GIS Training Software

“I am interested in buying a GIS training CD. I plan to finish my degree online some time in the future but would like to have the ability to learn about GIS now on my personal laptop.”

Our GIS Training CD is outdated and can only run on XP PCs.

If you have an iPhone to use, it would make more sense to purchase our iGPSGIS II app for field data collection, and download our free PC-GIS DEMO software to view the collected data.

Please download the PDF copy of the iGPSGIS II manual, from which you can learn quite a bit about GIS. You can find the iGPSGIS II Manual under “Help Documents” on the right panel of this blog site.

GPS week rollover in 2019

It’s been 19.7 years since the last GPS week rollover took place in the year 1999. If you are still using an old GPS receiver for data collection, then after April 6, 2019 the GPS data will be recorded with a much earlier date. Newer GPS/GNSS use 13 bits instead of 10 bits to encode the GPS week value, and therefore will continue to work properly for a much longer time before the GPS week will be rolled back again.

According to EOS CTO Jean-yves Lauture, “GPS Week Number Rollovers have been accounted for and implemented in all Arrow firmware builds available from Eos since the creation of the Arrow Series™ product line.”

According to Donnay Fleury Nahimana, PhD, GNSS Development and Test Specialist, the SXblue devices of Geneq Inc. will continue to function properly after the 6th of April 2019 GPS rollover. The units are running GNSS firmware that accounts for the GPS rollovers on 13 bits since 1999.

According to John McLellan, C.H.ElF (Chief Helper Elf), Bad Elf, LLC, “I’ve been reassured by our engineers that rollover week is handled on all of our devices.” (4/7/19 update: We used our Bad Elf GPS-2200 to record a couple GPS points today. The date recorded is correct.”

According to the Dual Tech Support Team, “XGPS150 units that were manufactured before December 2011 will be affected by the rollover event. There will be a firmware version that will resolve this issue.” (4/6/19 update: We used our Dual XGPS-150A to record a couple GPS points today. The date recorded is correct.”

For Garmin aviation devices, please read the following article:

Click to access 1905A.pdf

For Trimble GNSS units, please read:
https://community.trimble.com/thread/5699-are-trimble-gnss-receivers-ready-for-the-gps-week-2019

Family sharing of iOS apps

“If I were to purchase iCMT GIS III, how many ipads with the same apple id could I put it on with the purchase?

It looks like the limit is 6:

https://www.apple.com/icloud/family-sharing/

Some GPS/GNSS receivers compatible with iPad and iPhone devices

Recently Geneq Inc. announced their new SXBlue Platinum GNSS receiver.

As you know, the accuracy of the work performed using an iOS GPS/GIS app depends on the GPS receiver used. The assisted GPS provided by the iOS devices are not adequate for serious work that are based on accurate locations. External GPS receivers with much better precision abound, but only a limited number of them are compatible with the iOS devices. Following are links to information on some of the external Bluetooth GPS/GNSS receivers that can work with iPad and iPhone devices. Not sureprisingly, higher precision equates to a higher price tag.

http://www.sxbluegps.com/product/platinum/

http://www.eos-gnss.com/arrow-gold-safertk-gnss/#1457391744922-32431e8d-bc6aef4f-4b59

http://gps.dualav.com/explore-by-product/xgps150a/

https://bad-elf.com/pages/be-gps-2200-detail

https://buy.garmin.com/en-US/US/p/109827#specs

Things You Didn’t Know About GPS: By Calum McClelland

In this week’s newsletter from NGS CORS there is an article that you might find interesting to read. You can click on the following link:

https://www.ngs.noaa.gov/CORS/news.shtml

and look for “NOAA-NOS-NGS-CORS Weekly Newsletter
Created On UTC Date: Tue Apr 18 20:19 2017”

In the Newsletter scroll down until you see “Things You Didn’t Know About GPS: By Calum McClelland”

GPS Reliability

By now you’ve probably learned that one should not rely entirely on GPS while traveling. Here’s a somber reminder.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jun/25/gps-horror-stories-driving-satnav-greg-milner

iCMTGIS III for doing power/light poles inventory

“I am interested in the iGPSGIS however I don’t know much about GIS and I don’t want to spend money unless I know it will work for my application. I want to open a map out in the field and inventory power/light poles, and document their condition, type, height, color and take a picture, as well as get a X,Y,Z coordinate. I then need to save the file and provide it to a City via an ArcGIS layer file. Will your software allow for this? Is it easy? I tried a free trial of ArcGIS and it’s so hard that I can’t do anything. I hope your software can help. . . . How many data fields can I save for 1 point?”

It appears that you are looking for a GPS/GIS app to run on your iPhone.

Our iGPSGIS II app only runs on the iPhone; it does not run on the iPad. Our iCMTGIS III can run on the iPhone as well as the iPad. iCMTGIS III has many more functions than iGPSGIS II.

Both apps can let you log the X,Y,Z coordinates of power/light poles and document their conditions, type, height and color. Both apps can export the Feature data as Shapefiles for use in ArcGIS.

iCMTGIS III will let you take a picture and link it to a Feature, while iGPSGIS II does not provide that functionality. Also, iCMTGIS III will let you load a GeoTiff map to use as off-line background map.

I am attaching a copy of the Help documents for iGPSGIS II and iCMTGIS III so you can make a comparison. Many customers come to us because our software is easy to use.

As you can see, you can set up many fields in the Feature List to facilitate data collection.

How to digitize a point, a line or an area over a map?

With many of the CMT apps, you can draw a point, a line or an area by tapping or dragging on the iPad or iPhone screen. This seems quite basic, but beginning users who have not read the instructions may be stumped because they are not yet familiar with the concept of Topic layers, which is employed in those CMT apps that provide a Topic View and a Sheet View.

To better manage your GPS/GIS data, point-type features like buildings or trees should be placed on a Point Topic layer; line-type features like roads and rivers should be on a Line Topic layer; area-type features like stands, parks and lakes should be added to an Area Topic layer. Please view this Youtube video to see the procedure for creating a Topic layer and adding some features to the active Topic layer.

You can turn on the built-in Apple map when wi-fi connection is available. Under the Main Menu select Map then select the desired map display mode.

Polygons converted to Shapefiles using kml2shp online

“Q2. I imported a polygon with 12 corners (110 ac area in Pennsylvania) (KMZ from GoogleEarth converted to shape with kml2shp online). The imported polygon has two additional 14 points, one located near the south west coast of Africa. Any polygon imported as escrowed contains one point in the South Africa location. How o I deal with this.”

There is a bug in kml2shp online.

Your polygon with 12 corners will show 13 nodes in Contour-Volume-Stakeout and any of our other apps that imports Shapefiles. This is normal – nodes 1 and 13 are the same to close the polygon.

The problem is that, when converting a polygon, kml2shp online always adds one extra point with 0 Lat/Lon.

You can resolve this issue by modifying the coordinates of node14 to be the same as node13.

1) Select the polygon.

2) Tap on the Feature Properties icon to call up the dialog.

3) Change Node# to 13 and write down the LAT/LON.

4) Change Node# to 14 and replace LAT/LON with the values from node13.

Off-line GPS data collection

“I would like the ability to collect points, lines, and polygons in the field, offline, with a way to easily download them as shapefiles for use in ArcMap when I return to the office. Will I need to purchase anything else in order to do what I have indicated?”

iCMTGIS II and iGPSGIS II will let you collect points, lines, and polygons in the field, offline, and you can download them as Shapefiles for use in ArcMap when you return to the office.

As far as off-line GPS/GIS data collection and Shapefile import/export goes, iCMTGIS II or iGPSGIS II is all you need.

The questions is whether you need to have a background map displayed as reference while collecting GPS/GIS data.

When you have connection to wi-fi, you can have the standard or satellite Apple Map displayed as background map.

If you have Shapefiles for the region in which you will be collecting data, you can import those into iCMTGIS II or iGPSGIS II as off-line background reference.
If you need to have an off-line geotiff background map displayed during data collection, then you will need to get the PC-GIS 09 mapping software, which will convert geotiff images to the .pim format for use with iCMTGIS II or iGPSGIS II.

Is there a more accurate GPS receiver to use with your apps?

As you know, the built-in GPS of the iPhone and iPad with GPS are not quite accurate. It is adequate for helping you get to the vicinity of a target location or for mapping a large area to obtain the acreage. The next best thing to do is to connect the iPhone or iPad to a compatible external consumer-grade GPS device that provides 1-3 m or 3-5 m accuracy. The Dual XGPS150A, Garmin GLO GPS + GLONASS and Bad Elf Pro belong to this category.

To obtain sub-meter accuracy using your iPad or iPhone with our apps, such as iCMTGIS II, iGPSGIS II, Utility Data Collection, Farming GPS GIS, Forester GPS GIS, Stakeout iCMT, Deed Calls & Stakeout, etc., there is an iSXBlue GNSS supplied by Geneq Inc. that will work with these devices via Bluetooth connection though it is rather expensive.  Please click on this link to see the product description. (2015 Edit: EOS Arrow will also work with iOS devices.)

Do you have an app for Sales Route Management?

Not at this time, but our Utilities Data Collection app, due to be released soon, provides functions that could just as well be used for sales route management.

Let’s say you are to restock a number of vending machines in the county. You could set up a route of stops to be made and a database containing the store names, addresses, inventory items, a status field to indicate whether you have visited a certain stop on the current route, and perhaps a date field for entering the date of your last visit. The Meter Reading function will display the route connecting the stops and present a data entry form for each stop. You can scroll through the stops or go to a particular stop based on a search criterion. You will also be able to attach one or more photos to the Feature representing a stop.

You could have the Feature List set up such that the stops that have been visited will display in a different color than the ones you have not yet visited on the current route. The data for the route stops Topic can be exported and imported via a text file, which can be imported into Excel. After transferring the data to your PC or Mac, you can refresh the route stops by using the “Erase Values” function to zero out old data.  Please stay tuned for the announcement of the release of the Utility Data Collection app.

Does the iGPSGIS II collect GPS data the same way as my L4 system?

It may surprise you, but the answer is a resounding “Yes“. The data collection parameter settings are the same on the iGPSGIS II and iCMTGIS II as on the premium CMT-HP-L4 GPS data collection backpack system of old. You can log a Point for a specified session duration. You can log a Line or Area by getting GPS fixes at a specified time interval or at a specified distance interval. You can log a Line or Area with Nested Points, and you can easily record a Static Line or Static Area by logging data only at the vertices.

The L4 system provides differential correction functions and yields much more accurate position information. But if you just want to do a quick preliminary survey of a job site using your iPhone or iPad, then iGPSGI II (for iPhone) or iCMTGIS II (for iPad) is the app to get.

How to improve position accuracy of recorded points

When using a consumer-grade GPS, you may find that the device does not pin-point your exact location. Sometimes the GPS marker can be quite a distance away from your actual position.

As we’ve mentioned in a previous post, there are many factors that affect the accuracy of the computed GPS position. Some of those factors are out of your control. GPS differential correction can help remove some sources of position errors, but consumer-grade GPS does not provide differentially corrected GPS data.

Nevertheless, you can do a few things to help improve the position accuracy of the points logged. First of all, make sure your device has a  good view of the sky and is not obstructed by nearby objects (especially reflective ones) or buildings. Secondly, after turning on the GPS device, wait 8 – 10 minutes until it settles down. This will be indicated by the GPS marker  settling close to where it should be (if you are doing this at a reference location) and is not jumping all around. Then you would start recording your point positions. If you are using iCMTGIS II or iGPS GIS II, you can usually get a reasonably good position by setting the Time Session to 300 seconds (5 minutes).

Remember that each time you turn GPS off from your app and turn it back on, you will need to wait a few minutes for the GPS to settle down. Same if you turn off an external GPS device then turn it on using its ON button.

GPS accuracy on an iPhone, iPad or iPad Mini

We have received many inquiries about the GPS accuracy on various models of the iOS devices. This is a question for Apple to answer, but the coveted information is nowhere to be found in the product specs.

In general, consumer-grade devices that are sold separately, or the GPS built into some PDAs, the iPhone or the iPad, are not of high accuracy, but can be used to satisfaction for determining larger acreages.  Point position accuracy generally improves if you log a number of GPS fixes at one location then have the average value computed. Such functionality is provided by iCMTGIS II and iGPSGIS II.

The accuracy provided by consumer-grade GPS can range from 1 m to 20 m, depending on the device and the conditions under which the measurements are made. The iPad Mini with cellular and the newer iPhone models provide GLONASS capability. These will offer better GPS position accuracy than the older models.

A number of consumer-grade GPS devices claim 1-3 m or 3-5 m, accuracies. Some of them are compatible with the iPhone and iPad (e.g. Dual XGPS150A, Garmin GLO GPS + GLONASS, Bad Elf GPS PRO) . We heard that there will soon be external Blue-tooth GPS devices with sub-meter accuracy available for use with the iPad. However, keep in mind that better accuracy usually comes with a higher price tag.