App to help plant trees?

“I am wondering if any of your programs could be used in my tractor as a way to guide me in driving a straight line when planting Christmas trees? Even if it doesn’t help me row by row could it be used to help me lay out a planting? Help to drive the first line across a field?”

The GPS system you will need to guide a tractor along a line to plant Christmas trees requires a high-precision GPS receiver used in conjunction with an app that will let you record a few reference points, draw the line on the map and guide the tractor along the line.

The actual equipment and app you select will depend on the accuracy you wish to achieve. Of course, a high-accuracy system comes with a high cost.

The SXBlue Platinum and EOS Arrow Gold GPS receivers can be used with iCMTGIS III to achieve sub-meter accuracy.

The SXBlue Platinum and EOS Arrow Gold GPS receivers can be used with iCMTGIS PRO and a RTK network to achieve cm-level accuracy.

As there will also be visual cues to guide the tractor, do you think sub-meter accuracy will be sufficient for you?

Both iCMTGIS III and iCMTGIS PRO will let you load a geo-referenced background map (*.tif. *.pim or *.bmp). These are useful as a general reference, but they are not accurate enough to let you pin-point your first point or line by digitization.

You could use iCMTGIS III with a SXBlue Platinum or an EOS Arrow Gold GPS receiver to record the property boundary and the starting point to sub-meter accuracy. iCMTGIS III and iCMTGIS PRO will let you create a grid over the property to indicate where the trees are to be planted.

iCMTGIS III and iCMTGIS PRO provide the Stakeout functions to guide you along the grid lines. These apps will display how far the tractor deviates from the line. You could also set up the apps to keep beeping as long as the tractor stays on the line within the specified tolerance.


Recording property lines

“I have recently purchased a 19 acre field/forest and have a new survey PLAT with freshly marked property pins. I would like to permanently record the data points onto a GPS device such as an iPhone for when the markers are removed (to install fences, argue with neighbors over hunting areas, etc.). I need the app to be able to guide me between the pins while walking with the GPS.”

For your intended use, you will need a high-precision GPS receiver. The GPS built into the iPhone is good to about 30 ft or worse in some situations. This is in adequate for settling arguments between neighbors.

The Deed Calls and Deed Calls & Stakeout apps are for drawing the deed plot by entering the deed calls (bearing and distance information). The Deed Calls & Stakeout app will then be able to guide you along this deed plot. To correctly place the plot on the map on the iPhone, you will need to have the GPS coordinates for the first point. These two apps do provide a “Pick GPS” button for you to grab one GPS fix. However, it will be an approximate position if you are just using the iPhone built-in GPS.

As you want to record the positions of the stake points and also be guided to walk between the pins, the system to use is a high-precision GPS receiver like the iSXBlue II+ GNSS or the EOS Arrow Gold with an iPhone or iPad running iCMTGIS III or iCMTGIS PRO. The iCMTGIS III and iCMTGIS PRO apps will let you record a position by taking many GPS fixes and averaging them. They will also let you record an irregular property boundary by walking along the boundary. They provide the Point Stakeout (to guide you to the pins later) and Line Stakeout functions (for guiding you along the property boundary later). They also provide the Deed Calls functionality.

In summary, it boils down to the desired accuracy. Using an iPhone running Deed Calls or Deed Calls & Stakeout app might be adequate for a realtor or a forester (to do a quick approximate deed plot). Deed Calls & Stakeout is useful for someone who needs to find old stakes based on a deed plot. To record accurate stake positions, you will definitely need a much better GPS than the iPhone GPS. If you can accept a 2 m – 5 m (6 ft – 15 ft) error, then you could consider using the less expensive Dual XGPS-150A or Bad Elf GPS.

Do you have an app with enough accuracy to walk a property line, stake it and build a fence?

We have such apps for use on iPad and iPhone devices. The accuracy depends on the GPS receiver used.

The iCMTGIS PRO with EOS Arrow Gold or iSXBlue II+ GNSS is for performing a survey-grade job with high accuracy. This system has a high price tag. Consumer-grade GPS such as the Dual XGPS-150A or a Bad Elf GPS only claim 2 – 5 meter accuracy and are much more affordable.

Finding iron markers

“I just purchased a home, and I have the plat and pretty much all the information I need to find the iron markers for my property line. But I am having trouble finding them. I know where the two front posts are. I was wondering if your app would help me go from the front of my property to the backs markers. And which app I should use.”

If all you need is to find the other iron markers, the Deed Calls and Stakeout app will do.

The Deed Calls functionality will let you get a GPS fix for the first point at the front of your property. It will let you enter the deed calls from your property description to draw a simple deed plot. Then you can select that deed plot as the target for the Line Stakeout function. The app will help you stay on the property line while walking. This should make it easier for you to find the iron stakes that are on the property line.

Please keep in mind that the GPS receiver on the iPhone is not that accurate. This means that in some cases you might need to search in a 500 – 1000 sq ft area for an iron stake when you are in the vicinity of that stake. You could use a consumer-grade GPS receiver such as the Dual XGPS-150A or a Bad Elf GPS with our app to narrow that area down to about 30 – 100 sq ft.

iCMTGIS PRO for electric pole staking

“So what I’m needing is software that can collect a start and end point for a new line and then take those and tell me where along that line to set my electric poles in order to keep them nice and straight in line with the starting and ending pole. Also it would need to be able to route me say 90 degrees from one point across the road to another pole 65 feet away (for example). Then if I could take these points and load them into Arc GIS as points to snap to, where I could then use my staking application to draw the new lines on the map at these points.”

Yes, iCMTGIS PRO along with the EOS Sub-cm GPS receiver will enable you to achieve what you have in mind.

1. Data Collection

You can use the GPS – Collect function in iCMTGIS PRO to record the start and end points then create the Line Feature.

2. Line Stakeout

The GPS – Line Stakeout function in iCMTGIS PRO will help you stay on the straight line and display your distance from the starting point. This will allow you to set a pole at a specific distance from the staring point. The app also provides a function to let you store the position of the pole. There is a tolerance setting in the Stakeout function that will issue beeps and flash a “Target” message as long as you are within range.

3. Traverse and Point Stakeout

“Also it would need to be able to route me say 90 degrees from one point across the road to another pole 65 feet away (for example).”

The GPS – Collect – Traverse function in iCMTGIS PRO will let you occupy an existing point and create a new point based on distance and angle (bearing or azimuth). Then you can use the GPS – Point Stakeout function to help you get to the new point.

If that “other pole” already exists as an imported point, then you will simply use GPS – Point Stakeout to get to it.

In fact, I would incorporate the point representing that other pole or any other location in the Line Feature mentioned in Step 2 above. In other words, you would create your entire “route” as a single Line Feature (no matter how many bends there are) then use the Line Stakeout function throughout.

4. Digitization

You can draw Points, Lines and Areas within iCMTGIS PRO. You can export these Features to Shapefiles to use in other apps. You can also import Points, Lines and Areas from Shapefiles.

“Would one of your less expensive apps do some of the tasks I talked about in my first email just to try it out?”

The Stakeout iCMT app is very cost effective for performing the point and line stakeout tasks. What it does not provide, among others, are the GPS – Collect function and the GPS – Traverse function. In addition, it gets the GPS position from the Apple CoreLocation, which is not as accurate as the GPS position that iCMTGIS PRO gets directly from the EOS GPS receiver in the “Enable External GPS receiver” mode.

The Stakeout iCMT app will be great to use for a practice run of your stakeout operation or for training your employees.

Using Deed Calls & Stakeout to locate property corners

“I had a topography company locate the northern two corner stakes for my trapezoidal property. I am trying to locate the southern two. I purchased your product Deed Calls and Stakes for my iPhone 7. My hope was that I could go to the North east stake, have your app acquire the GPS coordinates of the stake and then move to the North West stake and do the same. From that I would like to walk down the fence line and have your app tell me when I am 1440’ from that stake… should be right at the South West stake. . . . I don’t have typical x Deg N, y Deg E coordinates.”

Normally, you would get the first node position then use the deed document and enter the deed calls to plot out the property boundary. Then you would use the Line Stakeout function to help you walk along the boundary. The Line Stakeout will show you your Station value. The default Station value at the beginning point is 0′. Therefore, the Station value would be the distance you have walked.

It sounds like you have a fence to follow all the way to the southern two stakes from the northern two corners. This means you could use the Point Stakeout function to help you determine when you are a specific distance from, say, the northwest stake. You could try the following steps, but keep in mind the accuracy of your work will depend on the GPS receiver you use. The GPS on the iPhone is not that accurate. Many users use an external Bluetooth GPS receiver to obtain better accuracy. High-accuracy receivers have a high price tag. Hopefully there are markers at the southern two corners to help you confirm the location when you get to the vicinity.

I. Create a node then use Point Stakeout

1. Turn GPS on and wait a few minutes. Walk to the Northwest corner.

2. Follow the instructions under Open a Deed Calls File in the Help document to create a Job.

3. Follow the instructions under Set First Node and Symbolism and use Pick GPS to get a node at your position.

4. Tap the Line tab then tap the Calls button.

5. Tap the Add button to add a line. Accept the displayed values by tapping on the Back button. When app displays “Update Feature?”, tap on Yes. Now you have created 2 nodes. The one at the GPS marker is the Northwestern corner.

6. Follow the instructions under Point Stakeout. For the Target Feature select the Line you have created. The node you are interested in is Node 1. Now when you walk away from that position, you will see the separation distance displayed in the Range field.

7. Walk along the fence southward and stop when Range shows the target distance. Tap the Store Stake Point icon to store this point.

II. Use Line Stakeout

As the partial map you provided shows S83-53-00E 645.50′ for the southern border, you can use the Deed Calls function to create a Line that represents this southern border.

1. Go back to the Deed Calls screen and change the First Node location by tapping the Pick button then tapping on the Point that you have created at the southwest corner.

2. On the Calls page, tap the Edit button then enter the bearing and distance information:

Horizontal Angle: S83-53-00E

Horizontal Distance: 645.50

3. Tap the Back button and confirm to update the Feature.

4. Now you can follow the instructions under Line Stakeout to move along this line to get to the Southeastern corner and store the stake point.

How to use iCMTGIS PRO to extend a line beyond its end points?

“I have managed to join two nodes and get a straight shape line between them, but how do I do to extend the line on the outside of the nodes?”

There are a few ways to achieve this. Here is a quick way (but not precise): Tap on the existing straight line then select the Insert Node function on the Tools menu. Move the circular Node Tool to the end point of the existing straight line. Tap in the center of the Node Tool. Select “After” then tap on Next step. Now move the Node Tool to a new position, eyeballing the proper bearing, then tap in the center of the Node tool to add the new node. To extend the line in the other direction, select the start point of the line and select “Before” for inserting the new node.

A precise way is as follows: After you have created the initial line based on two existing points, tap on it then select View Deed Calls. Tap on the Calls tab then tap on Edit.

Increase the horizontal distance then tap the Back button.

Confirm to update the Feature. You will see that the Line Feature has been extended in one direction.

Now use the end nodes of the elongated line to create another line in the opposite direction. It will have a different Line ID. You can turn on Sheet View to see the two line records. Select the new line and use the View Deed Calls function to change the distance value. Confirm to update the Feature.

If you don’t confirm to update the Feature, then no change will be made to the original line.

I would create a new Topic (named “Long Line”, for example) into which to put the final long line. This will help reduce confusion when you are staking out in the field. Have this new Topic active and select the correct line when you are doing the Line Stakeout. (You could also delete all the other lines that you will not be using for stakeout.)