Recommended Apps for Work in the Field

There are thousands of apps to choose from but few are actually designed for business.  It can be overwhelming finding the software to best meet your needs and without the software the hardware is worthless. The core functions that applications are needed for in the field are:

  • Mapping
  • File transfer
  • Document management
  • Data storage
  • Photos
  • Annotation
  • GPS

Below I have organized software (App) recommendations in tabular form.  There is a column for each of the following areas:  Functionality Category, Recommended Software, and Operating System (OS) Comments.  The software list is by no means complete but it offers a good starting point for most users.

Functionality Category

Recommended Software (Apps)

OS Comments

Display of Maps – For most users the use of Spatially referenced PDF maps is of paramount importance.  Spatially referenced PDFs provide a simple and efficient means of taking GIS information into the field. iOS and Android: PDF Maps by Avenza PDF Maps is a fabulous tool for custom and purchased PDF Maps.  Geo-referenced maps are easily produced by from ARC GIS.  For many field applications this app is the compelling reason to purchase a mobile device.
Annotation of PDF and JPEG Images – Allows user to mark-up images, similar to working with paper. UPAD, Skitch or GoodReader Users may need more than one app to meet all requirements.
File  Management  and Transfer from PC  to Tablet Disk Aid (PC) & FileApp or Documents to Go and Dropbox. For transferring large amounts of data the combination of Disk Aid and File App is the most efficient and works with a USB cable.  Docs to Go works well but a Wi-Fi network is required.
Transfer of Files  Between Devices in the Field (via Bluetooth) Instashare There are several good apps to choose from but this one works very well.
Navigation (Compass, GPS and offline maps) GPS Kit There are several GPS apps to choose from but I know this one works remarkably well.  A great feature is the ability to cache Google and Bing maps for use offline.

Please add to this discussion by sharing apps that you have found useful for field work.

Let me know if you have a favourite and I’ll add it to the list.

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