Ah, this is very interesting. To be honest, when outback birding, I use the
CSIRO 1:250,000 maps more than anything else. In Oziexplorer, it gives a neat
arrow over the top and you can import various waypoints. Before any trip, you
just convert and sync the maps for the areas of interest. Too easy.
Syncing via email is a pain in the neck...iPhone are going to have to sort this
out at some point, it's ridiculous. An email with XML would probably do the
trick reasonably well but sending files like images and the like could be
> Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2009 23:31:36 +1100
> Subject: [Birding-Aus] Re:The perfect phone for a birder?
> 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.
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