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Japanese City Using Mobile GIS for Field Survey

September 02, 2020

The City of Tamba in Hyogo prefecture, Japan, uses a mobile GIS application for field survey developed by Osaka based GIS solution specialist, Tsukasa Consulting. The application, called Mobile Matilda, runs on Apple iPad tablet computers. Tsukasa develops the application using the TatukGIS Developer Kernel 11 for Delphi edition with the Embarcadero FireMonkey framework. The mobile application compliments desktop and web based versions of the Matilda software that are enabled with more features.

Unlike the web version of the application, Mobile Matilda can operate in a local (off-line) environment because the necessary map layers and data are read from the iPad memory. Users can update records in the field for later synchronization to the desktop or server via a secure WiFi or GSM connection, when available. TatukGIS development tools enable efficient storage of even huge GIS datasets as SQLite database layers on iOS and Android devices.

Mobile Matilda GIS application running on a 10.5 inch iPad Pro (iOS 13.x).

A mobile map project can also incorporate information streamed from the web, such as TatukGIS hosted OpenStreetMap web tiles as a background layer.

Field surveys conducted by the Tamba government frequently involve assets such as vacant houses and solar power generation facilities. In recent years, unoccupied houses left unmanaged have become a major issue for the prevention of crime and disasters, requiring municipal governments to better understand and manage this problem. Investments in solar power facilities must be verified and inventoried to qualify for government financial subsidies.

In the past, field surveys required personnel to carry a camera, a map, and paper-based inventory records into the field to collect information, and then return to the office to associate newly collected data with already existing information. The process was labor intensive and prone to errors. The resulting data was not always usable in an efficient manner. With the Mobile Matilda application, observed survey information, photographs, and map figures can be electronically associated to the map while on site. To speed up the work process, survey assignments may be set up in advance to enable the field researcher to efficiently access relevant records by simply tapping and selecting on the tablet computer.

Attribute information input screen. TatukGIS supports Japanese language characters!

The iPad’s GPS position information can be used to easily center the map (or aerial photography layer) to the user's present position.

Vector and aerial photo layers in conjunction with GPS movements.

A user can enter new points which can be edited such as to change its position, add attribute information, or specify a direction (e.g., viewing angle). Photos can be added on site using the iPad's built-in camera or a linked 360-degree panoramic camera (such as seen at: https://theta360.com/en/).

Solar energy generation facility in Hyogo prefecture, Japan.

Mobile Matilda marketing image, with text translated to English.