Line Stakeout in Forester GPS GIS II

“I am looking to try a trial run on your app Forester GPS GIS II… I am most interested in the line stake out function so the foresters can ‘stay on line’ between two waypoints using new waypoints collected with this app and old waypoints we download to this app. If we could get a trial run with this to make sure it works with what we have for software I’d appreciate it.”

We do not have a TestFlight version for the Forester GPS GIS II app, but the Data Collection, Feature digitization and Line Stakeout functions are the same as for our iCMTGIS PRO app. Therefore, we have added your email address to the testers list for iCMTGIS PRO. You should receive an invitation from Apple soon. Please follow their instruction to install TestFlight then install the iCMTGIS PRO test version. This test version 11402 will expire in about 30 days, at which time the app will stop functioning.

Bad Elf GPS works well with our apps. It claims about 2 – 5 meters accuracy.

How to add points at a specified interval along a line

“I can record point staking positions, now would like to use those (3) to designate a line. How do I get the points into the line staking? Eventually, in the simple case, I want to determine a line with 2-4 staked points, then add nodes at a specified interval on the line.”

1. To make a Line Feature that passes through a number of Point Features, first use Topic Menu – New Topic to create a Line Topic.

With the Line Topic active, select the Tools Menu then select Add Line manually.

Now tap on each point you want to have as nodes on the line, in the desired order.

2. When you select this Line Feature to do Line Stakeout, the app will help guide you along the line and also display the distance away from the starting point. This will help you put in new stakes at the desired locations along the Line Feature. You can also store the position of these new Points and also create a new Line Feature that passes through all of these stake points.

3. Another way to accomplish the task is to digitize the Points along the Line and use Point Stakeout to help you get to one node after another.

Now, there is not a function in the app for adding nodes at a specified interval on a line between two points. However, you could use the Create Grid function as a workaround. Suppose you have a straight line between point A and point B. You can create an Area Topic then add a rectangular Area Feature that uses points A and B as two corners on one side. With the Create Grid function, select the Area, set point A as the Start Point, and set the orientation to be parallel to the line segment (AB) then specify the desired interval as the spacing on the X and Y axes. Mark the option to have Grid Points created. After the grid points have been created, you can Create a new Line Feature that passes through all the points generated over the line segment AB. Keep this new Line Feature and delete (or hide) the Grid Point Topic and the Area Topic. You can then use this new Line Feature to go out and use Point Stakeout to stake all the nodes.

Shapefiles do not match points recorded using GPS

“I have a site where I collected points plus 5 existing property irons of 7 known iron pins using iCMT Pro and an Arrow 100. I added the parcel shapefile to the project in PCGIS X. The available shapefile just does not match any of the irons. If I could find the deed or even better an old survey, what would be the best way or procedure to add that to the project in PCGIS X instead of the shapefile?”

If the Shapefiles and your GPS position for the irons don’t match, most likely it is due to the fact that the Shapefiles were prepared using a different coordinate system than the iron points. Please find out what datum/coordinate system and distance unit are used by the Shapefiles. Open the Job file containing the iron points, set the coordinate system to match that for the Shapefiles then import the Shapefiles.

If you can find the deed, you could use the Create Deed Calls function in PC-GIS X or in iCMTGIS PRO to generate the deed plot then use the Line Stakeout function on iCMTGIS PRO to help you find the other two pins. You will need to know the LAT/LON coordinates of the point of beginning. If the deed is based on magnetic north, then you will need to enter the local magnetic declination into the Orientation field for the Create Deed Calls function.

As you will be using Line Stakeout on the device running iCMTGIS PRO, you might as well enter the deed calls in iCMTGIS PRO as well. When the work is complete, you can transfer all data to PC-GIS X.

App for helping to run a power line through forest

“Wondering if you have an iPhone app for an iPhone 7 that can help me mark a perfectly straight line through the forest. I need to mark and cut down 300 meters of forest 20 ft wide perfectly straight between two points to run a new power line.”

Yes, we have apps that can let you create a straight line between two points through the forest. However, the accuracy of your work is determined by the GPS receiver used.

Do you have the Latitudes and Longitudes for the two points that will serve as the starting and ending points? If not, then you will need to determine their GPS positions. Our GPS/GIS data collection apps provide functions to do so.

Our apps provide a function to let you draw the straight line between the two points. You could also use them to create the boundary lines for the swath you plan to cut.

The Line Stakeout function in our apps can display how far you are from a line. It can be set up to beep whenever you are within a specified distance from the line.

The GPS that comes with the iPhone devices are not accurate. Some users use an external Bluetooth GPS to pair with their iPhone or iPad device. The Bad Elf 2200 GPS Pro and Dual XGPS-150A claim 2 m – 5 m accuracy. Is this good enough for your application?

If you need to have sub-meter accuracy, then you will need to use a GPS receiver that provides that level of accuracy, such as the EOS Arrow 100 or the iSXBlue II.

Assuming you have the proper GPS receiver, then you could run iCMTGIS III on your iPhone to do the job.

Need an app to show cross-track error while navigating to waypoints along a line

“We are transitioning from Trimble to EOS Arrow GNSS units and looking for a navigation solution similar to Trimble Terrasync that enables navigation to waypoints along a line with cross-track error. Does iCMTGIS PRO provide this feature or something similar?”

iCMTGIS PRO provides a Point Stakeout function as well as a Line Stakeout function. It can help you navigate to a series of Point Features or along a Line or Area Feature.

You can create a Line Feature that joins the waypoints then use the Line Stakeout function to navigate along the Line Feature. The app will display the distance from the starting station as well as the perpendicular distance of your position to the Line Feature, i.e. the cross-track error.

The app will also let you specify a tolerance value for the cross-track error so it will issue beeps as long as you are within the tolerance from the target Line Feature or Area Feature.

Property Dispute

“I would like to use you app to find our property line stakes. I have a plat map of my property. I have also found two marker Stakes on the property. Can you guide me to the correct app to go from my steaks with my cellphone and Mark all of my eight corners?”

Several of our apps provide the Deed Calls and Stakeout functions that can help locate stakes using a property boundary description containing bearing and distance information and the coordinates for the point of beginning.

The most economical app for your situation is the Deed Calls & Stakeout app. The iPhone GPS is not sufficiently accurate for you to establish new stakes, but you could use the following procedure to find your existing stakes.

Turn on GPS and the Satellite Map.

If you don’t have the LAT LON coordinates for the point of beginning, you could stand at the point of beginning and tap the Pick GPS button to get its coordinates. This will not be exact, as the GPS accuracy of the iPhone is limited.

On the First Node page, enter the local magnetic declination into the Orientation field.

Use the Calls Page to enter your deed calls and plot the property.

Under GPS, select Line Stakeout and select your plot as the Target.

Tap the Message tab to see how far you are from the property line. Move along the plot in such a way as to minimize the Range value.

When you get close to a corner, search for a stake. The accuracy of the GPS on your iPhone will determine the radius of your search area. This could be 30 ft (or 10 ft under favorable conditions).

Which iPhone app for building fence dividing property in half?

If you have the latitude and longitude coordinates for the end points of the division line, you could use Stakeout iCMT to enter those points then create a line joining those two points. Then you can use the Line Stakeout function in this app to help you walk along this line and put in the fence.

If you need to divide the property in half, then you could get the Partition & Stakeout app. After digitizing the property boundary, use the Direction Cut function in this app to divide the property into two equal parts then put in the fence along the boundary line.

The accuracy of the placement of the fence will depend on the GPS receiver that you use. For accurate work, you will need to use a high-precision GPS receiver. The GPS receiver on your iPhone is not quite accurate.

Using iCMTGIS PRO to work out land boundaries in Swedish forests

One of our customers, Håkan Bergstedt, wrote an article about using iCMTGIS PRO in conjunction with an EOS Arrow 100 GPS receiver to determine land boundaries in the forests of Sweden.

This interesting story was published on pages 28 and 30 of the March/April 2018 issue of the Geoconnexion International Magazine. You can view this article online for free before the May/June issue is released:

https://flickread.com/edition/html/5aafd53130d7a#29

https://flickread.com/edition/html/5aafd53130d7a#30

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.)