Re:The perfect phone for a birder?

Subject: Re:The perfect phone for a birder?
From: "Damian Kelly" <>
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2009 23:31:36 +1100 (EST)
A few random thoughts. And yes, I am an IT person, and have used various
PDAs (including iPhone, iPaq and other Windows CE devices with bluetooth
GPS etc). Recently spent a month on an archaeological survey in outback
NSW so everything was stress tested.... both people and equipment.

When evaluating technology the first question you need to ask is:

'What do you want it for?'

For the 'average' birdo who is not working in the field all the time,
investing in complex and expensive hardware/software and understanding
database schemas is not what is wanted, nor is it realistic.

This is where an iPhone shines - it is easy to set up and use and provides
lots more functionality for a variety of tasks (not just birding).  With
BirdSight recording birds, adding notes, lat and lon etc are easy. Syncing
to a PC is easy via email. Yes, it is a 2-step process if you want to
upload to Eremaea or similar, but it works. With Telstra 3G connectivity
not many places are out of range.

And it is way more reliable. We experienced lots of reboots with Windows
CE especially when using an external GPS. Never had to reboot the iPhone.

Yes, battery life is an issue so an extra battery pack is handy, but so is
it for any extended fieldwork whatever the equipment. And yes, running
multiple apps at once on an iPhone is restricted, but this gives better
battery life. You can listen to music/birdcalls whilst running other apps
(like BirdSight or GPS software).

Maps / GPS are tricky because of lots of proprietary devices/formats, but
useable offline maps are feasible with BitMap on the iPhone or via GPS
tools like Sygic or Tom Tom. I'm told that Oziexplorer maps can be
imported into BitMap, but I have not tried yet.

Anyway, cheap GPS units of whatever type (phones, handheld GPS, whatever)
are not that accurate. You need to spend thousands if you want a GPS with
reliable accuracy to less than a few metres. I have done several field
tests whilst plotting archaeological finds with different gear and results
were variable to say the least!

Of course, if you are doing professional survey work then you need to
spend the time and money, but don't pretend that any phone GPS will
automatically be more accurate - it won't.

I'm not saying an iPhone is perfect, but at last I have a useable tool for
field trips along with many other tasks, something I have never had
before, even though I have tried various devices.



To unsubscribe from this mailing list, 
send the message:
(in the body of the message, with no Subject line)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU