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Mappt Case Study: Focused Vision Consulting

Date: May 201720160726_135601_resized
Organisation: Focused Vision Consulting
Location: Munster, Western Australia
Industry: Environmental

Background

Focused Vision Consulting (FVC) is an environmental and HSEQ (health, safety, environment and quality) consultancy, that brings together expertise across a range of specialist disciplines including ecology, environmental approvals, compliance, management systems, health and safety, quality assurance, site support and more.

FVC specialise in biological studies supporting a variety of industries. These include flora and fauna vegetation surveys and environmental assessments.

Problem

FVC were using paper materials, which were inaccurate and inconvenient.

They needed a more visual tool for when they were conducting surveys, mapping flora and monitoring vegetation. When FVC workers were out in the field they needed to have a comprehensive overview of exactly where they were going, what they were doing and what they were trying to achieve.

Solution

FVC decided to use Mappt after being recommend by a GIS professional. Mappt enabled FVC’s environmental practitioners to log a detailed account of their findings, map each finding’s exact locations, and view this data easily whilst out in the field with no internet access.

 

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FVC significantly reduced their paper materials and instead used one compact Android device to view, capture, store and share all their relevant data. The app made producing maps, figures and reports for their clients significantly easier, faster and more efficient. Some of the services FVC were using Mappt for included:

  • Flora and vegetation surveys
  • Threatened flora surveys and mapping
  • Vegetation condition and weed mapping
  • Wetland assessments and reclassification or boundary modification applications
  • Vegetation and rehabilitation monitoring programs
  • Terrestrial vertebrate fauna surveys
  • Conservation significant fauna and habitat surveys
  • Technical reporting of biological assessment or monitoring information
  • Environmental Management Plans
  • Environmental impact assessments and approvals

Outcome

Since 2015, Focused Vision Consulting has been using Mappt for all their projects and has not had any issues to date. Mappt’s utilisation of a light and compact device has transformed their environmental field work through its ease of use and mobile efficiency.

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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

Mappt’s First Mini Conference in Perth

Two weeks ago we celebrated Earth Science Week by holding our first mini conference in our hometown, Perth!

We teamed up with tech giant Panasonic to “Unlock the Power of Mobile Data Collection”, and show how industry leaders are completing their field work and making discoveries that would have been tedious or near impossible without today’s technologies.

Our guests gathered at the brand new Ambrose Estate venue for a morning of insightful presentations, amazing door prizes, morning tea and the chance to network with professionals from a variety of industries.

The Presenters

Paul Barber, Director of ArborCarbon  – “Urban Forest Monitoring: Improving Sustainable Forest Management”

Paul Barber is a Forest Pathologist & Environmental Consultant with over 20 years’ experience in vegetation diagnosis, monitoring and management.

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Chris Devlin, Director of iSpatial Solutions – “From Field to Office: Integrating Efficient Asset Management and Reporting”

Chris Devlin has 22 years’ experience in the resources and earth sciences sector and helps organisations to define, develop and implement GIS focused solutions.

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Adrian Young, Product Manager at Spookfish – “Capturing Field Data with a Mobile Eye in the Sky”

After a decade of using geospatial technology to help state and federal government, Adrian has spent the past 10 years working with startups, enterprises and governments to take innovative geospatial technologies to market.

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Sean Mirzadeh, Panasonic Business Development Manager (WA) – “Panasonic: The Global Leader in Rugged IT”

With 10 years’ experience in sales engineering, business development and client relationship management, Sean is currently working on some of the major mobility projects for mining and oil and gas in WA.

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If you couldn’t make it, stay tuned as we’ll be uploading our speakers’ presentations to our YouTube channel.

After the presentations, we drew the prizes. One lucky guest walked away with an annual Mappt Standard licence, and the other a Panasonic LUMIX DMC-FT30 camera!

We then made our way to the balcony where we networked under the glorious Perth sun and enjoyed a delicious pastry… or four.

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Huge thanks to our speakers and everyone who made it; you guys rock!

To hear about future events, sign up to our newsletter or follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn. See you next time!

Mappt Intern Insight: Glenn

Here’s what one of Mappt’s first interns got up to during his 8 weeks with us

Read more

Top 3 Tablets for using Mappt

When using Mappt in the field there are two main requirements.

1: Mappt

2: Awesome Android tablet

Mappt we can provide, but you will have to take care of the Tablet part. This is in fact the harder of the two tasks as there are hundreds of Android tablets to choose from. If you are like most people they will all look pretty similar so in the end it will come down to price. The cost of the device is a major factor in it being selected, but you should take a good close look before you buy. In this article we will try to aid you in this task. To select a tablet not only on it’s looks or price but also by the many other factors such as available accessories, stability, size, weight and most importantly durability for field use.

Tablet 1

Nexus 7 (gen 2)

The Nexus 7 is the third Android tablet in the Nexus line and co-developed by Google and ASUS. It’s a very powerful small form tablet with a lot of accessories.

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The New Google / ASUS Nexus 7 gen 2

Tablet 2

Sony Xperia Z

In February 2013 SONY unveiled it’s new tablet the Xperia Tablet Z. A 10 inch tablet that is light, weighing just under half a kilogram and less than 7mm thick.  It’s the worlds thinnest 10 inch tablet not to mention it’s IP55 and IP57 (Ingress Protection) rating making it dust proof, scratch resistant and water proof up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.

The Xperia Tablet Z's ports are all well covered and protected against dust and water ingress.

The Xperia Tablet Z’s ports are all well covered and protected against dust and water ingress.

Tablet 3

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1

Our final contender is the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1. The ultimate field partner. It’s Military spec all weather proof at IP65 and drop proof at 4 feet making it virtually indestructible as far as tablets are concerned. Unfortunately this is also reflected in the price tag.

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All ports are covered and locked away from the elements making this tablet an impregnable bunker.

Below is a table that compares the three tablets as well as a short review based on Mappt use.

Top three Mappt Field Companion Android Tablets, and why.

Top three Mappt Field Companion Android Tablets, and why.

The Mappt Advantage

Nexus 7 gen 2 (4G LTE)

Being the lightest of the three tablets this is in itself a big advantage. Not to mention that it’s fast, powerful and has a highrez display with very good battery life.The price is also very enticing, although you will need to get some very necessary accessories, such as a tough case, matte screen protector, car charger, etc.

Using Mappt on this tablet you are able to conduct all your usual tasks at a very acceptable speed, even with the smaller form factor. This is actually one of its biggest advantages.

An excellent compact Mappt companion that won’t hurt your pocket and fits right in it.

Sony Xperia Tablet Z  (4G + WIFI 16gig)

The new Sony Xperia tablet Z has taken the world by storm with its very durable shell, water proof for 30 minutes, dust proof and only 6.9mm thin. A very well rounded tablet with plenty of available accessories, not that you would need any to start off except perhaps a car charger. Perfect as a Mappt companion.

Mappt moves very fast on this device. Information loads lightning fast on the 4G LTE or WIFI. Navigation is a breeze with the clean shatterproof, sensitive, matte screen. Only down side is that it’s a little hard to see the screen in a well sun lit environment. This may be a big issue for some scenarios.

A very well priced and durable tablet. Perfect for almost all you every day Mappt field use.

Panasonic Toughpad FZ-A1

If you ignore the huge price tag on this beast then this is hands down the tablet you want with you in the field. Its military spec hardware and case make it literary indestructible (figuratively). You can drop this guy from a height of 2 metres into an ice filled lake and have it sit on the mud lake floor (shallow lake), pick it up moments later and continue working on it.

Mappt works very well on this device even though it runs Android version 4. It has powerful 4G and WIFI connections and a GPS that will never fail. This tablet also comes with a stylus which can help when in the field, so you don’t have to get dirty hands on the screen and have to continuously wipe it.

What it falls short on, which are not vital for Mappt field use, are the cameras and lack of ultra highres display. Also be aware that buying accessories for the Toughpad FZ-A1 will also set you back a bit, as most of the accessories match the higher price of the device.

A tablet for very serious Mappt users who perhaps plan to trek into the caldera of an active volcano.