabetically by surname
The Road Pad update fixes an bug that could cause an image to display incorrectly after changing the image's name.
1. You can use the app to store payments for each pupil
2. You can make a backup copy of your database at any time via iTunes
3. You can add inactive pupils to an archive, which will keep their record for you but also keep it out of the way
Version 2.0 also fixes a bug which, in certain circumstances, could cause a pupil's date of birth to not be saved.
The update has been submitted to Apple for approval. It usually takes around a week for them to review an app before it can go live on the App Store.
1. After installing the update, open your iPhone's Settings app
2. Scroll down the list of apps until you find Road Pad Mini and tap to select it
3. Enable the switch to Use Web Maps
4. Exit the Settings app and open Road Pad Mini to start using Google Maps
As with Road Pad, if you're using iOS 5, Apple's maps will not be available and you'll continue to use Google Maps regardless. In this case, performance is slightly improved with Use Web Maps switched off. However, enabling web maps allows access to Google Street View, which can be a very handy feature.
1. After installing the update and launching the app, select the Satellite view
2. Tap the settings button (represented by the cog icon)
3. Enable the switch to Use Web Maps
4. Start using Google Maps
If you are still using iOS 5, Apple's maps will not be available and you will continue to use Google Maps regardless. In this case, I think performance is slightly improved when Use Web Maps is switched off. However, enabling web maps allows access to Google Street View, which can be a very handy feature.
It is with this update that I now feel there's no reason to continue avoiding iOS 6.
The update also includes the ability to change the default pen size for drawing and a few other minor enhancements and bug fixes.
There should soon be a similar update for Road Pad Mini which will provide the same Use Web Maps option via the iPhone's Settings app. Again, this will need to be enabled to make use of Google Maps and Street View.
The Bird Stories is an interactive storybook written and illustrated by the excellent Aimee Lockwood. Aimee is responsible for creating Otis the octopus (of Textopus fame) and also for the illustrations in Learn To Drive: Controls. You can read more about The Bird Stories on Aimee's blog.
Hit the button below to get it now:
Unfortunately, a new (iOS 6 only) bug has just come to light. This bug will only show itself if you exit the app and then relaunch it while it's still in your iPad's memory. In this case, you will not be able to swipe through the D.S.S.S.M routine. Force quitting and relaunching the app fixes the problem temporarily.
A further update with a fix for this bug has been submitted to Apple and should go live within the next few days.
I've worked to provide the user with a lot more direct control over the cars in this app. You can start and stop each vehicle as it suits you, including the option to pause and reset the animations at any time. You can also take control of the signals given by other road users, allowing you to show them getting it wrong as well as right!
I think instructors are going to really appreciate being able to set up their own situations in this app by controlling each car individually.
Click the button below to get it now:
Alphabetical sorting: You can now view your pupil list in alphabetical order or according to which record was most recently updated. You can set the default sorting option by selecting Records in your iPad's Settings app.
New fields: There are new fields for the following skills:
Junctions - Turning Left
Junctions - Turning Right
Junctions - Emerging Left
Junctions - Emerging Right
Junctions - Crossroads
Junctions - Traffic Lights
If you're wondering what happens to your old notes for Junctions, these will be moved to the new Traffic Lights category.
Custom skill levels: You can now define your own skill levels for grading performance, so you are not limited to using Introduced, Full Instruction, Prompted etc. Select Records in your iPad's Settings app to customise skill levels.
Other Traffic field becomes Meeting Other Traffic
Reversing field becomes Reversing Around A Corner
Parking field becomes Parallel Parking
As usual, the update is free and can be downloaded via the iTunes App Store.
The main incentive for me to buy this app was the ability to search the Highway Code using keywords and quickly find the section you're looking for. This is a big improvement over both the paper and the PDF versions.
This is an essential app for any driving instructor and, along with the DSA's Theory Test Kit, ideal for learners too.
Both apps are available on the iTunes App Store:
Official Highway Code
The Official DSA Theory Test Kit for Car Drivers
I've tried to make this app more than just a series of images by adding interactive elements wherever possible. It's not easy to imitate the way car controls work - the way the indicators click on and off, the pedals spring back up when released and hands slide around the wheel when using the push/pull steering method.
The end result is, I think, the most useful resource currently available to a driving instructor for teaching the controls lesson.
Controls just got even better with the new update which adds a whole new section on vision and blindspots, as well as some enhancements to the steering section of the app. You can now add a clock face to the wheel to help in explaining where the hands should be and how they should move. You can also demonstrate how the wheels of the car turn in response to the turning of the steering wheel. This could be especially useful outside of the controls lesson, such as when teaching parallel park.
The other major enhancement in this update is the addition of more comprehensive briefings for each section. These briefings will be especially useful for learners using the app to brush up on their controls knowledge in between lessons. Just tap on the wee info buttons for a description of each control and how it should be used.
Over the years, I've tried various paper-based systems for storing pupil records. All of them have suffered from the same fundamental flaw: either I have the record of the pupil's progress, or the pupil has it.
Probably the better of these two options is that the pupil takes it away with them, but this would cause two further problems: I would have to make some additional notes for my own reference, and the pupil could not be relied upon to bring their copy of the record to each lesson for updating.
This situation desperately needed fixing, and that's why I developed Records.
Records uses the official DSA syllabus for driver training. It enables you to record the pupil's current standard for each of the various driving skills, the date that level was achieved, and additional notes for each skill if required.
The real beauty of the app is that this record can be instantly emailed to the pupil as soon as it's completed at the end of each lesson. (Obviously an internet connection is required to send the email, so if you have an iPad with wi-fi only you might have to wait until you get home to send out your progress records.)
The Records app enables you to keep detailed records of your pupils' progress while also keeping your pupils in the loop, so they'll come to each lesson knowing what they're doing well and what needs more work. They should also gain a better overall picture of what they need to do before they're ready to pass their test.
When training is complete, you have a record of everything that was done and the date on which it was achieved. You can email this record to yourself and, if necessary, print it out for safe keeping.
Records is a universal app so you can use it on an iPhone or an iPad. It's available now on the iTunes App Store for only £2.99.
What are you waiting for? Go get it!
Requirements: Records requires iOS 5.1 or higher.
Cars have indicators - use the contextual menu (double tap) to active and deactivate signals.
You can add the following routines to the view: POM, MSM, LADA, MSPSL. Position the letters anywhere you want on screen.
You can now choose from seven different colours when drawing.
You can now save your own backgrounds. Construct a custom "scene" using one of the standard backgrounds then tap the Save button. Give your scene a name, and you can retrieve it anytime by tapping on the Saved button. You can use three finger swipes to switch between your saved scenes.
The following five new road images have been added: Unmarked Crossroads, Roundabout Approach, Double Mini Roundabout, Traffic Lights Left Filter and Y-Junction.
Two new (bigger) pedestrians have been added.
You can add cones to the view for roadworks situations.
You can add a double hatched area for turning.
Three finger left/right swipe is now animated.
Selecting a new background from the menu clears all objects from the view. Three finger left/right swipe leaves the objects in place.
The horrible green car has been replaced with a nice yellow car.
This app explains the basics of UK driving using a series of animations in different situations. The situations all involve Give Way junctions - the most common type of junction in Britain. This is usually the first junction a beginner driver learns to do, and as a result this is where many of the basics are picked up.
Click here for more details.
Give Way is available on the iTunes App Store for £2.99.
Manoeuvres is ideal for anyone who wants to get to know UK driving manoeuvres inside-out. All manoeuvres are broken down into stages so you can work through them step by step. Each stage is animated, and you can skip forwards and backwards through the animations as needed.
The app also includes full briefings for each manoeuvre.
More details are here.
I've also updated Road Pad Mini to allow drawing in different colours. This update has been submitted to Apple and should be available soon.
More details on Road Board.
There are some basic text templates in the app to begin with, but you can easily replace them with your own ones if you like. Sending a message is as simple as firing up the app, tapping on a message and pressing the send button. Then you just select who you want the message to go to and off it goes. Simples!
You need to have an iPhone running iOS 5 for this app. iPad compatibility will be coming in the future if there's a demand. You can use Textopus with the iMessage service as well as ordinary SMS.
What are you waiting for? Go get it!
I've received a lot of suggestions for how to improve this app. To implement all of them would require a complete rewrite, something which I haven't been able to do this time. However, I've implemented the most essential (and most commonly requested) features: the ability to undo/redo while drawing, and the ability to open any image from the iPad's photo library.
The app is still limited to portrait mode for a variety of reasons, some to do with usage practicalities and some to do with technical issues. Suffice it to say, if you're opening an image from your photo library it'll be best if that image is portrait rather than landscape.
I've spruced up the interface a little and got rid of the unnecessary bottom toolbar, allowing more space for images and drawing. I've also improved error handling so you're less likely to lose or overwrite a file.
Road Pad has worked brilliantly for me as a teaching aid. It's never crashed or given me any problems of any sort. I hope you've had similarly good experiences with it, and I hope this version continues to work as seamlessly as the previous one.
If you like the app, please take a moment to write a glowing review on the App Store! Good reviews really help to inspire me to improve my apps and produce more.
I'm already thinking about what can be done in the next version of Road Pad. If you've already sent me your suggestions and I haven't been able to implement them this time, don't worry - I'll be trying to figure out how to implement them in the future.
I wouldn't expect anyone to pay £2.99 to have this on their phone, so I've created it as a separate app with a cheaper price, rather than make it a universal app. Get it now - only £0.69!
Road Pad for iPad is due an update and I've been thinking about what needs to be done. Writing Road Pad Mini has helped me come up with a few ideas regarding how to improve the interface. I've also figured out how to implement the undo/redo function, which is a much-needed feature. Look out for the Road Pad update coming to your iPad soon!
I've been using the app in lessons to test it out and it's been extremely helpful to be able to put together a diagram for an independent route any time, any place.
This is a good way to ensure your pupils are not taken aback when asked during their test to follow a series of directions sketched out on a piece of paper being shown to them by the examiner. I've taken care to make the diagrams as similar as possible to the ones used by the DSA.
Indy Drive is available now on the iTunes App Store. Get it here.
I'm still not 100% happy with the results. There are some trade-offs I've had to make in the latest version. The main one is image format. The driving test report form used in the app has been in PNG format from the beginning. This is generally the best and easiest image format to use in iOS, mainly because PNG file sizes are small and images load quickly. However, I would prefer to be sending the test result in PDF format as this is normally the easiest and best format to use on the desktop for viewing, printing etc.
Currently, Mock Test stores and sends the test results in PNG format. I had to settle for this because PDF format is not so suitable for the main interface of the app (in which the test is carried out), and to convert later from PNG to PDF is a little too complicated. I've done some experiments with PDF conversions and I'm not happy with the results so far. I also ran into complications with iOS 4.3 and iOS 5 giving different results during my experiments. Bearing in mind that I want the app to continue to be stable and reliable, the simplest thing to do for now is to stick with the PNG format from start to finish.
Another trade-off is printing functionality. I received a request to include this in the app and looked into ways it could be done. Although I would be unlikely to use a printing function myself, I wanted to include it in the app if possible. This is something that will have to wait, however, as it would require PDF functionality. Part of the joy of iPads and email is that we don't need to print things nearly as much as we used to, and we should be glad about the amount of paper and ink we can save as a result! Nevertheless, I will continue to consider options for including printing support in a future version of the app. In the meantime, if you really want to print out test results, you can email them to yourself and print out the PNG attachment to the email.
I chose to type out the entire text of "The Driving Test Explained" from the sheet that accompanies official driving test results. Initially I looked at including the original sheets in image format, but this would have increased the size of the email by too much. It's already a pretty large email with just the single sheet attached, so putting the explanation in text form made more sense. It occurred to me that some may prefer not to have this text included in the email but I decided it makes more sense to have it, and if you really don't want it you can delete it from the email before sending. Be careful though: if you "Select All" then delete, you'll delete the attachment as well!
Other points to note:
If you don’t send an email but instead choose to save it as a draft, the process will take a while. There is currently no progress notification in the app while this is happening.
If you try to email a test result and you don't have a network connection at the time, the app will tell you the email has been sent but in fact it will not send until your iPad is back online. You should not need to do anything else as the iPad’s Mail app will hang on to the message until it can be sent.
That’s it. I hope you enjoy the new functionality in the app, and that your pupils benefit from having the extra information about their mock tests!
The idea is very simple: As an instructor you want to give an engaging briefing that shows your pupil exactly what a manoeuvre entails. As a learner, you want to study the manoeuvres in between lessons, memorising the many details you're required to demonstrate in the driving test. If you're a trainee instructor, you need to know these manoeuvres inside out and back to front.
The Manoeuvres app is essential for all these groups. It's also pretty handy for full licence holders who'd like a quick and easy reminder of how things ought to be done.
Check it out...
Mock Test version 1.1 implements the ability to save test sheets and retrieve them later for review. The next version of the app will include the ability to send test results via email.
Road Pad version 1.1 addresses an issue which meant the default satellite view was always centred and zoomed on the British Isles. The update allows you to select your preferred view and then save it as the default. This means you can set a view of your local area as the default, so it will be quicker and easier for to find the exact view you want. You can, of course, use the ‘Show Location’ button at any time to identify and zoom in on your current position.
The update will be done in two stages to minimise the likelihood of any bugs creeping in. It will also mean users can start taking advantage of the save and retrieve function while the email/PDF function is still being worked on.
If your iPad is the 3G variety, and connected to the network, you can bring up a satellite view of pretty much any location. Even if your iPad is Wi-Fi only, you can still load up and save a selection of images which are useful to you, and retrieve them any time while you’re out on the road.
The only limitation to what you can view from above is the quality of satellite images available. In many cities, the quality is excellent, and you can provide for your pupil a detailed overview of any situation. If you don’t currently have high-definition images available for your area, don’t worry because you probably will soon. See below for how to check the image quality of satellite views in your area.
Also included with Road Pad is the ability to overlay a map onto the satellite image, just like the ‘Hybrid’ view in the Maps app. This is to make it easier for you to find a particular location if you’re struggling with the satellite image on its own.
If you can’t get the exact image you need from the satellite view, or if you want to explain something very specific to your pupil, you can switch to the blank view within the app and easily draw whatever you like.
Road Pad is designed to be flexible and easy to use. There’s no limit to the amount of situations in which it can help you to get your message across!
Click here to take a closer look.
How to check satellite image quality:
Open the Maps app on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch and tap the ‘page curl’ image in the bottom right corner. Select ‘Satellite’ from the view options. Tap the arrow icon to identify your current location, then zoom in as far as you can by either double-tapping the screen or pinching outwards with two fingers. The same gestures can be used to manipulate the satellite view inside the Road Pad app. You can also zoom out by tapping the screen with two fingers together or pinching two fingers towards each other. Pan around by dragging your finger across the screen.