Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Can You (Really) Map on an iPad?

Geospatial Technologies in Education Asks


(you can using Nuqed)

I wanted to find out whether anyone has figured out how to use an iPad to map with. I tried out an iPad (with 3G) a couple of months ago and used the Google Earth app, Google Maps app and ESRI's GIS app. With plenty of nearby cell service, I could find myself pretty accurately. Great! But I could not for the life of me figure out how to save a location and, thus, create a KML.

I put the question to a list that I'm on plus I sent out a call on Twitter.  Because I think information like this should be freed from the lock-box of email threads and Twitter streams, I am compiling my findings here. I should also say that I am a known skeptic when it comes to the iPad. My research was out of self-interest as I am writing a paper on using tablet PCs in field-based classes and I wanted to talk about alternative mapping technologies. (The geologist in the photo is using a Toughbook, just to confuse you/get your attention.) The reviewers of our paper did not believe me and my collaborators when we said that iPads were not a viable mapping option.
What do you think?

Dear NY GIS-users list:
I am collecting information on whether anyone has tried to use an iPad for data collection. Whether you tried and failed or tried and found success, I am most interested in use of the iPad for mapping. Can it be used for collecting and saving points, lines and polygons? Or if you do Google: placemarks, paths, and polygons?  Using the iPad's 3G capability, one can get a fairly accurate location when using ESRI's mapping app or Google Maps or Earth, but can one actually map location and saving and share as a shapefile or KML?
Many thanks,
Meg Stewart
Geospatial Instructional Technologist
The android operating system has similar capabilities.
See also  http://www.seeclickfix.com/citizens
Hi Meg,
I saw your question on the list serv and thought you might be interested in an app that we have developed, MobileRecon. Attached are two PDFs with additional info [Note: just look at the link]. There are actually new features in addition to what is in the brochures, so, if you're interested, let me know and I can detail those for you. While MobileRecon is built for iPhone, we have a version in the works for iPad that takes advantage of its larger surface area.
Best, Jay
This summers On the Cutting Edge GIS and Remote Sensing workshop had a number of us exploring this. On one field day we had a mix of iPads, Toughbooks and Tablets running ArcPad, ArcMap and other software. Still working out best methods for mapping directly on the iPad, but a consensus was that this had real promise. I'll be exploring more this spring. We looked at using ESRI Arc on iPad, GoogleEarth and GoogleMaps and MotionX GPS HD.
Key points were,
-need cellular service to access imagery/servers in the field
-GPS was quite good in most cases (we were working in "good" environments)
-screen visibility was good, and in many cases much better than tablets
-iPad will not hold up like Toughbook, but does not cost $5000 either
-ziplock bag worked well to "weatherproof" iPad
-stylus needed to draw accurately
I'm currently testing BlueSLR app & hardware that links iPad and digital camera to encode GPS data in the EXIF data of digital photos.
Be really interested in hearing what others have to say on this.
Via Twitter
@TheSteve0  @meg_stewart the browser would let you do it with something like openlayers - but not potlach2 since that is flash #GIS#ipad
Jan 24, 2011
geoparadigm said...
One concern for mapping with the Ipad in the field is display. In direct sun it is very hard to read, and it has an internal temp sensor which automatically shuts it down if it gets too hot.

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