paid version of nearby explorer being discontinued

iOS and iPadOS

I just learned that that in September of 2019 which is now the paid version of nearby explorer is being discontinued and only the online version is available. Does this mean that APH will not be fixing the crashing issue for ios13 for the paid version? If so shame on you APH and I think if this is true we should get our $79.00 back. The paid version has been pulled from the app store for both apple and android.



Submitted by KE7ZUM on Sunday, September 29, 2019

This is true.. I knew about this in July or so of this year but we kind of were not aloud to say much on the subject. Sorry about that. Anyway, they are porting the stuff rom the paid version to the online version, all features we know and love. I'm actually looking forward to this move.

Submitted by Troy on Sunday, September 29, 2019

Thanks for the update, I'm glad they are importing the paid features to the online version. That makes me feel better that I didn't throw good money away. My concern was if it was a really cheap app I wouldn't of been so concerned but this is $79.00 we are talking about. I am having an issue with the online version, when I first launch the app it will tell me what's near by and things like that but then it goes to saying unknown on the street name and such.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Sunday, September 29, 2019

Like Troy, I feel that $80 is nothing to sneeze at. True, I bought the app shortly after it became available, so one could argue that I have already gotten my money's worth, but I'm not sure I'd agree. I hope that APH explains the situation more clearly, and a part of me still feels that those of us who paid $80 for the app should get a refund of some sort or other. Does this mean that I should deleete the offline version of the app from my phone, or might they bring it back to the app store when they fix whatever went wrong? I am very confused and concerned regarding APH's lack of communication regarding this whole thing. I did read that there was trouble with the offline app, but had the impression that it would be updated and all would go back to normal. If this is not the case, APH really needs to post something somewhere so users of the app have a clear understanding of what's going on.

Submitted by JeffB on Sunday, September 29, 2019

I am also anoied. I expect more from APH and don't understand why if they knew about this issue since July why they wouldn't address it sooner. This is my favorite GPS app and I really hope they fix it. I want on board maps and not just an online version... The app won't even open for me.

Submitted by Zachary on Sunday, September 29, 2019

I'm pretty excited because I never bought the paid version, but I can understand some peoples annoyance. I'm sure the crashing stuff will probably be fixed by the time the online update is ready to go.

Submitted by Daniel Angus MacDonald on Sunday, September 29, 2019

I paid $99.00 for Neirby Explorer. it's one of the big reasons I went with Android instead of iOS. And what will those who rely on onboard maps and who cannot afford a data plan? As soon as I get my phone fix, I'll be making an APK file of Nearby Explorer and backing it up to Google Drive so I will never lose this invaluable app.


Submitted by KE7ZUM on Sunday, September 29, 2019

The map stuff expired in July. This is when they said to use that the paid vesion would be no more. No more updates. Sorry folks.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Sunday, September 29, 2019

If those people who purchase the app between july and sept of this year need to get their money back. I was looking into getting it but when I could not find the app was concern. Those who got it can you say lawyer.

Submitted by dvdmth on Sunday, September 29, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

The paid version has been updated at least once since July, about a couple of weeks ago, with the same enhancements that were added to the online version. It is also my understanding that APH will update the paid version to fix the iOS 13.1 incompatibility. So it’s not completely dead, but it’s probably on its last legs.

They are promising that the features in the paid app will be ported to the online version. I am assuming they will use OSM for this, which is technically possible, but right now the experience with OSM in Nearby Explorer is really bad, so it needs a major overhaul in order to provide the same experience we’ve been having with NAVTEQ.

For example, where I live, if I switch my address provider to OpenStreetMap, the app fails to detect the street I am on, instead indicating that I am some 500 feet away from some other street to the southeast. This is because the street I am living on is a straight line, defined in the OSM database with only two nodes (one on either end of the street where it intersects other streets). It appears that NE can only detect your current street if you are near one of the nodes that define the street, not if you are in between them. If you were on a curved street, or one with a lot of intersections or points of interest along the route, then the current OSM implementation would be okay, but where I live it is a disaster, because there aren’t nearly enough nodes for the app to reflect my current location with any accuracy.

Microsoft Soundscapes, which also uses OSM to detect what street you’re on, does a much better job handling streets with relatively few nodes defining them. Although I have other issues with Soundscapes, it has never failed to detect what street I am on, at least in my neighborhood where the OSM data is reasonably accurate. If I go to a nearby neighborhood, where OSM has a bunch of unlabeled streets and is missing a few of them completely, then Soundscapes has trouble, but that isn’t Microsoft’s fault. It’s OSM’s, and although I did try to fix OSM issues myself by creating an account there, being of low vision my ability to edit the maps is extremely limited, and I could only fix some of the problems in my area.

Long story short, I am really going to miss NAVTEQ, though I can understand why APH is moving away from it. Services like NAVTEQ have fallen behind with the efforts Google and Apple have put into their own maps, and at least for the sighted community, there’s nobody close to them. But there’s no way Apple or Google will let NE use their data the way it needs to be used for the app to offer its current feature set, so it’s either pay to license a service that is becoming increasingly irrelevant, or switch to an open service that isn’t much better but at least offers a way for end users to fix the mistakes.

Submitted by DrummerGuy on Sunday, September 29, 2019

Too bad that they are doing away with the paid app. Just when I was thinking about downloading it and paying for it.
Now, can somebody explain to me what is this online version? Thank you.

Submitted by Angel Blessing on Monday, September 30, 2019

I had also thought of purchasing this app. as well; I wonder if they will be brining all the features over to the free version of the app. I can see why they are doing this but in a lot of ways I am confused why they are doing this.

Submitted by peter on Monday, September 30, 2019

I actually downloaded the free online version when APH announced the availability of the free app.

Currently the free app doesn't seem to have any turn-by-turn navigation capability - That only is functional in the paid version. I don't know if this feature will be ported over.

I guess we'll see. APH wasn't too clear about this. I don't know how they intend to fund the app if all functions are free. Maybe in app purchases?


Submitted by Pa. Joe on Monday, September 30, 2019

I use this app to keep from getting lost in the forest while listening to nature. Because it worked off line I had few concerns. Does anyone know of an app which can be used as gps off road for us blind folks? Just last week I lost the trail, and near by explower kept me from getting lost. They had no trouble advertising this app when it first came out.

What you're saying about in-app purchases makes sense, but I would hope that those of us who paid for the original app could somehow restore a purchase so we don't have to pay for that feature twice. I'm also wondering where Sarah is getting her info from; it seems that nobody else on this thread has any inside info, although I'm only up to comment 12 in the thread. I've deleted the original app for now, but I truly hope that either it comes back or we don't have to repurchase features we've already paid for. Disappointed by APH's lack of communication regarding this whole issue.

Submitted by Joseph on Monday, September 30, 2019

Unless or until APH publishes a blog post or some other medium by which they explain what's going on here, I will not trust any information I read here as being factual.

Submitted by JeffB on Monday, September 30, 2019

I messaged APH on facebook and this was their reply.
American Printing House for the Blind
Hi Jeff! Nearby Explorer is NOT going to be discontinued as a product. When Apple released 31.1, it caused some issues with the app. We put out a notification on our list-serve and on Twitter for users not to upgrade, but I know we missed some customers. So sorry for that!

We are working on a fix right now to get the app working again, but right now we haven't found a solution. For now, the free version of the App (Nearby Explorer Online) is still working.

We have started a new spin-off company, Access Explorer, that is working hard on our app. We are expecting a lot of improvements in the near future that will be great for users.

On a separate note: We are working to boost the features of the free app to match that of the paid app. We are wanting to move away from paid, to ensure all users can use our app.

We'll be putting out more updates as soon as we can. Lot's of exciting things coming soon.

Again, so sorry about your app not working right now!

When I asked about the app on Droid this was their responce.
American Printing House for the Blind
Good question! Yes, if you look at the app description on the Android store, we're asking people not to buy the paid app. We still have it there so we can update it for current users.

The plan is to remove the paid app once the free app has all the functionality of the paid app. Developers are working on that now.

At that point we'll continue to develop the free app. We love our app, but we're excited to keep pushing the boundaries of technology to see what it is possible for wayfinding!

If you want you're own responce or want them to answer questions they answered fast on Facebook.

Submitted by PinkCupcake5 on Wednesday, October 2, 2019

I bought the paid version a while ago. Way to throw money out the window.
Also, a combination of Soundscape and google Maps ended up providing more information anyway.

Submitted by Julian on Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Putting aside the fact that IOS 13.1 beta became available to developers in August, Now that it's been available to the mainstream public since September 24, I don't understand why APH still hasn't issued a fix even though Other apps that were having similar issues such as LastPasss and Envision AI have been fixed via an update. And before someone points out that APH is a small developer for a small market, please note that Envision AI is also an app for this small market yet it was fixed. Given what we paid for Nearby explorer, in my opinion, there's no excuse why it has still not been fixed or at the very least, why the free online version can't be updated to include the full functionality of the paid version, which is what they were planning to do eventually.

Submitted by JeffB on Wednesday, October 2, 2019

They are planning to update the free version and it is frustrating they are discontinuing the paid version. As I understand it though the high price was for the on board maps. Since they are switching to free maps I think that's why it is going to be free.

Submitted by dvdmth on Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Club AppleVis Member

In response to the one frustrated by the fact that other apps were fixed but NE is not, bear in mind that the reasons why the different apps were crashing under iOS 13.1 may not be the same, and a fix may not be possible without help from Apple (that is, we may not have a working version until a future iOS update). Based on what has been communicated, it sounds like APH is having trouble figuring out a way to resolve the issue. Without any knowledge of exactly what the issue is, I cannot say how feasible a solution is, but I know from doing some programming in the past that some bugs can be a huge pain to resolve. Often fixing one bug causes others to surface, and the more you fix the farther you seem to be to having a working product.

At least APH is committed to getting a solution out there as soon as possible. Having once been on the beta test team for this app, I have no doubt they are sincere in what they say. I only wish they communicated all this better.

One podcast I listen to is hosted by a couple of app developers, and they had some unkind things to say about this year’s beta cycle. One went so far to say that the versions of iOS shipping now should still be treated as betas, as he is running into various system bugs that would normally only be seen in June or July, during the early days of the iOS beta cycle. The only reason iOS 13 shipped at all is because Apple had to release it for the new hardware. I do not envy the predicament iOS developers are in right now, since they are the ones that have to work around Apple’s bugs and hopefully get a usable product out there.

Submitted by Julian on Thursday, October 3, 2019

They should've at the very least warned users of NE paid version not to update to IOS 13.1 until either they or Apple fixed the issue. I was one of the beta testers for both the IOS and Android apps and found that until recently they were quick and informative in their communications hence the reason I was very surprised that we were not warned.