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GIS Kit, finally something good for the iPad

Finally I see a really attractive application for iPad oriented to the capture of GIS data in field.

The tool has potential for many things, and leaves in diapers other applications I’ve tried like GaiaGPS, GIS4Mobile, ArcGIS for iPad and GISRoam; the latter is powerful but unfriendly to work and more focused on the analysis than in the capture.

GIS Kit is a garafa.com development, the GPS Kit makers. It comes in two versions: GIS Kit and GIS Pro, basically the difference for now is .csv data management, bluetooth transfer, sharing feature class datasets and export to shape files; in the other functions are similar. The kit version price is $ 99; the other is going to be defined in the next 5 weeks as their authors commented me.


Let’s take a look to see if it’s worth:

1. Data deployment with GIS Kit

The organizational structure is based on projects, which then includes layers that, with simple fingers’ drag can be controlled with respect to priority, transparency, or power on / power off. Very practical and simple, you can create, copy, move layers. It can also be defined as many attributes as needed including picture’s type, which can be directly taken if used with iPad2 or can be chosen from image directory; in addition supports lists (combo box), boolean (check box), date, url, telephone number , among others.


As for layers’ appearance, is quite clever; it can choose the border width, color or line type in a simple way and with good looking aspect.

As background maps, it is far beyond what my expectation was:

  • · Google maps, in Street, Satellite and Hybrid ways.
  • · Bing maps, in street, Satellite and Topo ways.
  • · Open Street maps and Open Topo maps.
  • · The Pro versión will support WMS.
  • · clip_image003It also supports georeferenced orthophoto if it is loaded into a kmz file

The best task is that you can download in cache to view offline when going to the field without Internet connection.

2. Field Data Capture

It is possible to measure distances between two points, or in a multipoint route. These can be displayed in meters, yards, feet and nautical miles.

It supports coordinate systems with lat / long and UTM. It also has USNG and MGRS which are systems that are widely used in the U.S., nearly identical to WGS84.

In the place where it is positioned, it displays data such as bearing, coordinates, speed, etc. But apart from that can capture data with the GPS data it brings inside, for this does not require internet connection, but normal signal as any GPS. Remember that a GPS point capture is not an accurate measurement, but an average of series of measurements in the form of pulses. GIS Kit has options for data capture filtering criteria.

  • Filter by distance. It can be said to the device that doesn’t capture data if there is no maximum travel distance
  • Filter by time. It can be said that captures data every few seconds, no matter whether moving or not.
  • Filter by precision. You can ask for only capture data when it exceeds a range of precision.
  • Ultra-precise Filter. This is a feature that Apple provides to applications developers; the process forces the device to search only accurate and not simple keystrokes.

The capture can be points, lines or polygons, depending on the configuration of the layer in use. Once captured the object, it displays a data entry panel.

3. Data editing

Once taken the data, you can edit not only the alphanumeric but also the geometries (line, point, polygon and tracking). It can even be lifted a polygon partially with GPS and then pointed the rest; this is very practical to combine GPS with photo interpretation when detail conditions permit it.

4. Supported formats.

In this it takes a good pace, although it should be clear that it is a GIS capture application, so that CAD treatments or analysis must be done from your desktop.

Imports and exports data from ESRI formats (. shp), Excel (. csv), Google Earth (kml / kmz) and also obtained with other GPS exchange format (. gpx), I refer to these programs although these may be generated by almost any GIS application today.

It is interesting the kmz case which has become a much more attractive format than the former shp, because it supports data as pictures related to a field and even georeferenced orthophotos and more than one kml in the same file. This format is also known as an OGC standard and supports 32-bit, which exceeds the .dbf archaic native tables although in attributes’ quantity, requires some xml skill.

The layers can be transferred via email, iTunes, Bluetooth and iCloud.



Ultimately, the best we have seen so far to get the most out of an iPad in field. It looks simple and with potential for practical projects where printing is more important than precision, in cases such as real estate, agricultural inventories, socio-economic survey and forest projects…

I think that that it would not be very complex if you would like to apply it to a rural cadastral survey, as in cabinet can be downloaded in cache the satellite image, then go to field regardless of Internet connection. In some places the image that has been provided to Google meet acceptable precision conditions, however having a self-orthophoto it can be loaded into a WMS service or in kmz files for taking it to field.

While measuring the parcel, cadastral tab would be filled, associated photographs would be taken, it could draw photo interpretation parts that do not require route, draw buildings or swimming pools; classify permanent cultivation or edit an existing tab. It does not look very difficult to configure all data that comprises a cadastre sheet with multipurpose focusing, even with a simple 3G connection; data could be coming to a shared feature-classes server.

In the case of an urban uprising, could be used as a complement, surveying with total station all fronts and with this toy make a photo interpretation or measure real estate funds, draw the building and complete the cadastral file or socio-economic survey. If we add the time it takes technicians to score in the book, consult the list of codes, take the picture with another camera, then go to cabinet to complete the form, draw a sketch with scale, calculate the built-up area, make calculations and enter data into a system… it might be that this really will has potential.

Not to mention other evil uses, because using me.com it could be made tracking where technicians walk, how many time they loose, in which improper places they get… even, where is the thief who took the iPad.

If you want more information go to: http://giskit.garafa.com/.

One comment

  1. Boris Belfer

    The application zoom and download are terrible. It is dragging and jumping. Not what I expected.

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