This post describes a methodology for exploring the data on your iPhone/iPad that you have captured using Fieldtrip GB. Why might you want to do this? Well there are a couple of reasons:
- You have cleaned your Dropbox account and deleted the records
- Some of the data didn’t seem to upload to Dropbox*
* we have had 1 user report that some of their photos did not transfer to DropBox during “Upload Records”. This is odd and may be as a result of a patchy data connection.
- Download iExplore – this is a free utility for your desktop that allows you to explore the file system on your iPhone
- Instal iExplore
- Open iExplore – click continue with Demo
- Connect iPhone/iPad to your computer
- In the navigation on the left select Apps –> Fieldtrip GB –> Documents –> Edina –> Assets
- You should see a folder for each asset you have created.
- You can copy these to your Desktop or directly to Dropbox if you have a Dropbox folder on your Desktop
This should allow Apple users to find and retrieve data that they have collected using Fieldtrip GB without having to use the Upload Records function. However, we would still strongly recommend using the Upload Records function and then access the data through the FtGB Authoring Tool.
Fieldtrip GB version 1.3.2 has just been released. This update means that Fieldtrip GB will now support Android 4.4 (KitKat). If you have set the app to auto-update then you may not even notice. If you have a new(ish) Android device that runs KitKat and have tried to download FtGB but couldn’t find it in the Play Store, you should now be able to see it (note- still restricted to UK store).
We thought we would put together a brief crib guide to help run data collection projects using Fieldtrip GB with a small group. The idea is to create a form and get the group to download this to their devices, then collect data before uploading it to a central place and visualising the groups data. This technique can be used to great effect to collect lots of data in a short period of time, or to get groups of school children to collect data on short field class exercises.
1. Navigate to Fieldtrip GB blog
2. Show the new which has some example of what can be done and the Help
3. Click the Authoring tool link and again
4. Login – you are logging into Dropbox at this point.
5. Explain the menus at the top of the page:
a. Create – create a new form
b. Record viewer – visualise/edit the data you have captured
c. Editors Gallery – some example forms
d. My Editors – a list of forms you have created
Create a new form
6. Create a Form
a. Get the group to decide what to collect (keep it simple – trees, birds, litter, building)
b. Create the form and try to use at least drop down lists, photos, range and text box
7. Save the form – this saves it to the Dropbox account that you logged in to
Download form to device
8. Get the group to start the app on their devices
9. Get them to log in to the shared Dropbox account
10. Select Download from the footer and then select Download Forms
11. You are now ready to collect data, you will find the new form in the Capture Tab (select it in the footer)
Upload data from devices to Dropbox
12. Once we have collected data, select Download tab
13. Press Upload Records – the data will now be pushed from the device to Dropbox
Visualise and export collected data
14. On a desktop/laptop – go back to the Authoring Tool
15. Select Record Viewer
16. Use the Filter Records section to select the form we have just used
17. Press Get Records – they should appear on the map
18. To view/edit the records – press Show Table above the map, you can view/edit each record
19. To export the records, you have several options:
a. GeoJSON – ideal for web mapping/coders
b. KML – Google Earth and easy to get into GIS (ArcGIS/QGIS)
c. CSV – for Excel and GIS
20. To export, select the format and press Export. The data that is exported will reflect the filter you have applied. In most cases you will be exporting all data collected using a particular form, but you could apply a date range filter if you wanted.
That’s it. Really quite easy isn’t it. Click here to download the guide as a PDF.
The Fieldtrip GB team have been out and about talking to users of the app and we have had some useful feedback on what users would like to see in the app. One of the comments that appeared more than once was that it would be good to be able to annotate photos. We agree, but there are several other things that we have scheduled as higher priorities.
This got me thinking. There are apps out there that allow users to annotate photos and screen captures, so which one is best and how could FtGB users integrate it into their workflow? I was lucky enough to see a presentation by Derek France from the University of Chester and one of the apps that he demo’d was Skitch. Skitch is an app made by the same people that do Evernote. Skitch allows users to sketch something new, mark-up maps, screen captures, or even a photo. So you would be able to:
- make a new sketch
- screen capture a map then add notes/annotations to it
- annotate or add notes to a photograph.
So how would you integrate this into the FtGB workflow? Well, because Skitch is not “part” of FtGB you would have to launch it and run FtGB as a background programme. Lets walk through it in steps as if we were in the field.
- We are at a site we want to survey.
- start Skitch
- take a photo
- add sketch/notes
- back to FtGB
- create point
- attach photo from Gallery
- navigate to the skitch folder (in android you should ensure that Skitch is in your My Gallery)
Photo Annotated in Skitch
Pretty simple, as long as you have the Skitch folder checked so that it appears in your My Gallery.
What if you wanted to annotate a map from Fieldtrip GB. This is possible, it just requires you to screen capture the map. There is usually a way to do this by pressing a couple of buttons at the same time, much like a special move on a Nintendo (editors note – my phone wont do screen capture in FtGB).
- Take a screengrab with FtGB running (process varies between handsets)
- Open saved screengrab in Skitch
- Annotate the screen grab
- Save annotation
- Back to FtGB
- Attach annotated screen capture to a point
Screen Map Capture annotated in Skitch
Hopefully the steps described above will allow you to add annotated pictures, maps and sketches to Fieldtrip GB. There are undoubtedly other annotation apps out there that would integrate in a similar way, we just chose Skitch as it was free, easy to use and seemed to to exactly what we wanted.
Mobilise the Crowd
One use of Fieldtrip GB is to get groups of students collecting data over a wide area and then collate this into a master dataset. Kind of like crowd-sourcing but with an “informed crowd” collection specific information. But, how would you best go about doing this using the current app?
At the moment the best thing to do is to create a master form and get the group to collect data against that. The process of what you would need to do is set out below:
- Set up a “group” Dropbox account (just a regular account, but one that you are happy to share the username/password of with the group)
- Log into the Authoring Tool with the group Dropbox account and create your data collection form and save it. It will be saved to the group Dropbox account..
- Get the group to log in to the group Dropbox account from their phones and sync to retrieve the form
- Get the group to collect data against the form
- When they have finished collecting their data, get the group to log in to the group Dropbox account from their phones and perform another sync. This will upload the data they have just collected to the group Dropbox account
- The leader/tutor can then log in to group Dropbox account through the Authoring Tool.
- Use the filter menu to display all the data collected against the form that the group used.
- Export the data – this will create 1 file that contains all the data collected by the group (Note – we are working to improve the KML export and hope to add CSV as an output option)
So, that process is not too onerous. Fieldtrip GB is a great way to get multiple people collecting consistent information and helps you to mobilise a crowd. Why not give it a go with your students or organisation and let us know how you get on.
March 2017: Please note EDINA is no longer maintaining or supporting the Fieldtrip GB app, which has now been withdrawn from the App Store and Google Play. To develop your own data collection app, please refer to Fieldtrip Open:
Good news fruit based phone fans, Fieldtrip GB is now available or iPhone and iPad. You can download the app for free from the iTunes App Store. It contains the same functionality as the Android version and we hope you like it. We are currently working on a few tweaks and would love to hear what you think about the app. To provide feedback just drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org just put “Fieldtrip GB” in the subject field and it will get to the development team.
Fieldtrip GB is now available to download from the Google Play Store. This is hugely exciting. Fear not iPhone users, we haven’t forgotten about you. We are just about ready to submit the app to the iTunes App Store and will be waiting for it to be approved. This could take up to a couple of weeks. We will let you know when it is approved and ready to download.
Fieldtrip GB is now available at Google Play