A tree assessment in the Landscapes iPhone app

A tree assessment in the Landscapes iPhone app

Landscapes, an iPhone application currently in development, will allow groundskeeping staff to inventory features in an historic landscape and perform condition assessments. It will also easily allow managers to prioritize current and future maintenance tasks. “Paper assessments are collected, bound, and put on a shelf. And unless they are entered into a database – a time consuming step – they are often never consulted again,” says Debbie Smith, Chief of the Historic Landscapes program at NCPTT.

Landscapes is scheduled for release in FY2010 as an iPhone and iPod Touch app. An iPad version is currently in the design stage. Debbie Smith’s software project has evolved over the last two years from a desktop tool to a focus on mobility. A Blackberry port is planned for 2011 and a port to the Android platform will be evaluated.

“Between the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone you have over 75 million of these in the wild,” says Sean Clifford, software application developer at NCPTT. “With a camera, GPS, microphone, compass, and accelerometer the iPhone is quite capable as a data collection device. To perform a tree assessment, you’ll only need to type a few words, choose from a few drop-down menus, and take a photo. Optionally you’ll be able to record a voice note. Data collected can be synchronized when you get back to the office. In some cases you can do so in the field.”

“The potential as a damage assessment tool after a natural disaster is obvious,” adds Andrew Ferrell, Chief of Architecture and Engineering at NCPTT.

For more information, please contact Sean Clifford at sean_clifford@nps.gov or Debbie Smith at debbie_smith@nps.gov.

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7 Responses to NCPTT developing iPad and iPhone apps for the preservation field

  1. Kaye - SandwichINK says:

    Sounds like a great idea but I wanted to give you a “heads up.” I was listening to a class today and the teacher, who had planned to give a course on using the iPad, had to cancel. She dropped it, like many of us do with cell phones, etc. In this particular case, the screen shattered. You may want to do some tests to be sure these iPads will be sturdy enough to last through the projects you are planning. :)

  2. NCPTT says:

    Kaye, thanks for the suggestion. We plan to use a waterproof and ruggedized case for each with filter to make it easier to read in sunlight.

  3. […] NCPTT developing iPad and iPhone apps for the preservation field […]

  4. Scott says:

    Any updates on the release of this “Landscapes” application? Also, are there any plans to release the damage assessment tools as iPad applications, especially now that the iPad 2 has camera capability?


    • Scott, thank you for asking. Recently, I was out on protracted medical leave, but am back. We have two developers – myself and a gifted intern named Evan in New Orleans – working on this app. Currently it’s in alpha. We went back to the drawing board and redesigned it. We made a great deal of progress over the Christmas break and while I was out Evan knocked out several bugs and redesigned the data model. I cannot speak to a release date as we have work left to do, however, I expect to begin beta testing this summer. It’s a universal app and runs on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Our most recent bug fix is February 22, 2011 and the most recent compile was today.

      We will be doing app versions of the damage assessment tools as universal apps as well. Data collection on the iPad is a real treat. Next week I’ll acquire an iPad 2 on the Verizon network for development and testing. We also have an app in the early design stages for SEAC to perform archaeological site assessments.

      I have been participating in the Emerging Technologies Working Group at NPS, a group of NPS IT professionals and a few developers. We are newly formed and while we are examining software as well as devices our current focus is on mobile technologies, especially tablets. While we are going to evaluate other platforms, the iPad and other iOS devices are ubiquitous. Archaeologists are using the iPad to document excavation work at Pompeii using commercial off the shelf software.

      Beginning in April, I will be writing a series of posts on the apps we have in development at NCPTT including Landscapes and as the apps are approved for outside testing, we will invite beta testers. Should you have any further questions, please call me at (318) 356-7444.

  5. I’ll be posting an update this summer on this project and the schedule for beta testing.

  6. […] NCPTT app for assessments. I am anxiously awaiting the release of this […]

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