Apps and Technology
All of the applications ("apps") found in this lists below can be found with a simple Google or Apple App Store search. A link to the apps parent site is provided when available. This list of apps presented is the product of extensive searches, testing, and use. It is not exhaustive nor all inclusive, but a good place to start. You may have already found your preferred tools, but if not, we hope that this list saves you time by presenting the best apps and tools for use in planning.
- General Tablet/iPad Use
- Farm Apps
- Field Inventory/Mapping Apps
- Weather Apps
- Work Element Apps
- Social Media Apps
The following two videos show the basic functions of the iPad and some of the accessories we use to make them field worthy.
General iPad (video) - This video shows the general use and functions of the iPad
Accessories (video) - This video highlights some of the accessories that the WCD uses with its iPads
Here are the links to the products mentioned in the Accessories video above:
Smartphones, Tablets and GPS Accuracy (2013) - Article by ESRI about using smartphones and teblets for GPS
For the applications, or “apps”, shown below, a “$” indicates that there is a cost associated with downloading the app; a “free” means it is no cost to download the app. Some of the free versions of apps also have an upgraded version that offer more features, but you have to pay for them (typically $0.99-$10). Paid applications can often times be downloaded onto multiple devises for one cost.
Many apps have multiple interfaces such as desktop, web, phone, and/or tablet. Those are indicated below with a “W” for web, “P” for phone, and “T” for tablet. Not all applications are available for both the Apple and Android platforms. The apps shown below are guaranteed available for Apple devises (i.e., iPad).
Short video tutorials have been made to guide yout through the basic functions and features of select apps. Those are highlighted in yellow below. If the video is blurry at any time, change the "quality"/resolution in the YouTube window to a higher number (720).
Link to a comprehensive list of availble farm/agricultural apps:
- Farms.com provides humdres of agricultural apps from crops to manrue management: http://www.farms.com/agriculture-apps/
- Texas A&M put togehter a list of agricultural apps by category: http://extensionemployees.tamu.edu/resources/mobile-apps-catalog/
There are a variety of field inventory type apps out there depending on what your needs are. The ones listed have been tested for field inventories and assessments.
GISPro ($; P, T) – An expensive app ($99-$300), but offers a variety of great features that can be used to do complete field inventories, including: identifying and marking features (points, lines, and polygons) with descriptions and photos, creating GPS waypoints, creating shape files with points or GPS tracking, uploading and editing maps, measuring fields and distances, and more. All feature classes and layers can be fully customized with your own icons, colors, and inputs (i.e., timestamp, description, photo, dropdown list, etc.) for livestock, riparian, river, or other assessments and shared with others. You can also upload entire feature layers from ArcMap such as parcels, rivers and streams, contours, soils, etc to be viewed in GISPro. Maps can be cashed ahead of time for iPad devices with only WiFi capability. All projects and data can be download in a variety of ways including as a KMZ, shapefile, or GPX file to be stored as P&I notes in a file or opened with other mapping programs (i.e., GoogleEarth, ArcMap). The program is streamlined (not cluttered) and very easy to use.
GISPro (video) - To learn more about GISPro, click here to watch a short video tutorial on the basic functions and highlights of the GISPro app.
Exporting KMLs from ArcMap to GIS Pro on iPad using Dropbox (video) - This video shows how to get large datasets (parcels, soils, etc.) from ArcGIS into GISPro with the use of Dropbox and an extension called Export to KML.
- Importing a KML from GISPro into Arcmap (video) - This video shows you how to export a KML from GISPro and then import it into ArcMap using Dropbox as the file transfer solution.
- Exporting files from GISPro using Dropbox (video) - This video shows how to export files to KMLs/KMZs and Shapefiles from GISPro using a Dropbox account
- Import shapfile from ArcMap into GISPro using Dropbox (video) - This video shows how to import a zipped shapefile into GISPro using Dropbox
ArcGIS (free; P, T) – This is a simple version of ArcMap that allows you to view different kinds of maps and measure distances or areas such as fields or fence lines and share those maps via email or Facebook. This is a very limited version of ArcMap and does not allow complex mapping or data transfer.
Google Earth (free; W, P, T) – Version of Google Maps that shows features (roads, places, etc.) along with interesting visual angles. You can import maps and or layers to view in the program. Maps cannot be saved.
SoilWeb (NRCS) (free; P, T) – This is an application that links up to the NRCS Soil Data Mart. The app uses a GPS locator to find your current location and give you comprehensive information about the soil you are currently on. There is no mapping or multiple soil view tools. Data cannot be saved or shared. Use this tool when you are out in the field doing soil inventory analysis and want to identify the soil type you are looking at.
There are many different types of weather apps out there. I have selected the top ones that give comprehensive radar and forecast information.
NOAA Hi-Def Radar ($; P, T) – NOAA provides a comprehensive, detailed radar and forecast app with time-lapse. You can view the current and forecasted weather for your current or desired location. There are a lot of customizable tools and features available such as storm tracks, wildfire maps, weather warnings, and more.
MyRadar (free; P, T) – This is a free weather app that provides a good radar and basic forecast for current or desired locations. You can save, share, and/or email the page.
There are a lot of work element apps available. The ones listed are the basic few that give the most utility for field work and assessments. A search in the App Store will pull up more apps for organization, project management, and to-do lists purposes. Those are largely based on personal preference and therefore have not been listed.
Evernote (free; W, P, T) – Evernote is a note storing and information corrugating program that is accessible anywhere on the web, phone, and tablet. It automatically syncs with the other interfaces so you do have to. Evernote loads a plug-in button in your Outlook, web browser, and other applications so that you only need to click one button to automatically store/file something into Evernote. When using on a mobile devise, you can take meeting notes, save links and documents, and take pictures with notes and GPS locators all with one click. Evernote partners with many other apps to create an automatic flow of information into Evernote so all of your notes, news clippings, and more are stored in one place.
Evernote (video) - To learn more about Evernote, click here to watch a short video tutorial on the basic functions and highlights of the Evernote app.
Dropbox (free; W, P, T) – Dropbox is a virtual file folder that you can access anywhere: desktop, web, phone, or tablet. It is the best tool to use for accessing files when working remotely or traveling, transferring pictures and documents from a mobile devise to your desktop, or sharing large files with others. Dropbox is not meant to work out of, just transfer and store files. It is the primary way that files are transferred to and from your iPad.
- Dropbox (video) - To learn more about Dropbox, click here to watch a short video tutorial on the basic functions and highlights of the Dropbox app.
Dropbox (get free account) is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. Never email yourself a file again!
These are the primary apps associated with sharing and social media. Other are available for specific media needs and networking.
Twitter (free; W, P, T) – Look for agencies and organizations of interest (USDA NRCS, LPE Learning Center, Dairy Farmers of WA, Manure Manager, eXtension4U, NRCS Washington, WSU CAHNRS, etc.). By following organizations and people of interest on Twitter, you can get the latest news and information available right when it happens. This is a great way to keep on top of new tools, practices, and issues on note.
Facebook (free; W, P, T) – Look for agencies, organizations, and individual Conservation Districts. Similar to Twitter, you can get the latest news, notices, and information available. You can also participate in the conversation by posting comments.
LinkedIn (free; W, P, T) – WA CD Livestock Planning Group, other people, agencies, and organizations. LinkedIn is the “professional” version of something like Facebook. You can access peoples bios/resumes, as well as join groups to share news and participate in discussions. LinkedIn offers the ability for you to create a discussion group the can have restricted access or open access. This is helpful when you want to create a workgroup for idea and information sharing.