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.