WP 8.1 applications unable to track location in the background? Your vote needed!

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One of the features of Windows Phone 8 was that third party applications could continue doing certain things in the background under strict limitations - for example, tracking location. Meaning that third party sports tracking applications (/fitness/navigation/whatever) were possible. With Windows Phone 8.1 and Silverlight/WinRT 'Universal' applications, there's no facility for this at all, which is very curious. Microsoft suggests developers stick with producing 'older' Windows Phone 8 applications, which are handled in a compatible fashion. However, there's clearly a need here - and, handily, there are at least a couple of Microsoft User Voice threads which AAWP readers might like to help vote up, linked below.

One of our favourite developers, Harald Meyer, points out:

During development of a new app for Windows Phone 8.1 I noticed that Microsoft has removed the background GPS tracking feature in Windows Phone 8.1 (for new apps). Background tracking is vital for many apps, especially sports and navigation apps where you want to record tracks. I have no clue why they removed this feature as the sports and navigation apps category is one of the fastest growing on other platforms.

Microsoft's User Voice forums offer a platform where users can vote for new features (by entering an email address and a vote) - these already contain two topics for GPS background tracking:

Screenshot from User Voice

As Harald points out, restricting background operation, and specifically GPS tracking, for the next generation of Windows Phone 8.1/Windows 8.1/Windows 10 applications, seems very short-sighted. Please place your vote if you get time and let's try and make sure that Microsoft puts a suitable API into Silverlight/WinRT as soon as possible.

Harald's own GPS-aware applications include Vectorial Map Lite here, and screenshotted below. We need this type of GPS-tracking application to be possible in the brave new Windows world, surely?