Tuesday, August 24, 2010

MUST HAVE app for Superintendents : iGIS

A couple days ago I tweeted about a MUST HAVE app for Golf Course Superintendents. Over the last week I have been working with Dave Ragan of Ragan Technical Solutions Inc. The power of networking, especially social networking is truly displayed in this instance. David contacted me about 2 weeks ago through LinkedIn. Several years ago, Dave was contracted to do some mapping of the course and infrastructure for Hartefeld many years ago. After several conversations through email and phone, I found myself staring at Toro T-Map on my SitePro system with a fully mapped golf course. I couldn't believe it! If any Superintendents are utilizing SitePro and are not using T-Map, it is a must! There is one small hurdle to T-Map and that is the mapping of your course. I want to move on to the MUST HAVE APP, but mapping is not the headache it once was, I would encourage any one interested to contact Dave Ragan he is a great resource!

On to the app. The app is iGIS and can be found in the iTunes app store. No more google maps, this app allows you to import your (.shp) files directly to your iphone or ipad and view your property maps directly on your iphone. This file type (.shp) is created once your property is mapped. The sky is the limit with this app. You will have in the palm of your hand everything you have available to you on T-Map! Before I get into the benefits here are some screenshots.

This picture is the start up screen once you open the app. You can see the import/export operations. Uploading your .shp files is a breeze!! I uploaded my entire property, which you will see briefly, in about 3 min. The directions are very easy and preloaded in the app. To import files, you point your computer's browser at the IP address given to you. When you move to the import portion of the program you simply follow directions on your computer and the files are loaded over wifi.

This is the import screen....very simple! You must be over wifi.

Once your data is loaded onto your iPhone or iPad, navigating from the home screen to the data portion of the program will give you this layout. As you can see, all the data is loaded with simple titles.

Once you have your data loaded, from the home screen, navigate to the map section of the program and this is what you get....a fully mapped golf course right on your phone! There is a little bit more to setup, but trust me it is easy and takes less than 10 minutes!

In this photo, I don't have my irrigation showing, you have the ability to show or hide certain layers. If you only want to see greens or fairways, just turn off all other layers. I don't have a screen shot of this, but you also have the ability to change the color and transparency of each layer, making everything customizable. On the bottom left of the screen is the typical crosshair button we all see on all location based iphone/ipad apps. Hitting that button will put your actual location on the map!

Now for the benefits. First, the biggie, your data is loaded directly on your phone, so no need for an internet connection to utilize your data. Also, despite the amount of data needed to map a course, this program is extremely fast!

There are several advantages, but for me one of the biggest is being able to determine sqft on the fly. In this program, just like T-Map you select an area and the program provides you with the square footage. Anything that is mapped is in the palm of your hand. Just yesterday I was out on the course, we were looking at finishing our bunker renovation. I was able to give a quick accurate number within a few minutes on the cost of renovation and sand needed. Below is a photo of this.

I have only had the program for 3 days, so I haven't fully utilized all the features, but another very usual component is the ability to map anything you would like on your course. Once you have mapped areas, save the data, export back to your T-Map on your computer and now you have it on your computer. For example, Annual Bluegrass Weevils have been very difficult this year in my area. I have resorted to aggressive spot spraying. While scouting the course for an ABW spot spray I can create comments right in iGIS directly on the maps, you can create points on the maps as well. Once I return to my office, I export the data back to my computer and the points and comments are now on my T-Map. I then can create a work order for my spray tech and he has the ability to see exactly where spot spraying is needed. No more drawing little maps on a napkin while having lunch!!

One other great feature is the irrigation layer I have. Have you ever had a break and just can't find that valve or that rough head that has been grown over. This app can walk you right to where you need to be. Opening the map and selecting the crosshairs at the bottom of the screen puts that little blue pin we are all used to as iphone/ipad users. Now it is as simple as following your blue pin to x marks the spot. It works beautifully!!

There is so much more I know this app will be able to do with further updates and by just using it for more than three days. This find was truly a needle in the hay stack. If you have any further question please don't hesitate to contact me or the developer. Dave Ragan, like I said above is also a fantastic resource.

Sunday, August 15, 2010



My name is Bob. I am a golf course superintendent and a tech fanatic. A geek and the family/friends IT support if you ask my wife. I have been asked by Bill to be a contributor to the iTurf Apps blog. I will be sharing my experiences and how I have been able to use tech, Apple products, software and mobile apps as they relate to the turf profession and personal life.

Thank You

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