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External GPS sources for Mappt Part 2: Mapping in the Field with RTK GNSS (survey-grade GPS)

In our last post we covered how to configure your tablet or phone to receive an external GPS signal via Bluetooth.  Here we share our experience of linking up Mappt with survey-grade RTK GNSS (Real Time Kinematic Global Navigation Satellite System) to achieve centimetre-level positional accuracy.

Utilising RTK GNSS and Mappt for centimetre-level positional accuracy

Utilising RTK GNSS and Mappt for centimetre-level positional accuracy

Achieving Survey-Grade Positional Accuracy with Mappt

Joe user asks, “Hey how can I achieve high positional accuracy with Mappt?

The short answer is, “Bluetooth to an RTK GNSS to achieve centimetre level accuracy“.

What’s GNSS?

GNSS, is the collective term for all satellite positioning systems which includes GPS (USA), BeiDou (China), GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (Europe), IRNSS (India), and QZSS (Japan).  Phones, tablets, and survey-grade systems use satellites from multiple positioning systems, thus we’re referring to these systems as GNSS (rather than GPS).

The Benefits of Using Mappt in conjunction with RTK GNSS

Mappt’s flexibility and onboard functionality helps users achieve the full benefits of high accuracy RTK GNSS while in the field.  For example when using Mappt in conjunction with RTK GNSS, users have in-field access to these mapping tools;

  • Locate and save point features with unlimited attributes
  • Thematic Mapping gives users the ability to colour code mapped information while in the field
  • Layering of data types to achieve hierarchal data structure and visualisation
  • Interactive functionality (exclusion & inclusion zone warnings) improving field safety
  • The ability to display web-based aerial/satellite imagery and other GIS information such as WMS, WMTS, & WFS
    • With a data connection, this data is continuously updated as you move to new areas
  • Offline display of high resolution aerial and satellite images (ECW, JP2)
  • Multi-user data capture & updates using MapptAir.

RTK GNSS Gear

In our previous post we detailed how to configure your mobile device to receive location information via Bluetooth.  Thanks to Mangoesmapping and Ascon Surveys both for their technical support and equipment (on loan) used to complete our trial.  We found the Emlid Reach RS RTK GNSS units (available from Mangoesmapping) suitable for this trial.

Our Field Experience

The following data was acquired in less than one hour (including setup and pack down of the RTK base unit and survey pole mounted rover unit).  Data collection in this small urban bushland was on-the-fly as point types were added as deemed necessary.  Points types collected included kerb locations, footpath limits and walking tracks.  Point types were added to our field form as necessary thus the list of point types was added to as new elements were observed.  *To save time, a dropdown list of point ID’s can be created prior to leaving for the site.  In the limited time spent onsite, three point IDs were all that was necessary.  We also utilised the geotracking utility to map in the trails crossing the site as well as to create a geofenced area at the park’s centre.  Lastly we tested Mappt’s geofence alerts feature by entering and exiting our geofenced area.  Have a look at this video showing how it works.

Mappt mobile GIS data gathering using RTK GNSS at Signal Hill, Belmont, WA

Mappt mobile GIS data gathering using RTK GNSS at Signal Hill, Belmont, WA

What we took away from the experience.

It was a simple step to download all data gathered to shape files and import them into QGIS.  We mapped in such features as the back of kerb, footpath limits, and bush tracks.  RTK GNSS units have the ability to validate/qualify positional information with an audible “Fixed” to indicate that positional information is within your specified accuracy.  Likewise when the positional information is below spec an audio warning “Float” will alert users that possibly more time at that location is needed to gain a fixed position or that trees or buildings are hampering satellite reception.  Our recommendation is to have this activated on your RTK GNSS receivers to eliminate collecting data of low positional uncertainty (occurs in areas of high tree cover and when adjacent to tall buildings) .

QGIS map showing GIS data gathered using RTK GNSS and Mappt

QGIS map showing GIS data gathered using RTK GNSS and Mappt

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How Smart Technology is Saving Species

Habitat loss, global climate change, poaching and human disruptions have all caused enormous devastation to wildlife biodiversity all over the world.

How can we reverse the damage humans have done? Or prevent future harm to endangered species?

Progressions in technologies, created only in recent times, has redefined our knowledge of how animals live.

By understanding the geographical habits of an animal, we can make more informed decisions that will revolutionise conservation.

satellite technology for wildlifeSmart Maps

In almost real-time, using remote sensors, satellite imagery and GPS tracking, wildlife conservationists now have the ability to follow enigmatic creatures that was once considered impossible.

With the breakthrough in satellite technology and the growing number of satellites, both public and private in nature, allow conservationists to gain an unparalleled perspective on what’s happening around the globe.

Imagery can reveal information about climactic conditions and vegetation type, which can aid in predicting animal movements. Dense colonies like emperor penguins in the Antarctic, can also be tracked and mapped with satellites.

By revealing the world in extraordinary detail and by allowing more people in more places to access this data and technology, we are slowly safeguarding our wildlife.

cheetah smart collarSmart Collars

We’re not just talking about GPS tracking, ‘Smart’ collars collect almost the same amount of data that our wearable fitness bracelets do.

This technology allows wildlife managers to remotely monitor an animal’s movement patterns, when they’re sleeping or how they’re hunting. These collars can tell you practically anything about an animal’s activities.

Researchers anticipate that by visualising and knowing exactly what a species does in a day, they can further understand them, potentially predict behaviour and in turn reduce human conflict.

smart phone mapping wildlifeSmart Phones

Now that we’ve got smart collars and smart maps, what would happen if we were to integrate this collected data into our smart phones?

Mobile technologies have been introduced to make viewing, collecting and sharing data when out in the field to be seamless, efficient and integrated.

Mobile mapping and GIS app, Mappt, is an example of a downloadable phone app that allows users to view satellite imagery or animal movement patterns or GPS tracking, layer by layer.

Mappt allows users to collect new data and add to the mapping visualisation tool. Users can add geotagged photos and create geofences to prevent people out in the field from entering exclusion zones.

This app can be assimilated into any GIS software, importing and exporting any kind of data to your desktop computer. Mappt has been used to map and track cheetah populations in Iran.

Saving The World

Digital location based technology is changing wildlife conservation in more and more profound ways.

Geographical information and the ability to view data anywhere and anytime is a valuable tool for conservationists and wildlife ecologists saving the animals, one location at a time.

Sources

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What is Mobile GIS and why is it so important right now?

What is GIS?

Ok let’s take a few steps back, what’s GIS you say? Geographic Information Systems.

Still too scary? Well basically, and I mean very basically it’s mapping.

National Geographic defines GIS as “a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface.”

GIS can show several types of information on one map. This map has 3 layers – streets, buildings, and vegetation. GIS enables us to see and understand noteworthy patterns and relationships.
Understanding the location element of any kind of data helps us to discover facts about the world we live in.

We can use maps to see change or relationships in population for urban planning, pollution for environmental hazards, soils for agriculture, rock characteristics for geology or telephone poles for asset management. These examples offer only a glimpse into the incredible means GIS and mapping technologies provide.

GIS layers on map

What is Mobile GIS?

Ok now that we’ve wrapped our heads around GIS lets dive a little deeper into mobile. Yep, you guessed it, ‘mobile’ GIS is simply the power of GIS in the palm of our hands.

With the rise of the smartphone era, people now need access to information at every moment of the day. This is critical to performing tasks in the field or on location. Mobile GIS allows people to access the entirety of their spatial data on a tablet or mobile phone. Not only can people view this data anywhere at any time, but they can add, manipulate and share the information in real time.

According to the recent Technavio report, the global mobile GIS market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.04% during the period 2016-2020. According to the report, it is because of the growing need for continuous and constant access to geospatial data and an increaseof mobile viewing in remote areas, without internet.

Mobile GIS companies must tackle the complex nature of programming on this platform and be fully functional offline for use in isolated areas. The creator of Mappt, Takor Group, has also been named a prominent vendor in the Global Mobile GIS Market.

Want to try a mobile GIS app? Download Mappt for a free trial.

Or check out the data collection version of Mappt for iOS users here: www.mapptelements.com.au

 

Ssiobhan-profile2iobhan Herne
Marketing and Communications

Siobhan has no background in GIS, she’s a beginner, just like you. Follow her stories for an easier digest of all things geospatial.

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Collector for ArcGIS vs Mappt – Feature Comparison Table

Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS and Takor’s Mappt are both widely used mobile GIS applications – but which has more in depth features and which is better value for money?

Below is a side by side comparison of all the features of ArcGIS Collector and Mappt.

For a more in depth review of the components of the two apps visit our previous blog post here.

Mappt vs ArcGISCollector Esri - feature comparison table

Mappt mobile GIS was designed and created for the field.

The geologist, the farmer, the miner, the data collector – whoever you are, wherever you are, Mappt is for the user. We strive to be the best mobile mapping app on the market.

If you need a further explanation of some of the differences between Mappt and Collector for ArcGIS click here.

We’d love to know which you prefer Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS or Mappt? Do you agree with our table? Comment below, Like us on Facebook or email info@mappt.com.au to contribute to the future of location technology.

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*Mappt Elements™ for iOS is currently available with selected features. For more info please visit mapptelements.com.au
NOTE: Mappt™ is in no way affiliated with Esri™ or Collector for ArcGIS™ in any way.

 

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How Mobile GIS is Revolutionising Forest Inventories

Protecting the hills, regulating streams, providing habitat for fauna, and producing that little thing called oxygen are all on a forest’s to-do list.

It’s tough being a forest and these jobs are just the tip of the iceberg, so how can we help them out and ensure they thrive?

Comprehensive forest management and sustainability largely depends on the quantity and quality of information available. This information or data is obtained from forest inventories.

Recent advancements in technology have already begun to improve the accuracy and efficiency of forest inventories, with the impact of emerging geospatial technologies still being realised.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are location-based tools that aid in the collection, analysis and visualisation of accurate data. Visualising this kind of tree data enables key stakeholders in the forestry industry to make informed decisions.

Forest managers, regional planners, arborists and conservation biologists need forest data to create actionable intelligence on the health and state of the trees.

With drastic developments in mobile phones over recent years, data collection, field mapping and mobile GIS have meant creating forest inventories has never been easier.

Below are several features some mobile mapping GIS and data collection tools have that can help revolutionise forest inventories.

Offline GPS Tracking

Offline GPS tracking is perfect for recording the exact movements of field workers. The offline component enables the device to be used in any remote location without internet access.

Mappt™ is a mobile GIS and data collection app, built for field workers that need to create, edit, store and share geospatial data. Mappt’s offline GPS calculates distances, helps workers to find targeted areas faster and provides evidence of the ground that has been covered. The offline GPS tool can be switched on and will work in the background while you get on with the rest of your data collection.

compact

Drop Down Forms and Points, Lines and Polygons

The digital revolution is in full swing and the need for paper is diminishing. Environmental workers now have the power to use devices such as tablets or even phones to easily take notes on specific points, draw lines and view this all this information visually on a digital map.

Mappt enables users to create detailed descriptions in customisable ‘drop down’ forms. Field workers can enter detailed or simple options on aspects such as tree diameter, height, observations, conditions, eco-zones, political or property boundaries, species, population, and any other characteristics.

Once these forms are created, the user simply selects the correct answer from the list as opposed to typing it in each time. These forms save time, reduces repetition and can cut down human error.
Mappt splitting tool

Geofencing

When conducting a forest inventory, serious consideration of boundaries and borders is needed to ensure data is accurately represented in each respective area. Mappt has a ‘geofencing’ tool which allows users to mark out areas that field workers should not disturb, such as wildlife habitats, heritage land or sensitive sites. It can also be used to simply mark out the area you should be working in to assess a specific rehabilitation zone.

If a boundary is breached, an alarm will sound and an alert will display to stop workers in their tracks. Mappt will also log the event according to date, time and distance.

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geofence

Geotagged Photos and Map Annotation

Mappt enables field workers to take geotagged photos using the device the app is running on. This photo is then saved and geotagged on the map to the exact spot it was taken in.

Users then have the option to annotate the photo in-app for further data clarification. Using a pen tool, filed workers can draw on an image to (for example) circle areas of unfamiliarity or highlight where a sample was taken from. Users can also add shapes and text to the map itself both in satellite view and street view to highlight physical characteristics of the forest or draw attention to damaged forest areas.

Mappt annotations

 

The Future is Mobile

Mobile phones, tablets and handheld devices now have the capability of full sized desktop computers. Bolting a GIS onto your mobile device makes them an invaluable and powerful tool for undertaking forest inventories or any other kind of field work and data collection.

Due to the sudden advances in these technologies, many businesses operating within environmental and forestry industries are falling behind as they’re not realizing the potential savings these technologies can provide. Time is money and without the use of applications such as Mappt, the forestry industry is at risk of becoming an inflated production.

GIS field data collection software make creating forest inventories fast, smooth and simple. Some of Mappt’s other features include; importing and exporting various kinds of geospatial data; thematic mapping; cached Google Maps; and WMS and WFS feed capabilities.

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Ssiobhan-profile2iobhan Herne
Marketing and Communications

Siobhan has no background in GIS, she’s a beginner, just like you. Follow her stories for an easier digest of all things geospatial.

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3 GIS Tools that are Transforming Environmental Field Work

Every year, billions of dollars are invested into industrial projects that can have damaging effects on our environment. It is therefore critical to monitor and understand the effects of human impact on the environment.

Current technologies have not only improved our knowledge and understanding of the environment, but also significantly enhanced the way we collect and capture this information.

In previous years, physical environmental evaluation and surveys were carried out by workers in the field, armed with paper, pencils, large flimsy maps and inaccurate location perceptions.

Today we need just one compact device to navigate, capture and visualise data during environmental field data collection. When combined with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), mobile data collection apps provide a simple yet multifaceted tool that’s revolutionising field work for environmental monitoring and surveying.

fielddatacollection2

Why GIS?

GIS relates to capturing and displaying locational data to easily visualise, analyze and understand patterns within their environments.

By studying factors such as vegetation, soil, fauna and land disturbance, scientists can determine the short and long term impacts of industrial projects and ensure accountability and longevity of our agriculture, infrastructure and mining industries.

Flora surveys are regularly undertaken to gather comprehensive information about an area of vegetation. Although modern technologies such as satellite imagery and drones are effective, manual in-person examination of physical subjects is still essential.

The type of data required can be difficult and time consuming to capture when only equipped with pen and paper. Thankfully, mobile GIS and data collection solutions have renewed this outdated method. Mappt™ is a mobile data collection application that provides several invaluable features for flora and fauna surveying and environmental monitoring.

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  1. Offline GPS Tracking

Mappt is built with offline GPS tracking to record the exact movements of where field workers have travelled. The offline component enables the device to be used in any remote location without internet access. Mappt calculates distances, helps workers to find targeted areas faster and provides evidence of the ground they have covered. GPS tracking also increases transparency to verify that sensitive sites have not been disturbed.

mappt3

  1. Drop Down Forms

The digital revolution is in full swing and the need for paper is diminishing. Environmental workers now have the power to use devices such as tablets or even phones to easily take notes on specific points, draw lines and view this all this information visually on a digital map. Mappt enables users to give attributes to specific points on a map and create detailed descriptions in customisable ‘drop down’ forms.

Field workers can enter detailed or simple descriptions on landforms, soils, vegetation conditions, period since last fire, disturbances or any correlation between vegetation and landform features. Drop down forms remove the need for traditional tables as the data can be pre-populated. The forms have intelligent pre-fill suggestions to reduce repetitive typing and cut down human error. Mappt also allows workers to import and export any kind of GIS data, maps or figures.

  1. Geofencing Quadrats

Quadrats are areas within a marked boundary within which data is collected. Mappt has a geofencing tool which allows users to mark out areas that field workers should not disturb, such as wildlife habitats, heritage land and sensitive sites. Geofencing can also be used to simply mark out the area you should be working in to assess a specific rehabilitation zone.

If a boundary is breached, an alarm will sound and an alert will display to stop you in your tracks. Mappt will also log the event according to date, time and distance.

Mappt has a number of other convenient, efficient and in depth GIS field data collection tools to make environmental monitoring a breeze. Some of these feature include; importing and exporting GIS data; geotagged photos; thematic mapping; cache Google Maps; and WMS and WFS capabilities.

For the full list of features, please visit our Features page or try them for yourself.

geofence

Technology Empowers

Whether you’re conducting a biosecurity risk assessment, collecting entomology data or surveying flora and fauna, mobile GIS data collection has made tackling Earth’s challenges lighter, safer and faster.

Monitoring flora and fauna is not only important for ensuring ecosystems are protected but certifies for the durability of the mining, infrastructure and utility industries. Planning, monitoring and rehabilitating are environmental necessities made more efficient through the emerging technology of mobile data collection and GIS.

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Ssiobhan-profile2iobhan Herne
Marketing and Communications

Siobhan has no background in GIS, she’s a beginner, just like you. Follow her stories for an easier digest of all things geospatial.

Sources

http://www.epa.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/Policies_and_Guidance/EPA%20Technical%20Guidance%20-%20Flora%20and%20Vegetation%20survey_Dec13.pdf

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The Role of GIS in Solving Global Health Problems

When thinking about how technology has influenced the medical industry, what springs to mind?

Laboratories? Brain scanners? Advanced surgery equipment?

Whilst these developments have benefited patients in a direct sense, other technological innovations occurring behind the scenes are thriving. One of the most exciting yet overlooked technologies emerging today is the power of geospatial or location-based technology in the medical industry.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are an evolving technology that are saving lives indirectly. A GIS is a multifaceted form of mapping that enables users to capture, visualise, monitor and manipulate geographic data. Being armed with this type of data empowers health workers to see patient demographics in a way they’ve never seen before.

What if we could determine where the source of a disease was? Discover why an illness was occurring and predict where it would spread to next? Or improve our services to people in need?

These are the kinds of questions that are being answered through the integration of GIS into the medical realm, with their results responding to health problems all over the world.

Identifying Trends

To understand ‘why’ a disease or illness occurs, information or data is key. In both quantity and quality, the way we interpret data can make all the difference. GIS is used to visualise data and identify trends or behaviours associated with location.

A recent example of how GIS was used to identify trends in health was the United States’ National Community Mapping Institute. The organisation created a map identifying ‘Years of Potential Life Lost before Age 75’.

The map allowed people to physically see the clusters or areas that were high in premature mortality. The map suggested premature mortality rates were much higher in the southern half of the US, as opposed to the North. From there, specialists could make this a focus of their research and question why this is occurring; what other correlations do those areas have?

years-of-potential-life-lost

With illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease on the rise, GIS provides an invaluable source of research for health care professionals. Determining locations where illnesses are prevalent and implementing prevention strategies in areas that aren’t, are just some of the exceptional ways GIS is helping to identify and solve global health trends.

Tracking the Spread of Infectious Disease

Infectious disease is another ballpark. The spread of infectious diseases such as Measles or Ebola occurs at a much faster rate. This means it is essential for health workers and governments to have an immediate awareness and understanding of the infected persons’ location, how fast the infectious disease is spreading and where it will most likely hit next.

This type of geographic data has become increasingly accessible due to the recent development in GIS technologies. For example, our mobile mapping and data collection tool Mappt™ was recently used by a global health organisation during the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014.

The mobile application tool allowed Ebola medical field workers to gather data in an efficient manner. The app worked on hand held tablets and smartphones, making the device light and compact, plus Mappt works offline so it could function in remote areas without internet access. Mappt enabled field workers to ascertain valuable geographical information by using features such as:

  • Offline GPS Tracking – track the ground field workers covered
  • Points, Polylines and Polygons – flag findings, highlight areas and store attribute information
  • Geotagged Photos – take a photograph using a device out in the field and geotagging it to a specific location
  • Drop Down Forms – log annotations and descriptive information in simple drop down forms.
  • Gridding – easily visualise and measure distances
  • Geofencing – mark out inclusion or exclusion zones to keep team members out of hazardous zones. Breaching a fence will alert the user with a visual and audial alarm
  • Importing and Exporting Data – fully compatible with WMS, WFS & WMTS and all major online and cloud based tools and imagery

ebola

Mappt assisted in the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history. These kinds of features empowered the medical teams with the data to create visualisations and run predictive model algorithms. In other words, health workers could create a picture to identify, predict and prevent the spread of such a horrific outbreak and create an informed health community.

Wearable Technology

Health related statistics have a major influence in identifying the causes of global health problems, but a high quantity of quality data is paramount to accurate and informative studies. Acquiring substantial amounts of personalised data has been achievable in recent years through the introduction of wearable devices. Personal healthcare technologies such as fitness bracelets that track a person’s heart rate, sleeping patterns and level of activity, are often used to determine how these levels are varied in different geographic areas.

When combined with GIS, wearable devices embody a powerful tool to uncover long-term geographic patterns and trends in diverse demographics. Adding geographic data to healthcare statistics has already begun to revolutionize the healthcare systems all over the world.

fitness

The Power of Location

Geospatial technologies such as GIS and mapping collection tools have transformed countless industries and will continue to address health issues like infectious disease control or unhealthy habits of people in specific areas. As technologies advance and medical industries adopt and integrate these innovations, unhealthy lifestyles and diseases will feasibly decrease.

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Ssiobhan-profile2iobhan Herne
Marketing and Communications

Siobhan has no background in GIS, she’s a beginner, just like you. Follow her stories for an easier digest of all things geospatial.

Sources

http://hitconsultant.net/2015/10/29/5-benefits-of-geographic-information-systems-in-healthcare/

http://www.giscloud.com/blog/mapping-the-disease-using-gis-for-improving-malaria-interventions-in-nigeria/#A56hdBiOEa3TkdMJ.99

http://communitymappingforhealthequity.org/past-maps-of-the-day/years-of-potential-life-lost-before-age-75-2012-2014/

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5 Ways GIS is Transforming Agriculture and the Environment

What are the major implications of GIS for agriculture, the environment and preserving our earth in 2017?

Geospatial technology is transforming the agriculture industry in unimaginable ways. In only a few short years, the power and accessibility of digital mapping both on and offline has changed the way farmers and agricultural structures are doing their most basic tasks.

Geographic information systems (GIS) allow us to visualise, analyse and understand geographic data. They can show us which crops are thriving, how pollution is hindering and which fertilisers are enhancing.

With this kind of revolutionary technology in full swing, there has never been a better time for farmers, environmentalists, foresters and agriculture specialists to capitalise on productivity.

Agriculture and Farming

GIS has revolutionised a farmer’s work. With the help of expert GIS consultants, farmers are now able to access the latest satellite technology with precision agriculture.

However, there are simpler, cheaper and more accessible ways the power of location can be utilised by farmers themselves.

farmer-880567_960_720

Mobile Devices

Mobile mapping applications have evolved dramatically in the last few years, making paper maps and pens ancient history. Mobile apps work on hand held tablets or smartphones, reducing the need for bulky computers or complicated surveying equipment when out in the field.

Mappt™ is a mobile GIS data collection app which enables users to create, edit, store, and share geospatial information. Farmers can use and handheld device to drop a pin or mark a specific location on a digital map. Using a lightweight, compact device such as a tablet or phone empowers farmers with the capacity to easily collect their own data.

Mappt’s receptive interface allows farmers with minimal training to use drop-down forms at each location point, noting a piece of information or attribute such as the type of fertilizer used, the condition of the crop or the topography of the land.

Some variables farmers may need to collect and analyse include:

  • soil type
  • elevation (topography)
  • crop yield
  • crop quality
  • field boundaries
  • management zones
  • remotely sensed imagery
  • weed and pest locations
  • historical land use

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compact

GPS

Global Positioning Systems or GPS are freely available and built in to most compact devices. A GPS displays your exact location on the earth’s surface by picking up data instantaneously sent from several satellites orbiting the globe.

Mappt’s GPS can be used to track a job out in the field. It’s ideal for remote locations as it works completely offline, can be paused and restarted at any time, and runs in the background while you collect other data. For example, a farmer may use GPS to pinpoint designated positions in the field to collect soil samples. This information can be logged in a handheld device before, during and after samples are collected, whilst tracking a person’s every move.

Geotagging

Another benefit of using a hand-held device with an inbuilt camera is being able to capture photographic evidence. Geotagging images collected in the field to their exact location provides farmers with additional information and offers a reference for future crop analysis and comparison. Thus, improving overall accuracy and efficiencies.

Geofencing

There are disasters to avoid in agricultural planning that can have a detrimental effect if inaccuracy occurs: droughts, drainage, roads, insects and floods. Their heavy impacts can be avoided through GIS assisted strategic planning.

Mapping is used to examine and evaluate these attributes to ensure maximum accuracy when identifying new areas to plant crops or make existing yields more efficient.

When working in the field, separating zones is also crucial as it’s not always clear where your boundaries end and your neighbours’ begins.

Mappt™ allows you to not only draw lines and polygons, but colour code areas and set warning visual and audio alarms. Once a geofence is created, a farmer will be alerted with an alarm notification if a boundary is breached. This ensures you do not disturb land that doesn’t belong to you or plant crops in a restricted area.

geofence

GIS for Climate Change

We know conservation and environmental management is imperative for the sustainability of the earth, especially in today’s rapidly evolving technological world.

Recent history has taught us that human impact can have a dramatic effect on the environment as well as shifting global climates. This is creating complex challenges for businesses in every industry – particularly agriculture.

According to the World Wildlife Federation, agricultural practices are responsible for around 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with contributing factors including fertilisers, livestock, burning of savanna and agricultural residues, and ploughing.

Farming our food does not always give back to the earth.

Climate change is anticipated to affect crop production in several ways, but most impedingly, precipitation and temperature changes. Rainfall and temperatures may shorten or lengthen the growing season or cause an increase in droughts and flooding. Because of these environmental changes, crop prices could skew and become economically nonviable.

GIS plays a fundamental role in the ongoing challenge to reduce and cope with the effects of climate change, specifically determining what crops we sow and where to maximise land efficiency.

Below are some of the ways GIS can assist with plotting relief:

  • Ensure accurate reporting with improved data collection
  • Improve decision making
  • Increase productivity with streamlined work processes
  • Provide better data analysis and presentation options
  • Model dynamic environmental phenomena
  • Create predictive scenarios for environmental impact studies
  • Automate regulatory compliance processes
  • Disseminate maps and share map data across the internet

Accumulating data on the problem and adjusting relief and contingency methods in accordance to this data, is how GIS can play a major role in shaping a solution.

crop-drought

What does it mean for our future?

In the past, it was difficult for farmers to know how and which farming methods were working efficiently due to the continuous variations and irregularities across the land.

Today, technological innovations such as GIS and mobile mapping have transformed common agricultural systems and revolutionised field efficiency and productivity.

With this kind of technology in our pockets, mobile GIS will expectantly continue to improve production for farmers in a way that is sustainable in the future and hopefully provide a reliable source of food for all.

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siobhan-profile2Siobhan Herne
Marketing and Communications

Siobhan has no background in GIS, she’s a beginner, just like you. Follow her stories for an easier digest of all things geospatial.

Sources

http://www.environmentalscience.org/agriculture-science-gis

http://www.sugarresearch.com.au/icms_docs/178430_GIS_and_Precision_Agriculture_IS14015.pdf

http://www.americansentinel.edu/blog/2012/03/14/farmers-use-gis-technology-for-a-growing-world/

http://www.hitachi.com/rev/pdf/2009/r2009_06_106.pdf

http://www.gps.gov/applications/agriculture/

http://www.pitneybowes.com/us/location-intelligence/case-studies/use-location-intelligence-to-turn-big-data-into-business-insight.html

http://www.gpsalliance.org/agriculture.aspx

https://theconversation.com/farmers-of-the-future-will-utilize-drones-robots-and-gps-37739

 

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5 Reasons to Ditch Desktop GIS and Go Mobile

Mobile devices have granted us increased flexibility, convenience and, well, mobility!

Activities that were previously restricted or tied to a location can now be carried out wherever we choose, as long as we have our mobile device with us.

A really good example of this is GIS. Previously restricted to desktop computers, we can now take GIS software with us out to the field to collect data on the fly.

This post will highlight five benefits of mobile GIS apps (specifically Mappt, as we don’t guarantee that other mobile GIS apps have the same capabilities) over their desktop counterparts. 

1. Improve your workflow

Mobility isn’t the only advantage of having your GIS on a mobile device. Your tablet or phone will likely have other capabilities outside of the GIS app, you can eliminate unnecessary steps in your workflow. As an example, your mobile device should have a camera, which means you can put photos directly into your GIS app along with your recorded data. You won’t need to fiddle with importing your photos on a computer and then matching it up with your data. 

2. Reduce data entry errors

Since your data recording and data input phases can now be combined, you can reduce the possibility of errors. Errors are less likely to occur with the elimination of unnecessary steps; human errors are usually introduced when the data recorded is input for processing. 

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3. Ease of use

In general, mobile GIS apps are extremely user-friendly. This is in comparison to your standard desktop GIS software, which usually has a steep learning curve. Also, the intuitive interface enabled by touch-screen mobile devices (think intuitive gestures) lets you pick up how to use the software far quicker.

4. Touch Screens

Speaking of touch-screen, mobile GIS apps have all the benefits that come with using a touch screen: you can draw, label, and annotate right on your map, imagery and data. Having these capabilities allow for a more dynamic workflow; these inputs will be saved as a data point that you can further process.

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5. Cost-effectiveness

Mobile GIS apps are usually far more cost-effective than their desktop counterparts. As an example, Mappt subscriptions can be as low as USD $4 per month (Mappt Lite), whereas desktop software tends to be priced in the thousands.

Granted, more complex analytics usually aren’t possible on mobile, however these processes are highly specialised and usually aren’t needed when you’re out in the field – you wouldn’t be running logarithmic transformations on your data when you’re out in the field, would you? Even if you did need these more specialised tools, you could always contact us and see if we can help you adapt Mappt to your needs!

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What are your thoughts on mobile devices and their increased use, especially for the field of GIS? Start the conversation by commenting below!