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1m Positional Accuracy in Mappt using Bad Elf GNSS Surveyor

Bad Elf GNSS Surveyor & Mappt Mobile GIS

Measuring 60x100mm the Bad Elf GNSS Surveyor can provide 1m accuracy

Measuring 60x100mm the Bad Elf GNSS Surveyor can provide 1m accuracy

Thanks to the helpful folks at Bad Elf, we recently got our hands on the Bad Elf Surveyor Bluetooth GNSS* for testing with Mappt. Combining Mappt with an external source of positional information delivers higher  accuracy than using the on-board GNSS for mobile phones and tablets. It also reduces battery consumption and CPU load on your mobile device.

Vendors like Bad Elf also provide applications offering enhanced functionality for data logging, device configuration, and data QC. Using external GNSS sources makes determining your position less “black box” and more hands-on when it comes to resolving your location and understanding the level of accuracy provided.
Compact and Compatible
Paring the Bad Elf GNSS with Mappt follows the same procedure we’ve detailed in a previous blog. The compact design (100x 60x20mm) and long lasting battery make the Bad Elf a handy field companion for mobile mapping and data collection. With a small LCD screen yielding important GNSS information, the Bad Elf keeps you well aware of the positional information available to you.

GNSS information available from the Bad Elf's compact 35x25mm LCD screen

GNSS information available from the Bad Elf’s compact 35x25mm LCD screen

Increased Accuracy
When either mapping or collecting data in the field, increased positional accuracy is always a plus. Often it’s necessary to revisit the field to account for seasonal changes (in the case of environmental sciences) or for relocating benchmarks or critical infrastructure such as utilities. The Bad Elf Surveyor offers up to 1m accuracy, an improvement over the 3-5m accuracy achievable with tablets and mobile phones.

 

How does it do that?
The Bad Elf Surveyor uses information from three satellite constellations; GPS, GLONASS, and QZSS. Thus from wherever you are globally, there’s an increased probability that you will have the required four satellites to resolve your position. Many devices derive location from a single satellite constellation thus limiting the amount of satellites available to them. The Bad Elf Surveyor also implements SBAS, Satellite Based Augmentation System, to gain positions within 1m. Serving as an augmentation to Global Navigation Satellite Systems, it works by collecting raw positioning data from regional Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS), computing error corrections, and sharing these corrections to users via a geostationary communications satellite. While southern hemisphere regions don’t have their own SBAS, Australia is currently implementing its own SBAS test-bed to be operational by January 2019.
Alongside SBAS, the Bad Elf Surveyor also implements PPP, Precise Point Positioning, which removes GNSS system errors providing a high level of position accuracy from a single receiver. This solution depends on GNSS satellite clock and orbit corrections. These corrections are delivered to the receiver via satellite to provide positioning accurate to within several deicmetres.

 

Mobile Device GPS Behavior Versus Dedicated GPS Units
Mobile device GNSS chipsets have been designed to compliment an integrated system (your tablet/phone) delivering a wide variety of applications. Just count the number of apps you’ve downloaded from the app store. Can you imagine carrying a separate component for each of these?  These mobile applications are optimized to reduce load on the system by reducing battery consumption and processor load. The optimisation for mobile GPS chipsets puts limiting battery usage at the top of the list with time-to-fix location second and positional accuracy third. Dedicated GNSS devices like Bad Elf devices flip this priority on it’s head, placing positional accuracy first followed by time-to-fix and lastly the reduction of battery power. While it may seem like the Bad Elf would quickly run out of juice, it can continuously stream Bluetooth GNSS information for 24 hours. We have yet to see a tablet with that type of battery power!

We took the Bad Elf GNSS Surveyor to our favourite bushland, Signal Hill Park

We took the Bad Elf GNSS Surveyor to our favourite bushland, Signal Hill Park

Mapping Tips n Tricks Learned Using the Bad Elf Surveyor
Creating Polygons in Mappt –  Turn on the enter polygon tool and record each significant point of the polygon (corners and inflection points) as you walk out the perimiter. This ensures that corners/vertices are not shortcut and an accurate shape of the area is recorded.  It’s possible to create polygons in Mappt using the GPS Tracking tool, then walking out the perimeter of the polygon, and finishing off by converting the polyline to a polygon to enclose the area. This method helps when moving continuously (such as when in a vehicle) as you don’t need to stop and record points around the area. However the points associated with your polyline are created at the frequency of GPS updates from your device and you may end up not recording those key corner points!
GNSS Location – Place your external GNSS device in a way that provides a clear view of the sky. Some websites suggest affixing the GNSS face-up to the top of your hat! While you will have great reception, this limits the opportunity to check parameters on the LCD screen. Affixing the GNSS to a surveyors staff gives you both a walking stick and place to mount your tablet. This setup affords both good GNSS reception and makes data entry easier as the tablet is held steady by the staff.  Note:  The team at Bad Elf are currently developing hardware designed with rapid mobile mapping in mind.

The crew at Bad Elf are working on a clever monopole mount for the Bad Elf Surveyor

The crew at Bad Elf are working on a clever monopole mount for the Bad Elf Surveyor

Bad Elf has developed an integrated GPS and mobile device monopole for rapid mobile mapping

Bad Elf has developed an integrated GPS and mobile device monopole for rapid mobile mapping

Bad Elf GNSS Logging – The Bad Elf allows continuous logging of points. After a hard day in the field, it’s nice to know how much ground you covered. Logged information can be downloaded as GPX files and visualised in desktop GIS solutions such as QGIS.

Signal Hill Park Map from QGIS. Bad Elf track points (orange) displaying the total ground covered in this mapping exercise.

Signal Hill Park Map from QGIS. Bad Elf track points (orange) displaying the total ground covered in this mapping exercise.

*GNSS, Global Navigation Satellite System, is the collective term for all navigation satellites groups (constellations) including GPS.

 

If you would like to know more about configuring an external GNSS to work with Mappt, please contacts us at: support@mappt.com.au

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

Mappt Case Study: Rodinia Geological Services

Project Name: Klondyke
Date: April-September 2017 (ongoing)
Company: Rodinia Geological Services consulting to Calidus Resources (ASX:CAI)
Location: East Pilbara, Western Australia
Industry: Mineral Exploration

Background

Rodinia Geological Services is a geological consulting services company consisting of husband and wife team, Nancy Reardon and Mark Styles. They specialise in geological mapping and target generation (for drilling) for mineral exploration companies.

Calidus Resources is an ASX listed gold exploration company which controls the 410,000-ounce Warrawoona Gold Project in Pilbara Goldfield in Western Australia.

Nancy and Mark decided to switch from notebooks and paper data entry to direct collection of data via mobile GIS. After investigating ArcGIS and MapInfo, they were disappointed to find these options were extremely expensive, they then came across Mappt.

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Problem

Nancy and Mark were originally collecting data by writing notes, taking GPS points and photos with a camera.

The process of compiling this data was extremely time consuming, inconvenient and less accurate. Mappt saves an enormous amount of time and rids the torturous task of data entry at the end of the day.

It was also very difficult for others to use the metadata, as clients would get a product map as a compilation and raw metadata.

Collecting data with Mappt allows clients to access and use the metadata easily, providing a better product for clients, more efficiently. Mappt was also significantly less expensive than the alternatives.

Objective

The objective for Rodinia Geological was to undertake geological mapping and analysis to define targets for drilling at Klondyke.

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Solution

With ruggedised tablets, Nancy and Mark would enter point data, take associated geotagged photos and draw lines and polygons to represent various geological features when out in the field.

The team used Mappt offline in a remote location with no cell or data service. They found the drop-down forms tool the key to collecting data that could be directly imported into their desktop GIS software.

Nancy and Mark initially chose Mappt for affordability, however quickly discovered Mappt is very user friendly and has all the features they needed to make their field mapping significantly faster, cheaper and easier. Nancy and Mark imported imagery and existing data as a base map and collect point data using the drop-down form tool.

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Outcome

The project is ongoing, with targets defined by Rodinia Geological to be drill-tested in future campaigns. Nancy and Mark will continue to use Mappt for future data collection, mapping and mobile GIS at Klondyke, as well as for projects for other clients.

Testimonial

“We love your product. I’ll be using it on a broker/analyst tour for a client. The platform allows an infinite amount of flexibility over old-school paper!”

– Mark, Rodinia Geological Services

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Mappt Elements: The Free Data Collection App for iOS

Mappt elements for iphone and ipad

You wanted it, you got it! Say hello to Mappt Elements, the free data collection app for iPhone and iPad… with a twist.

Lightning fast and meticulously accurate, Mappt Elements was born from years of experience in mobile GIS. It has been designed for you and your team – whatever level your GIS skills are – and is available for anyone to download from the App Store.

The difference between Mappt and Mappt Elements

Mappt Elements is very different from the fully-fledged Android version. It has a slick new look and is free to download, but the most impressive aspect is that it’s completely customisable.

We built Mappt Elements with an array of features available to purchase in-app, which means you only pay for the tools you need. So you can build up Mappt Elements to transform your iPhone into a simple data collection assistant, or a powerful in-field partner.

Mappt Elements Features

From environmental scientists experienced in GIS to local governments new to mapping technology, Mappt Elements is for anyone who wants to ditch desktop and capture data easily with an iOS device.

The seamless navigation and design make it easy for anyone to grasp, but don’t be fooled by its simple appearance, Mappt Elements has an impressive list of growing features that currently includes:

  • Create points and add attributes
  • Measurement Tools
  • Choose from a selection of base maps
  • Add your own WMS imagery layers
  • Load in Shapefiles and GeoJSON vector files as reference layers
  • Offline caching
  • Various export formats

To find out more, hit the button below and download it for FREE:

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Mappt Elements drop points, add data, export and report

How to use the Mappt Elements Form Builder

Mappt Elements also contains a unique external form builder. You can easily manage projects by making simple data collection forms and sharing them with your team for use in the field.

Create and customise projects using the Mappt Form Builder (see steps below) or by using one of the preset templates in app.Mappt Elements Export Tool

  1.  Build your form in app or visit www.mapptelements.com.au/form-builder.
  2. Create your form by specifying ‘required’ or essential attributes.
  3. Hit Upload Form and copy the generated code
  4. Head back into the app go to New > From a template code > Paste the code into the box and tap load.
  5. Once it has finished loading, enter the project’s name. The project will then be ready to use.

Export and report

Once you’ve created your project, Mappt Elements gives managers the flexibility to export information in a variety of ways:

  • Instantly generate PDF reports for quick distribution to clients and stakeholders
  • Export to all major GIS data formats such as Shapefile and KML, to integrate with QGIS, ArcInfo or Google Earth.
  • Export to CSV to view your data in an Excel spreadsheet.
  • Email data as an attachment, without having to return to the office.

When you’re ready to export your project and put the data to work, hit the Export button and choose your format. Please note that you must purchase the Export Package (AUD $4.99) to export in any formats other than CSV.  

To find out more, visit www.mapptelements.com.au, or download it now and explore the features yourself!

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Only on Android? No problem! Download a free trial of Mappt from the Google Play Store.

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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 does Mobile GIS Help Civil Engineers and the Construction Industry?

Civil engineering encompasses the built environment. It is the brains behind the construction of buildings, bridges, roads, railways and water supplies – to name a few.

Engineering and construction play a vital role in the development and sustainability of our cities and urban infrastructure., so how is GIS and more specifically, mobile GIS, shaping the industry for the better?

What is a GIS?

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a software that allows you to create, edit, store and share location-based data. It is a powerful technology used by a variety of industries for multiple purposes to solve real world problems, and the engineering and construction industries are no exception.

Mobile GIS is a relatively new concept for many industry experts due to the colossal enhancements in technology, which are allowing users to move away from desktop GIS. Mappt™ – a mobile GIS and data collection application – works offline and gives users the power to simplify field data collection and mapping in remote areas.

Operating on compact devices like tablets and mobile phones, Mappt has cast out the need for paper maps, forms, notepads, GPS tools and other finicky objects by combining them into one simple app.

Building infrastructure requires in depth planning and investigation of surrounding environments. Utilising a GIS allows you to view areas, coordinates, and parameters that would remain imprecise without the visualisation of data. Overlaying data on top of your map is an integral part of building comprehensive and accurate planning resources.

Mappt has the following features to make predesign analysis and calculations more efficient through onsite data collection and mapping. Below are just some of the ways mobile GIS is transforming the engineering and construction industry.

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Importing & Exporting

Mappt allows you to quickly import any kind of map or GIS data for offline viewing in the field or onsite. Import a map with specific data onto Mappt and view this in any area you are working in on a light and compact device. Multiple maps can be imported and layered within the app, and you can adjust the opacity to see various attributes at once.

Points, Lines & Polygons

Once you are in the field with your maps loaded onto your device, you can drop a point, create a line or draw a polygon (straight-sided shape). Once you’ve added this kind of data onto your map you can add attributes or characteristics to each point, line or polygon to record more information.

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mappt-splitting-tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop Down Forms

When recording additional information about a marker point, geotagged photo or polygon, users have the option to choose a drop-down form. Drop-down forms allow you to create several options to select when recording data out in the field, for example damaged or undamaged, slope stability, volume or material. This makes data collection faster and less repetitive for the field worker.

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Geofencing

Geofences mark out inclusion or exclusion zones to ensure workers don’t go out of unmarked boundaries. If you step inside an exclusion zone such as heritage land, an alarm will notify the user and the event will be logged in Mappt. Alternatively, if you’re working in a small area, you can create an inclusion zone, and make sure you never step outside your boundary.

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geofence

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gridding & Measurement

Mappt has inbuilt measurement tools to calculate exact distances between areas. An overlaying grid with specific coordinates or sizes can be turned on and off to allow workers on site to visualise distances easier.

Map Annotations

Draw, add shapes and type text over your mapping data to give others clarification of your data. This handy, fun and colourful tool allows users to highlight areas of interest or point to a specific marker. You can screenshot the data and send it back to the office, or save it for later.

GPS Tracking

Whilst holding the device, Mappt will track and map your exact movements to provide transparency and accountability for workers on site. This is also handy if you ever need to retrace your steps but can’t remember the safe way back.

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annotation tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Import WMS/WFS/WMTS data feeds 

You can easily pull maps or their data from the web and into Mappt to work with out in the field.  If you’re worried about file sizes, you can choose to pull selected data from a set area within these maps to reduce the file size, allowing Mappt work as quickly as possible.

Aside from these valuable features, Mappt also gives users:

  • The ability to import vector data
  • Advanced API caching
  • Full layer control
  • Export data to local disk, email or Google Drive
  • Thematic mapping
  • Upload unlimited offline size files
  • Read-only data sets for huge files

Civil Engineers can use GIS to plan liveable communities and create lasting and meaningful infrastructure. With the recent surge in powerful mobile devices, GIS has become affordable and practical for all kinds of industries to increase efficiency and accuracy for collected data.

So whether you are analysing site suitability or implementing an underground piping system, Mappt is your number one tool for collecting, viewing, storing and sharing every type of geospatial data on and off your mobile device.

START MY FREE MAPPT TRIAL

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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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.

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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.

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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.

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  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.

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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