There are a lot of mobile mapping applications for iOS, and even with that as a backdrop, we decided to develop and release CartoMobile because we saw a place for a sophisticated and easy-to-use App for creating and accessing your geospatial data from anywhere.
We're often asked what sets CartoMobile apart from other mapping Apps for iOS. Basically, we believe that you should be able to have easy access to your data on the go. Here's how we have done this:
- No Need to Import/Export — CartoMobile handles shapefiles and raster files directly. There's no need to do any coordinate translation, format conversion, server uploads, or transcoding. Copy your shapefiles (remember to include the .prj, .shx, and .dbf as well as .shp) using iTunes and then start CartoMobile and add the shapefile to a new or existing configuration. And the data is always up-to-date, so you can grab your shapefiles right off of the device without needing to click Export anywhere.
- Built-in Form Editor — We think you should be able to make changes to your forms and files right from your iOS device, so slip into the editor in CartoMobile and you can make changes directly to the configuration. Add new options to a choice list, add a new field, change labels. There's no reason to wait until you get back to your computer.
- Favorite Fields — There are a lot of fields in some shape files. CartoMobile is happy not to display fields which are in the shapefile, but not in the configuration, but that's often still too much. When you are out in the field, it's likely that you just want to look at a few pieces of data at a glance, but might want to see more when necessary. CartoMobile achieves this with Favorite Fields, which can be modified in the field as desired to limit the visible fields. Need to see the rest? Just toggle between all and favorites. Want to change the favorite status? Just tap and hold on a field and toggle the little heart icon.
- Raster Image support — CartoMobile has extensive support for raster imagery using MrSID®, TIFF, JPEG, JPEG2000, PNG, and ECW file formats. As long as your files have been georeferenced (which can be done with "sidecar" files, or directly in many formats), CartoMobile will automatically understand and display these once you select them as a Base Map. This is great for working where network service isn't available or where specialized imagery is necessary.
- Pervasive CRS support — CartoMobile supports a large variety of Coordinate Reference Systems (CRS, or often, projections). By using .prj files, CartoMobile can be told to interpret and create data in any of the supported systems. For those who are working in environments where linear coordinate systems are the norm, this means you can add a shapefile with an appropriate .prj file and all of the additional data added by users will also be in that CRS. CartoMobile will take care of chaning between CRS (including shifting datums) in real-time and without user intervention. Raster files are also supported, so there is no need to change the CRS before loading them.
In the coming weeks, we'll continue to describe some of the key features and benefits of CartoMobile for customers with sophisticated needs. The iPad and iPhone are great devices for field data entry and we are happy to provide support for these innovative products in our line.