Last week I have been talking with a Canadian friend who told me about the experience they have had using GIS Pro in cadastral survey processes. We have almost come to the conclusion that although there are other tools, from what is in the App Store this is if not the best for iOS, the one that has best positioned itself in the preference of mobile users; and I say iPad because although it works on iPhone, the screen size limits the benefit that can be obtained from an iPad mini or conventional iPad.
Just now that SuperSurv is releasing their first version of what they already had for Android, I want to talk a little bit about GIS Pro, which will be with which they will have to compete if they want to go beyond the SuperGIS desktop users that possibly already use SuperPad , SuperField or SuperSurv for Android.
GIS Pro has done enough on this, being able to import shp, gpx, kml and kmz files. Its limitation is in the synchronization since it is not a manufacturer of desktop or server tools; You can export to the same files, additionally to csv but here SuperSurv could take advantage of the fact of reading data produced by SuperGIS Server not only WMS but also WFS-T. If so, -hopefully- apart from editing tabular data, the vector could be worked under transactional control and topological validation norms stored in the database; not only SuperGIS Server but ArcSDE or Oracle Spatial.
In this GIS Kit is limited, because via iTunes / email is not synchronization but a manual transfer of files with difficult control. Our friends from Canada were able to make the Geodatabase storage process be done with ArcSDE because the Pro version brings this option to share feature classes in the cloud, although this takes on an additional experience that is not ideal for products that are offered in Supposed turnkey.
We are clear that users who do a sweep-type cadastral survey, in an area where it has not been surveyed before, the transfer of conventional files is enough because later there is a job of GIS technicians who will have to clean the data and integrate existing information. . But in the case of cadastral maintenance, what is concerned is making partitions of properties, grouping or remediation with which the tools so far fall short. The challenge is to make between five and ten tools that allow triangulation, measure bearings, distances, click with snap, create a parallel, validate topology dependent on the original measurement method, etc. We'll see what SuperSurv offers in January 2014.
As for background maps, GIS Pro supports Google and Bing images, more than enough. Additionally, OpenStreet Map, OpenTopo, Google / Bing street and WMS services. In this the challenge is for the images stored locally on the iPad, since the memory size is inconceivable but practice forces it. A way would have to be found to manage a cache in a more efficient way than the one that exists until today, thought of the user who needs to go to the field and could wear a layer offline Not saved but cached in iCloud under the survey criteria; Rectangle, buffered path, circle of influence to a point.
SuperSurv in this would have to expand at least to these services and see if they do something like what GaiaGPS does, which although it focuses on tracking, cache management is somewhat different and slightly better than GIS Pro. For now we know that SuperSurv will be able to read tiles created with SuperGIS Server and also files in stc format created with the map tile tool of SuperGIS Desktop, it will be necessary to see if a kmz with embedded orthophoto can be managed without loss of patience.
We are clear that mobile tools should never expect to do what the user works on the desktop, but there is some of the functionality that we did with GPS before they had a rich screen that is being lost. I remember that with the Garmin it was hardly interesting to capture points and have a reference to the background map; now more is done but it seems that we go around more to do simple routines such as capturing a point and comparing it with an existing one.
The functions of GIS Pro are few, and we could say enough about creating layers, turning off, turning on, copying, reordering and creating transparency. I give my approval but I think it could be improved in the user logic; how to change line styles, thickness or point size with an easier way. To a certain extent, the use of the other fingers on the screen is wasted, such as, for example, touching a menu icon with one finger and with the other two being able to gesture basic changes that are only display and for which you should not have to leave from the screen to enter the template control.
If SuperSurv wants to compete with this, it has to take advantage of what Android does not do the same but IOS with one, two, three and even four fingers.
The problem of precision is in the limitations of the hardware, therefore of the gps that the iPad brings. I don't know how the GIS Pro friends will have done, but the pro version allows better precision than the simple 3-meter navigation; It is possible to define precision and ultra precision filter so that it does not capture unless it does. Although it does, it seems to me that it is the challenge from now on for mobile applications; how to achieve precision without requiring 4G, taking advantage of connectivity with fixed stations via server ... if not, with post-processing. The problem with GIS Pro is that this precision is not certified, it depends on many variables; This is not important for projects with a land use planning or land use approach, but with a legal approach. Either way, I find it to be the best GIS Pro does -At least in offer-.
For now it is not easy to check, but it would be ideal to collect data in the same condition with an iPad and an Android, at the same time, with GIS Kit and GIS Pro and then compare if it really is true about precision ... consequently, in countries where connectivity is inconsistent. For now I'll play with the version I got from SuperSurv and compare it to GIS Kit, and I'll tell you there.
I doubt that SuperSurv does much for accuracy, although they do very well with SuperPad that has a GNSS extension ... of course, for GPS that supports Windows Mobile.
And why does GIS Pro have good acceptance?
We could not conclude that this is the best GIS application for iPad, but it seems ironic, after consulting different users who love it, I come to the determination that is for its easy functionality for mac lovers «Not GIS experts«, At least not in proprietary GIS. I mean, ESRI users will use ArcPad, Supergis SuperSurv, Bentley Navigator Pano… but for whom you want:
- Create feature classes from the tablet
- Define collections of type point, line, polygon, path
- Set features like photo, symbol, text, list of values
- Configure capture filter for time, distance, precision and ultra precision
- Manage data in Lat / long, UTM, MGRS and USNG systems
- Load almost any layer raster / street background
- Share feature classes via iCloud
- and all this without using a desktop tool ...
Secure GIS Pro has been your choice.
If other platforms want to compete with GIS Pro ... they start by researching how they did with ultra precision.