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Mappt On Your Laptop.

How to experience Mappt on your laptop/desktop using Bluestacks.

Running Mappt on Windows using the Bluestacks Android emulator

Running Mappt on Windows using the Bluestacks Android emulator

We’re often asked, ‘Can Mappt run on my desktop?’.  Generally no, unless you use a Google Chromebook or another laptop using Android as your OS.  But to our gaming and other users who want the best of both worlds, Android games/apps running on a Window’s PC, there’s Bluestacks 4, an Android emulator.

Bluestacks installs as a desktop application on to which you can install Android apps from the Google Play Store.

The Bluestacks Android Emulator for Windows

The Bluestacks Android Emulator for Windows

We found that Mappt installs easily on Bluestacks and your existing Mappt license key can be used here too (though you may have to enter it each time you restart Bluestacks).  Bluestacks should appear and function much like the OS on your Android device.  Note that many laptops do not have an onboard GPS.  While Bluestacks does make use of your laptop/desktop’s positional information, the position is likely gained via wifi or other positional sources.  *We have not tested Bluestacks in the field for positional accuracy.  You may want to add accessory apps like a file browser to make finding files within Android easier.  Moving files on and off Bluestacks is achieved using the Media Manager app (found under More Apps on Bluestacks v4).

Bluestacks Media Manager

Bluestacks Media Manager

The Bluestacks Media Manager for importing files to Bluestacks

The Bluestacks Media Manager for importing files to Bluestacks

In short, the tool brings files from your Win OS to Bluestacks.  You can use the Import/Export to Windows tool to bring files across.  This launches a Windows Explorer window where you choose files for import/export.

Browsing for zipped shape file

Browsing for zipped shape file

Zip file imported to Bluestacks

Zip file imported to Bluestacks

Here we’ve brought across tracks.zip, a zip file containing all files relevant to a shape file.  *When importing shape files to Mappt, we recommend zipping them prior to the transfer and upload to Mappt.  Mappt has the capacity to unzip the contents on upload.  By default Bluestacks drops the file into /root/storage/emulated/0/DCIM/SharedFolder.

Browsing for files on Mappt

Browsing for files on Mappt

 

From Mappt choose to load a shape file from the filesystem and choose the relevant zip file.

Tracks loaded to Mappt

Tracks loaded to Mappt

Unloading data created within Mappt in Bluestacks also uses the Media Manager.  On unloading the Media Manager will let you copy files to any directory on the Windows OS.

 

If you would like to know more about using Mappt as an efficient and robust field inspection utility, please contact us at: support@mappt.com.au

Try Mappt today by downloading it from the Google Play Store

 

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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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External GPS sources for Mappt. Part 1: Configuration

gis_manAre you looking to improve your positional accuracy in Mappt?  

Connecting to an external Bluetooth GPS can help!

We’re often asked about improving the positional accuracy information used by Mappt.  As you may know, Mappt uses the onboard GPS from your mobile phone/tablet.  While the on-board GPS accuracy may be sufficient for some types of mapping, others require higher accuracy.  To achieve this Mappt can utilise an external Bluetooth GPS feed.  GPS devices capable of streaming positional information via Bluetooth in the NMEA format are suitable for Mappt.

As phones and tablets are designed to utilise their own integral GPS hardware, Mappt users will need to utilise a third-party application to incorporate an external Bluetooth GPS feed.  These external Bluetooth GPS streams serve to oreplace the internal GPS service to thus provide higher positional accuracy.  Android refers to these apps as Mock Location Providers since app developers often need a GPS feed for coding and testing.  One Bluetooth streaming app compatible with Mappt is Bluetooth GPS (on Google Play).

bluetooth-gps

Bluetooth GPS is available on the Google Play Store

After installing Bluetooth GPS it’s necessary to enable Developer Options, accessed via the Settings on your device.  Developer Options can be enabled by first finding the Build Number (for our device* it’s under Settings-About Tablet-Software Information) and tapping Build Number seven times.  A notification will appear to inform you that Developer Options have been enabled.  Afterwards in Developer Options (Settings-Developer Options-Debugging), users need to select Bluetooth GPS as the Mock Location Provider.

Link to Youtube Video: Settings to Enable Bluetooth

Settings to Enable Bluetooth GPS for Mappt

Then connect to the external device via Bluetooth and start Bluetooth GPS on the tablet.  From the Select Paired GPS device and connect list, choose the device and tap CONNECT.  The screen will be updated with new location parameters.  You’re now receiving location information via Bluetooth! Check out this video showing how to enable an external Bluetooth GPS for Mappt

* The configuration can vary depending on your tablet or phone.

 

 

 

The Ultimate Fieldwork Preparation Checklist

How to successfully conduct a fieldwork expedition and enjoy yourself along the way.

This simple checklist provides a tool to ensure researchers, geologists, scientists or explorers are fully prepared for their journey.

We’ve also included some helpful tips and suggestions for an enjoyable expedition.

The Ultimate Fieldwork Preparation Checklist – Click Here to Download Free PDF

The-ultimate-fieldwork-preparation-checklist