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Mappt User Story: Urban Planning in Carlos Chagas City, Brazil

A street scene in Carlos Chagos City, Brazil

A street scene in Carlos Chagos City, Brazil

Project Name: Technical Scientific Cooperation on Urban planning using Georeferencing and Geostatistics

Date: 2019

Company: Federal University of Viçosa

Location: Carlos Chagas City

Industry: Education

 

Background

  • What is the company? What does it do?

We have a scientific research group on developing new methodologies for urban land planning. Using georeferencing through drones, Geoprocessing, Geostatistics and MoT, Maps of Things, we are transforming the public policy of poor Brazilian municipalities and making them sustainable.

  • What was the background situation?

Urban land planning has always been a problem for Brazil. On average poor municipalities have never done a cadastral survey or it’s been 20 years since the last one.

Problem

  • Why did you need to use GIS?

In urban land planning the vertices of the minimum unit, called portion, must be georeferenced (required by current Brazilian legislation).

  • Why did you need Mappt?

The Mappt app was used to edit the attribute tables in the field by adding important and customised information about the features.

  • What problems were occurring before Mappt?

The usage of paper materials made the work messy and inaccurate.  Costs due to inaccurate data were higher than licensing Mappt for our field workers.

The alternative software available don’t have the features we needed. They also aren’t as intuitive as Mappt.

Objective

  • What was the overall objective of the project?

Developing new methodologies for urban land planning, using georeferencing through Drones, Geoprocessing, Geostatistics and MoT – Maps of Things. When we realise that our actions can give the expected sustainability in the project, then we create public policies and institute them in the municipalities.

 Solution

  • How did you use Mappt?

The app was used on a Tablet device, importing the features of the interested areas, adding physical and social information as needed for each address, such as pedology: -sandy –rocky –hard …; topology:  -rise -descent –level … ; etc.

  • What problems were solved?

The biggest problems were the inaccuracy of the data, since it was written on paper, the staff would check the wrong options.  The white paper also has a high reflectance, causing headaches for our staff.  Within 4 months of work, the amount of money that was saved on paper could even buy another device (Tablet). The number of people needed on each team on the field was reduced from 3 to 2, and in the office, to 1 person.

Urban planners utilising Mappt in the field

Urban planners utilising Mappt in the field

Orthophotos, JP2 images, loaded into Mappt

Orthophotos, JP2 images, loaded into Mappt

The visualisation of previously taken orthophotos and GPS position plus tracking helped the team to locate themselves and associate the polygons with the physical object.

The measurement of each team’s daily productivity allowed us to estimate precisely when the work would be finished.

We tried other apps available on the Google Play store, but none of them allowed editing the attributes by visually clicking the feature.  This makes the app very easy and intuitive to use, no knowledge of GIS software was needed.

Cadastral boundaries and building footprints in newly developed areas of Carlos Chagas City

Cadastral boundaries and building footprints in newly developed areas of Carlos Chagas City

  • Why did you choose Mappt over other software?

The choice of this app was based on its easy and intuitive interface. The field team found no difficulties in learning the steps to record information. Also no prior knowledge of GIS software is required for field data collection.  Initiating new team members is a quicker and therefore cheaper.

  • What Mappt features did you use?

All the work was done offline, even though an internet connection wasn’t required for this work. The paper forms became obsolete since Mappt allows users to edit directly on the attribute table, avoiding errors at the transcription stage.

Utilising the attribute to verify and update existing cadastral data. Note that Mappt is available in Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, Indonesian, Turkish, Hindi, Ukrainian, and Russian

Utilising the attribute to verify and update existing cadastral data. Note that Mappt is available in Korean, Japanese, Arabic, Spanish, Indonesian, Turkish, Hindi, Ukrainian, and Russian

Outcome

  • How did the project turn out?

The project was executed more efficiently and the clients were really satisfied.  Our clients even considered using the app themselves to update data from time to time.

  • What was the most valuable thing about the app?

The visualisation of orthophotos was undoubtedly the feature that most helped the field team to get their work done with precision. The style customisation of the polygons also helped them colour code the addresses that still required a site visit.

  • Did it save you time or money?

The amount of money saved is measured by the number of people that are not needed anymore; one person for each field team, and another one in the office to process the day’s field data. The amount saved on paper, would be used to pay for Mappt licenses and tablets over time.

  • Would you recommend Mappt to others? Why?

We sure do! The app is amazing, very stable, even when the devices got really hot, since a lot of sun light shined on it, it didn’t crash. The app doesn’t need high system requirements, the device we used was a Samsung Galaxy Tab A SM-T280 – 2016 (RAM: 1,5Gb; Internal Memory: 8Gb; Processor: Quad-Core 1.3GHZ; Battery: 4000mhA).

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

 

homeritoSpecial thanks to Homerito Meireles from the Federal University of Viçosa, Brazil for authoring this article.  We’re gifting Homerito a Mappt lithium battery pack for his efforts.  All contributors for user case studies receive a free battery pack for their efforts.  Contact us at:  support@mappt.com.au to submit your user case scenario and receive a free battery pack.

Use the Mappt Lithium Battery Pack for backup power on those long field days

Use the Mappt Lithium Battery Pack for backup power on those long field days

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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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Quick Field Inspection Reports From Mappt

Mappt continues to prove itself as a versatile tool with new and innovative uses occurring regularly.  This post focuses on implementing field inspections and in-field reporting using Mappt. 

Using Mappt to perform on-site roadworks inspections

Using Mappt to perform on-site roadworks inspections

A recent client inquired about Mappt’s ability to generate in-field inspection reports suitable as a client deliverable.  As an agnostic data collector (i.e. unhindered by proprietary data formats) Mappt renders data in various formats – both GIS-specific (e.g. shapefiles) and generic (e.g. .csv files).  As an efficient data capture tool, Mappt gives users the flexibility to create field forms following a natural data collection hierarchy and progression.

Completed roadworks inspection report from Mappt

Completed roadworks inspection report from Mappt

In this instance, we were provided with the client’s standard field inspection report and tasked with developing a workflow within Mappt for capturing all data to be included within the report and to provide functionality to generate reports in-field as a client deliverable.

The client’s standard six page inspection report was inclusive of seven unique data types covering the following categories;

  • General Parameters: date, time, inspector, weather
  • Site Photos: works in progress & comments
  • Roadworks by Location:  specific road locations & activities
  • Manpower Classification: job classifications and aggregate hours
  • Equipment Type and Number:  equipment in operation on site
  • Quality Assessments: assessments of roadworks to design
  • Safety Compliance: titles and names of responsible parties, proper signage, etc.
Segregating inspection data types into Layers improves data management

Segregating inspection data types into layers improves data management

Breaking each category into separate layers was deemed most effective as some categories were not required to be populated during each inspection/site visit.  For example, inspections might occur when the contractor was offsite and therefore recording the “equipment in operation on site” was unnecessary.  In addition, a single category might include upwards of forty-five attributes.  Including the possibly hundreds of features in a single field form is less ergonomic, requires the user to look at their screen for an extended period, and possibly unsafe as the user could become unaware of equipment operating nearby.Creating a comprehensive layer inclusive of 45 attributesCreating a comprehensive layer inclusive of 45 attributes

A unique but useful utility in Mappt is the ability to call up Google Street views directly from Mappt.  It is useful for orienting site visitors who may be unfamiliar to the project or for inclusion into a client deliverable such as these field reports.

The Google Street View Icon lets can help orient users to new locations

The Google Street View Icon (red circle) launches Google Street View on your tablet

Google Street View captured in Mappt helps users find new locations

Google Street View captured in Mappt helps users find new locations

After data collection for the inspection report has been completed the data are exported as comma separated values files.  Using a previously formatted spreadsheet workbook, the data is imported to a data input worksheet and a second formatted worksheet makes reference calls to the first to generate a print-ready field inspection report.  Users can than render the report in a printer friendly format (e.g. .pdf) and email it to the client.  Spreadsheet software for Android tablets includes MS Excel, Google Sheets, and Polaris Office.

Formatted field inspection report with reference calls to input sheet

Formatted field inspection report with reference calls to input sheet

Visualising Roadworks Inspection Information on Your Desktop

To visualise the roadworks inspection information on your desktop, first share the layers from Mappt as either GeoJSON or Shape Files and them import them to your desktop GIS system.  We mentioned that each feature contains numerous attributes and it may be necessary to call this information up ‘on-the-fly’ to recap previous inspections or track progress onsite.  Tool tips in QGIS are an effective means to call up attribute information, especially text information like this.  By calling up the display properties for your layer, it’s possible to call up any attribute information possible using HTML syntax.  Referencing an attribute is as follows; [% “AttributeName” %].  Using <br> ensures that a carriage return is used and any text typed in will also appear in the tool tip.  You’ll need to enable map tips from the View tab in QGIS to switch on map tips.  When map tips are enabled, hovering your mouse over a feature in the active/selected layer will cause the tool tip to appear.

Syntax used for displaying multiple attribute information in QGIS

Syntax used for displaying multiple attribute information in QGIS

 

Displaying information for features with multiple text attributes in QGIS

Displaying information for features with multiple text attributes in QGIS.  

This exercise highlights how Mappt can simplify field inspection report generation and improve data integrity.


Harmeet Kuar developed the workflow for: Quick Field Inspection Reports with Mappt

Harmeet Kuar developed the workflow for: Quick Field Inspection Reports with Mappt

By Harmeet Kaur

Harmeet Kaur is a recent Geographic Information Systems graduate from the University of Western Australia and has recently completed an internship with Takor. While at Takor, Harmeet focused on developing workflows to improve Mappt’s in-field usability and has contributed to many of the blog posts you see here.


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 or Apple App Store

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Mappt User Story: Protecting African wild cat species in Zambia

Panther's staff use Mappt on a daily basis

Panthera’s staff use Mappt on a daily basis

Dr Jake Overton is with Panthera, an NGO (Non-Governmental Organisation) devoted to the conservation of the world’s 40 wild cat species and their habitats.

The large cat species of Africa (Cheetah, Lion, Leopard, African Golden Cat, Caracal, and Serval) are under constant threat from poaching, illegal game trapping and habitat loss.  Big cat protection must be undertaken in a dynamic environment – the cats are constantly moving while illegal hunters never seem to take a rest.

Protecting large cats in Africa involves managing highly mobile animals over large areas.  Maintaining spatial awareness through mobile GIS systems is what makes Jake’s job more effective and ultimately improves big cat conservation outcomes.

“We use GIS for so many things – from ecological analyses to field planning.”

-Dr Jake Overton, Panthera

However, there were technical boundaries to utilising this GIS information in daily activities.  Panthera went searching for an interactive utility combining GIS and GPS in a portable device.  They found their solution in Mappt.  Prior to using Mappt, Panthera’s field crew had taken laptop-based GIS applications in the field – but crucially they weren’t linked to live positional information.

Panthera field staff now use Mappt on a daily basis for collaring and survey work.  Jake relies heavily on real time positioning available in Mappt for help in navigating remote areas without existing maps.  Another feature Jake has found especially helpful is the ability to load aerial images and cache Google Maps images for use offline in remote areas.

The view from Panthera's front office. Sioma National Park, Zambia

The view from Panthera’s front office. Sioma National Park, Zambia

Having the ‘big picture’ available, in terms of geospatial information, is essential for protecting big cats and their ecosystems.  Panthera’s objective is to protect wild cat species and the the environment that supports them.  Beyond traditional ‘protect and preserve’ practices, Panthera aims to provide thriving ecosystems to help wild cats again reach sustainability levels.

Mappt Mobile GIS is used to assist animal collaring in Sioma NP, Zambia

Mappt Mobile GIS is used to assist animal collaring in Sioma NP, Zambia

by Darren Smith

Mappt has a been game-changer for many organisations who rely on accurate geospatial information to improve efficiency and accuracy.

Try Mappt today by downloading it from the Google Play Store or Apple App Store

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Mappt Military at Modern Day Marine Expo 2018

Jim Rhetta manning the Mappt Military stand

Jim Rhetta manning the Mappt Military stand

Takor was represented by Jim Rhetta & Craig Baldner at the Modern Day Marine Expo from 25-27 Sep in Quantico Virginia to present our Mappt Military application.  This base is the HQ or the USMC with Program Offices and staff elements for acquisitions of new products.  This event is 3 times the size of the Marine West and Marine South Expos we attended this year. It is very popular with the Industry Partners.

This event had an unexpectedly wide variety of foreign attendees. These included personnel from Russia, Israel, Japan, Korea, Kazakhstan, Nigeria, Singapore, Austria and Saudi Arabia.  Most did not appear to be embassy Attache personnel, so may have been sent by their Nation or Unit for product awareness.

A member of the Australian Defence Force dropped by the Mappt Military stand

A member of the Australian Defence Force dropped by the Mappt Military stand

Providers of a wide-range of hardware products dominated the venue floor but there was a lot of interest in Mappt Military – the only mobile mapping product in attendance.  Contacts were made with representatives of several agencies including the Global Technology Office, Government Marketing & Procurement, Ft McCoy Training Range and the Comparative Technology Office.

A semi-submersible sailing drone was one of the new technologies presented at the expo

A semi-submersible sailing drone was one of the new technologies presented at the expo

Mappt Military has assisted ground personnel worldwide

Mappt Military has assisted ground personnel worldwide

Mappt Military provides enhanced situational awareness, field mapping and navigation tracking for defence and security personnel through a mobile application. To learn more about our game changing technology check out www.mapptmilitary.com

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Returning to Paradise with Mappt: How the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort Utilises Mappt to help Native Plant Re-vegetation

Lady Elliot Island, Queensland has taken on Mappt to assist native plant re-vegetation

Lady Elliot Island, Queensland has taken on Mappt to assist native plant re-vegetation

Lady Elliot Island is an idyllic 40 hectare coral cay, located 84 kilometres off the Queensland coast. It is the southernmost coral cay of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The surrounding waters are known for their clarity due to the island’s southerly location and distance from the mainland. Its proximity to the Australian continental shelf is believed to be linked to the availability of food for manta rays, for which the island is renowned.
Human Impacts
By the late 1800’s, guano mining had removed significant amounts of material lowering the island by 1 – 1.5m. The guano was used in the manufacture of agricultural fertilisers. Goats were also introduced about this time as a food source, and were subsequently removed in the late 1960’s. The island remained baron until the establishment of a small low-key tourist resort in the late 1960’s, which has been credited with starting a revegetation program also contributed to by the lighthouse keepers.
Many species of plants were introduced in the early years, a lot of which were not native to the coral cays of the southern Great Barrier Reef. Positive revegetation efforts continued over many years. Current efforts are focused on removing the introduced exotics and replacing them with native species to build the island’s resilience to climate change.

Lady Elliot Island, LEI, Ecco Resort is replacing introduced plants with natives. Mappt Mobile GIS has been implemented as the preferred field data collection and validation tool for LEI's re-vegetation program

Lady Elliot Island, LEI, Ecco Resort is replacing introduced plants with natives. Mappt Mobile GIS has been implemented as the preferred field data collection and validation tool for LEI’s re-vegetation program

Where Mappt Comes In

Mappt has been selected to help manage and monitor re-vegetation efforts on Lady Elliot Island.  The LEI Ecosystem Resilience Plan has been developed based on the Queensland Herbarium’s ‘Regional Ecosystem Model’, identifying appropriate native species best suited to this environment.  The modular delivery approach is ‘step-wise’ with a nominated area being prepared and re-vegetated prior to another area starting.

Functionality such as ‘geofenced exclusion/inclusion zones’ and buffering (a new feature in Mappt) are useful tools for this type of work.  For example, ‘exclusion zones’ help keep activities within, or outside, designated zones.  Buffering tools assist with activities adjacent to aircraft runways to manage Civil Aviation Safety Authority requirements.

Mappt Mobile GIS is used in-field to help workers locate areas for revegetation on Lady Elliot Island.

Mappt Mobile GIS is used in-field to help workers locate areas for revegetation on Lady Elliot Island.

Mappt for Better Land Management

Mappt is an intuitive, easy-to-use field data collection application that lends itself to a variety of disciplines including land management, agriculture, and sustainability programs. Important ecosystems such as Lady Elliot Island benefit from careful management supported by up-to-date geospatial information.

Lady Elliot Island staff using Mappt to direct contractors on re-vegetation activities

Lady Elliot Island staff using Mappt to direct contractors on re-vegetation activities

Contact us today to learn how Mappt can be of benefit to your field mapping and data collection activities.

Re-vegetation polygons on Lady Elliot Island. Note the buffering polygon surrounding the island's runway.

Re-vegetation polygons on Lady Elliot Island. Note the buffering polygon surrounding the island’s runway.

 

 

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Mappt User Story: Building Market Linkages for Smallholder Farmers in Uganda

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a research and policy nonprofit that discovers and promotes effective solutions to global poverty problems. IPA brings together researchers and decision-makers to design, rigorously evaluate, and refine these solutions and their applications, ensuring that the evidence created is used to improve the lives of the world’s poor.

enumerator

A project enumerator collects data from a respondent using Mappt on a Samsung-SM231 in a rural village in Uganda

Laza Razafimbelo is a research associate at IPA in Uganda. He works on the “Market Linkages for Smallhold Farmers in Uganda” project. Prices of staple foods like maize, beans, and rice vary substantially in Sub-Saharan Africa, depending on the season, country, and region. Addressing the imbalance in food supply and increasing farmer income may require a multi-pronged approach that tackles multiple barriers at once. The project is evaluating the impact of contract farming services and a mobile technology-enhanced trader alerts system on food markets across Uganda.

Why did you need to use a  Geographic Information System (GIS) in the project?

Laza: In planning the project, it was decided that a Geographic Information System (GIS) was required for 2 reasons;

  1. As a management tool, we needed to use it to keep track of the data collection process.
  2. As part of the project, we wanted to map the road to our study areas and collect information along the route.

Why did you need Mappt?

Laza: Mappt is the best road mapping app we could find on the market after testing several. It has a great support and sales team. One may be tempted to use the bunch of free apps on the market, but this made the difference and the quality of data from Mappt is incomparable to other applications.

What problems were occurring before Mappt?

Laza: Internet coverage is a big problem. The internet is not always guaranteed since we mainly work in the rural area of Uganda. We  found that paper materials were messy and inaccurate. We tried to collect some of the data (travel time, etc)  manually, but the data was inconsistent due to the inaccuracy.

How did you use Mappt?

Laza: We were using Mappt to help us to add the transport cost into our analysis. With Mappt, we were mapping the main commercial routes of our study areas. With the same tool, we also collected other data such as road quality type, travel time, etc. We subscribed to 9 licenses for a period of 2 months and we managed to collect all the different data that we wanted using only one tool – Mappt.

Why did you choose Mappt over other software?

Laza: We chose Mappt for a number of reasons – cost efficient, ability to work offline, brilliant attribute features and vector layers, good GPS coordination system and great support and sales team.

So how did the project turn out?

Laza: We are done with the data collection and will start the analysis.

What was the most valuable thing about Mappt?

Laza: Reliable tool (never got a bug), great support and sales team.

Final question – would you recommend Mappt to others? Why?

Laza: We highly recommended Mappt for any mobile GIS work for its reliability and the great team behind it. We have tried a lot of other apps but Mappt is way better.

mangotree

Collecting field data using Mappt under the shade of a mango tree in rural Uganda

 

Try Mappt today by downloading it from the Google Play Store

 

Mappt User Story: Measuring Ecological & Economic Effectiveness of Restoration Actions

Judith Fisher is an ecologist in Western Australia and an Elected Member of the IPBES Multidisciplinary Expert Panel Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

Judith exemplifies the “think global, act local” belief.

Judith Fisher, an acclaimed ecologist and Mappt power user

Judith Fisher, an acclaimed ecologist and Mappt power user

She has spent countless days over the past 10 months documenting & mapping baseline information on plant communities and invasive species in an urban nature reserve close to her home. Trigg Bushland is an “A Class” reserve located approximately 11km north-west of the Perth CBD in Western Australia and is roughly 170 hectares in size.

Judith has developed a method for measuring the ecological and economic effectiveness of the restoration actions which have taken place within the reserve.

But first she must establish a baseline. After much searching on the market for a suitable mobile data collection app to help her in the field, Judith discovered Mappt. She has configured a custom data collection form in Mappt that allows her to map out the boundaries of individual map communities within the reserve and document the native & invasive species within each community. She uses a Samsung 10″ tablet and a copy of Mappt Professional to record the spatial and non-spatial data. The data is exported at regular intervals off the tablet and analysed using desktop GIS.

Plant communities in the Trigg Busland

Plant communities in the Trigg Busland

The City of Stirling (where Trigg Reserve is located) and City of Mandurah (100km south of Perth) have already adopted Judith’s methodology. But it won’t end there – Judith’s past experience with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and her current work with the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) has lead her to believe that this methodology can be applied around the world.

We met up with Judith one VERY windy day in Trigg Bushland Reserve to hear more about her work and experiences using Mappt in the field.

Check out our video interview here – https://youtu.be/m28liqaFt24

(Apologies in advance for the audio quality. Did I mention it was very windy…?)

Connect with Judith on LinkedIn

PS: If you enjoyed the aerial drone shots of Trigg in the video , check out this video for some bonus footage: https://youtu.be/2hL4SfY_VeY

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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.

 

 

 

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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.