Which product best fits our needs?

“I’m browsing through your website and trying to figure out which product best fits our needs. We run a farming operation that deals with fields of many shapes and sizes. We’re looking for an easy to use solution. Here is our wish list:

1. Non-expensive
2. Integrates with iPhone or iPad
3. Exportable to PC to overlay on Google Maps or other mapping software
4. Sub meter accuracy

Would you be able to point me in the right direction?”

Items 1 and 4 on your wish list are related. The greatest expense you will incur is in the GPS receiver. GPS with sub-meter accuracy cost a lot more than consumer-grade GPS with 2 – 5 m accuracy. The EOS Arrow Gold and the iSXBlue II+ GNSS provide sub-meter accuracy.

Our iCMTGIS III GPS/GIS data collection and mapping app will run on iPhone and iPad devices. It provides the ability to export Feature data as a .kml file that you can upload to Google Earth and Google My Maps. It will also export Feature data in Shapefiles format and DXF file format. Many GIS software provide the ability to import Shapefiles. So does our PC-GIS X mapping software, which will also work with the Job files you created by using iCMTGIS III.

(Farming GPS GIS III provides similar functionality as iCMTGIS III, but it will only run on iPad devices.)

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GPS/GIS apps that will also draw a deed plot

“I have Deed Calls & Stakeout for iPad and have successfully created a plat with property lines. I have walked my property and found the corners. It’s a really great app. What I’d like to do next is walk my property and draw features such as tree lines, roads/paths, rock outcroppings, springs, etc. How do I do that?”

The Deed Calls & Stakeout app was designed to help you create a plat by entering the deed calls then walk the property line. It does not provide the functions for digitizing Features such as tree lines, roads/paths, houses, etc.

The Deed Calls Pro app for iPad has the deed calls functionality as well as the digitizing functions. This app can convert a deed plot that you have entered into a Feature. This will allow you to draw a deed plot, save it as a Feature then draw another deed plot. You will also be able to manually drop GPS points or draw lines and areas in this app and assign different symbols/colors to the Features that represent roads, houses, trees, springs, etc.

If you wish to use GPS to map Point, Line and Area Features to represent tree lines, houses, etc., these tasks are better performed using one of our GPS/GIS data collection apps, such as Forester GPS GIS II, Forester GPSGIS III, iCMTGIS III or iCMTGIS PRO. These apps will let you record many GPS fixes at one location and average the data to obtain a more accurate position record. Thy also provide the ability to create a deed plot and convert it to a Feature.

What’s the difference between Utility Data Collection and iCMTGIS II?

Both the Utility Data Collection app and the iCMTGIS II app provide GPS data collection functions. iCMTGIS II will let you record GPS data for the Features defined in the Feature List, or for a Feature that you add on the spot. Utility Data Collection will let you select any existing Feature Topic for recording GPS/GIS data. If the selected Feature Topic exists in the Feature List associated with the Job, the pre-defined data collection parameters will be used, although you can overwrite them if you wish. For a Feature Topic that does not exist in the Feature List associated with the Job, you can specify the desired data collection parameters, unless you just want to use the default settings.

Utility Data Collection does not provide the Create Grid function. However, it provides a number of newer functions. For example, it will let you attach photos to any Feature. It will let you sort the data records in Sheet View. You can also search the data records based on an Attribute. You can output the Feature data to a PDF file. Besides importing and exporting Shapefiles, it will also let you import and export Features in DXF format. You will also be able to import and export text files for Point Features.

Utility Data Collection has, of course, a few functions dedicated to meter reading data collection. There is a dedicated data input screen that takes you from record to record for sequential data entry. The app provides the option for you to display a route connecting discrete points. You can even have it highlight which points already have data recorded for them. In fact, these functions can be used to advantage for any general GPS/GIS data collection application as well.

Therefore, if you are considering purchasing the iCMTGIS II for GPS/GIS data collection, and you do not need the Create Grid function, you could consider getting the Utility Data Collection app instead.

I want to keep my tractor in line and also record the track

You can use iCMTGIS II or iGPSGIS II in conjunction with Stakeout iCMT. iCMTGIS II and iGPSGIS II will record the GPS track in the background while you use the Stakeout iCMT to keep your tractor in line.

With your iPad and a reasonably accurate external GPS receiver, you will be able to use iCMTGIS II or iGPSGIS II to record the locations for points, lines and areas. You will be able to drive around a land plot and map the Area Feature for the land plot. You could record a tractor path as a Line Feature. Or, you could turn on the Tracklog and have the track automatically recorded as you move along.

Stakeout iCMT provides the Point Stakeout and Line Stakeout functions. The Line Stakeout function will show how much you deviate from a path. You can either digitize that path in Stakeout iCMT, or get a previously recorded Line Feature or Area Feature from iCMTGIS II or iGPSGIS II.

When you tap the Settings button in a stakeout screen, you will see the option to display a message and/or issue a beep when you are within the distance specified in the Tolerance field. Therefore, if you set this tolerance value to be 3 ft, then as long as you are within 3 ft of the line you will hear beeps or see a “Target!” message flash on the screen. When you are out of bounds, the beeps will stop and you won’t see the “Target!” message.

That said, the accuracy of the stakeout and the recorded track or Line Feature will depend on the accuracy of the GPS receiver used. For sub-meter accuracy, you will need to budget for a GPS receiver like the iSXBlue II.

I need a data collection app for the GPS/GIS class I’m taking

If you own an iPhone, then the iGPSGIS II would be a good choice. This professional and economical app will let you record GPS/GIS data for Points, Lines and Area Features. Among other things, you can use it to learn about setting up GPS data collection parameters and a Feature List (custom Attribute table) to faciliate data collection. You will be able to export the data in Shapefile format, which can be loaded into your office processing software that can work with Shapefiles.

iCMTGIS Version 1.2.6 Released on April 5, 2011

We are pleased to hear from many iCMTGIS users that they find the application most useful and powerful. We are thankful to the users who have reported program bugs that they encountered. All known bugs have been fixed in  iCMTGIS Version 1.2.6, and the weather is getting better, so you can expect to be much more productive in the coming months.

If you would like to share your experience of using iCMTGIS in your field of work, or if you have a question about the iCMTGIS software or GPS/GIS data collection in general, please feel free to post your comment on this blog site.