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 reached the conclusion that although there are other tools, from what is in the App Store this is if not the best for iOS, which has better positioned in the preference of mobile users; And I say iPad because although it works on iPhone, the screen size limits the benefit that you can get on a conventional iPad mini or 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 in this, being able to import files shp, gpx, kml and kmz. Its limitation is in synchronization since it is not a manufacturer of desktop or server tools; can export to the same files, in addition to csv but here SuperSurv could take advantage in the fact of reading data produced by SuperGIS Server not only WMS but also WFS-T. If so, -hopefully- apart from editing tabular data, we could work the vector under transactional control and topological validation rules stored in the database; Not just 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 make a sweeping cadastral survey, in an area where it has not been up, the transfer of conventional files is sufficient because later there is a work of GIS technicians who must do a data cleaning and integration to existing information . But in the case of cadastral maintenance, what is occupied is to make partitions of properties, grouping or remeasurement, with which the tools so far fall short. The challenge is to make between five and ten tools that allow to triangulate, measure courses, distances, click with snap, create a parallel, validate topology depending on the original measurement method, etc. We'll see what SuperSurv offers in January of 2014.
As for background maps, GIS Pro supports Google and Bing images, more than enough. Additionally services of OpenStreet Map, OpenTopo, Google / Bing street and WMS services. In this the challenge is for the images stored locally on the iPad, because the size of memory is inconceivable but the practice forces it. It would have to find some way to manage a cache more efficiently than the one that exists until today, thought of the user who needs to go to the field and could wear a cape 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, that although it focuses on tracking, the cache handling is somewhat different and slightly better than GIS Pro. For now we know that SuperSurv can read tiles created with SuperGIS Server and also files in stc format created with the SuperGIS Desktop map tile tool, we will have 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 something of the functionalities 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 of the background map; now it is done more but it seems that we give more laps to do simple routines like capture a point and compare 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, changing order and creating transparency. I give my approval but I think it could be improved in the logic of the user; how to change line styles, thickness or dot size with a simpler shape. To some extent, the use of other fingers on the screen is wasted, such as touching an icon on the menu with one finger and with the other two being able to gesture basic changes that are only for display and for which you should not have to leave of 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 the precision is in the limitations of the hardware, therefore of the gps that the iPads bring. I do not know how friends of GIS Pro will have done, but the pro version allows better precisions than the simple navigation of 3 meters; It is possible to define precision filter and ultra precision so that it does not capture unless you obtain it. 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 does not certify it, it depends on many variables; what is not important for projects with a land use or land use approach but with a legal approach. Either way, I think it's the best thing that GIS Pro does -At least in offer-.
For now it is not easy to check, but it would be ideal to raise data in the same condition with an iPad and Android, at the same time, with GIS Kit and GIS Pro and then compare if accuracy is really true ... consistently, in countries where connectivity is inconsequential. For now I will play with the version I got from SuperSurv and compare it with GIS Kit, and there I tell you.
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 GIS owner. I mean, ESRI users will use ArcPad, Supergis SuperSurv, Bentley Navigator Pano ... but for those who want to:
- 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 by 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 investigating how they did with ultra precision.