Author Topic: Pocket Topo for Android operating system/ mobile phone  (Read 1980 times)

Offline aquamole jim

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Pocket Topo for Android operating system/ mobile phone
« on: August 26, 2018, 07:52:45 pm »
I have given up on PDA,s because of reliability problems and expense! they may be cheap to purchase but the cost soon builds up when you have to replace them and also the cost of getting to the cave you wish to survey needs to be taken into account! especially if its abroad and the equipment failure leads to several lost days, eg transporting Diving cylinders in and out etc.
PDA,s are also by their nature an ever decreasing item that are only going to become more difficult to find in the future.
I think of them as video recorders when most people now use DVD'S or Memory sticks.
Does any know if Pocket toppo and associated programs are being developed for Android? or would I be better looking at apps such as Toppo Droid? The experimenting I have done with Toppo Droid resulted in a computer skills limited person like myself being able to get a good centre line and splays using Survex without any problems at all, 100% reliable   :) I found problems though if I got carried away and put to much passage detail in as the program would crash, but would start up again without losing anything, I think its probably the way forward for someone like myself who is OK at Cave Engineering and diving but crap at operating computer Programs, how ever I am still interested in "Pocket Toppo" as its the most widely used by my caving Friends at Present, what are Peoples thoughts?

Offline alastairgott

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Re: Pocket Topo for Android operating system/ mobile phone
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2018, 10:46:29 pm »
My own thoughts, mr sore bottom, are that they are pretty much the same with connectivity difficulties. TCP (other Spanish exped) went to South Wales and did some training from bottom of arĂȘte chamber to the corkscrew and found the connectivity to be difficult. We worked it out in the end and were able to get the survey out of topodroid. I've since worked out how to smooth out the many points which TD produces in therion, so I'm happy with that.
 I also got a pointer from Rob eavis that you should use Dropbox and just sync when you get back. This would have been perfect, instead we battled through all the options. Mr sore bottom, I would definitely say try it out on some
Smaller passage and try and pull it out before you need to use it in anger.

I'm afraid I can fault pockettopo for connectivity too, I've had very similar results when surveying 50m of new passage in far sump extensions, Titan. This was 10 days ago, but the mechanism was similar.

I find with Both connectivity problems, closing down the app
And loading up again fixed the connectivity in
Most cases. Sometimes you would also have to reconnect the disto and sometimes turn off both disto and shut down app/PDA in android/PDA respectively.

I think the problem with the PDA was down to connectivity in a flat out crawl, whereas I think the android was just being rubbish. But I was trained on PDA, so course I was to
Think that way round! Biased I'm afraid.

Offline aquamole jim

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Re: Pocket Topo for Android operating system/ mobile phone
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2018, 11:42:04 pm »
What would be a suitable donation towards development?  And how would it be paid?

Offline Rob

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Re: Pocket Topo for Android operating system/ mobile phone
« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2018, 10:30:49 am »
...what are Peoples thoughts?
TopoDroid is by far the most advanced and feature full system available, and is pretty difficult to fault. Far superior to PocketTopo and SexyTopo (although admittedly the last time i tried it was a few years ago).

And whilst the plethora of features on TD may be daunting at first, if you want your surveys and surveying to be excellent you'll end up using a lot of them.

As for Android vs PDAs, there's no comparison. Having all the benefits of a modern Android device in the cave with you is great (camera, photos, GPS, old surveys, field notes, expedition reports, emails, music, etc, etc). However I strongly suggest getting a 2nd hand Samsung Note (Note 4 is a good price/feature compromise) as the stylus is definitely needed.
The end is where we start....

Offline Swallowneck

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Re: Pocket Topo for Android operating system/ mobile phone
« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2018, 01:55:23 pm »
I use PocketTopo and a Dell axim pda and to be honest I do not have many BT connection issues. I like PocketTopo because it is simple to use and I have the ability to use Mr Atkinsons excelent Topparser program to get the centreline data, plan, extended and projected elevation sketches into Therion all in the correct directories in minutes with the minimum of fuss.

However, having used several other peoples PockeTopo data just recently I have been finding  that sometimes it is hard to follow due to the way they do things i.e lazy sketching etc.
A while back mad Phil showed me some of his TopoDroid surveys and I was impressed with the good detail and clarity of the sketching this may just be down to Phil being good at this but it does seem TopoDroid sketches are generally better than PocketTopo sketches. because of this and Robs recomendation the other month to look at a Samsung Note 4 I got hold of one (expensive) and am now starting to learn TopoDroid.

I also had a go with SexyTopo which I like because it is similar to PocketTopo and is simple to use but at the moment does seem to be work in progress with things like calibration still missing. As I understand it this is being worked on now.

Rob is correct that an Android device is much better than a PDA for surveying due to all the features it can offer. One advantage he did not mention is battery life. All the Dell pda's I have last several hours underground when actually surveying but they all self discharge when turned off, to a point that 24hrs or so after charging they may not fire up. I have never had any issues with this but I imagine if you are on expedition this may well be a problem.

PDAs are probably on their way out but as I have a few of them and a pile of Otter boxes to put them in I will be using them for a while yet.


Offline rich

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Re: Pocket Topo for Android operating system/ mobile phone
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2018, 02:59:43 pm »
SexyTopo author here.

SexyTopo is an alternative to TopoDroid on Android. It's closer to PocketTopo in terms of UI.

I haven't publicised it much because it still has a few features lacking (I'm working on things like calibration) so officially it's still in beta but I and others are already using it for proper surveying.

I'm biased but I think it has a significantly better UI than TopoDroid and a more solid codebase. I found TopoDroid quite unfriendly to use and a bit unstable.

Offline BruceM

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Pocket Topo for Android operating system/ mobile phone
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2018, 10:11:32 am »
A significant benefit of the PocketTopo/SexyTopo approach, is for Therion users at least, the original in-cave survey field notes are immortalised in the th2 file, regardless of how these happen to be modified in the process of creating a finished map or set of outputs.  TopoDROID workflow assumes either that the survey notes are nearly perfect for whatever finished map will eventually be produced, or accepts that the original notes will be lost (or at least not as readily accessible) as soon as they need to be modified in XTherion.  And editing drawings in Therion is not much fun, I'd rather draw from scratch as PocketTopo/SexyTopo requires.


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