Keep Your Cloud Clean

News & Resources

Slider

Keep Your Cloud Clean

Have you noticed a project running slower than normal? Does it take a long time to sync your device with the website? If your Internet browser or device seems to be bogged down by a single project, it may be time to rethink your project management.

Below are two common problems users face with large datasets and our suggested solutions.

My MapItFast project is slow on the website.

POSSIBLE CAUSES: There several factors that can cause a project to slow down the website. First, the limit for map objects in a project is 5,000 points, lines, or polygons. If this limit is reached, you will receive a warning message in MapItFast and browser performance and responsiveness will be affected.

You do not always have to reach the 5,000-object limit to see decreased performance in a project. Map objects that are data-intensive can cause a project to reach its threshold before the object limit is reached. For example, lines and polygons are made of multiple points called vertices. When these are drawn using GPS, they have more vertices. A project with lines and/or polygons that contain a total number of vertices exceeding 100,000 can also cause a project to slow down.

Another possible cause of project slow-down on the website is the addition of a large number of form photos, geo-photos, and/or signature images. Forms with minimal photos and signatures will not typically increase the size of a project enough to slow it down.

SOLUTION: The best way to prevent slow-down of MapItFast projects is to split existing projects into smaller, more manageable projects or set up new projects so that smaller amounts of data are being saved in each one. Some examples of different ways to organize projects would be by month, by user, by customer, or by region.

My data is not reaching the website or syncing from the device is slow.

POSSIBLE CAUSES: One possible cause of data not reaching the website is a large amount of un-synced data.

SOLUTION: If you have a large amount of un-synced data it could take more than the typical 15 minutes to sync with the server. To prevent this problem from happening in the future, it is a good idea to make sure that you allow your device to sync any new MapItFast data at least every few days of data collection, ideally every day.

By setting up manageable projects and regularly syncing map data, you will ensure a more seamless experience for all users in the system. When you get to the end of the season and want to see the “big picture,” our export tool allows you to export both shapefiles and KMZ files for additional analysis and viewing of large datasets in third party GIS software.

Winner Announced

News & Resources

Slider

Winner Announced

Congratulations to Kent Grabill with Audubon County Roads Department in Audubon, Iowa!  Kent was the winner of our drawing from last month’s survey. He will receive a $25 Amazon gift card.

We appreciate everyone who took a few minutes to provide feedback in our training conference survey. The results gave us insight into what our customers would find most helpful in future training sessions.

The feedback from last month’s survey was so great that we decided to do another one. This time we’re asking for your input on what would be the most beneficial new development in our software.

Introducing Our New Online Form Builder

News & Resources

Slider

AgTerra Introduces its New
Online Form Builder Tool

AgTerra’s newly-released online form builder is designed to simplify forms development with drag-and-drop design, quick list building, and instant form publishing all in one convenient location. Take a look at some of the highlights of the new form builder!

  • Simple, intuitive, drag-and-drop interface
  • Include text, numeric, pick lists with default values, photos and other widgets
  • Rapidly deploy to all team members in the field and over the web
  • Enable for use in MapItFast and/or SprayLogger
  • Pair with one or more printable and email-able reports

For a complete list of Strider’s features, click here.  Customers can also access online help resources for both the Online Form Builder and the Report Generator at help.agterra.com.

Map Like a Ninja: Asked & Answered

News & Resources

Slider

AgTerra strives to make products that are easy to use, which means you can collect a lot of data in a short amount of time. Once this data is collected, you’ll most likely need to sort through it to locate information for viewing, sharing, or editing purposes. Whether it’s a thousand records in a form or a thousand points on a map, AgTerra has the tools to help you get the information you need, when you need it.

With Strider’s query tool, you can filter records using any data field in the form. You can even combine queries for a more specific search. The Search and Refine tools in MapItFast allow you to find map objects using keywords or a date range. You can even search within forms and filter the results by geometry type.

Click on the links above to see how you can sort through your data in Strider and MapItFast, then put our search tools to work and start finding your data faster!

What is a SnapMapper?

News & Resources

Slider

What is SnapMapper?

SnapMapper can be used to easily track and record all equipment activity. It works with nearly any button, lever or switch on a piece of equipment and automatically communicates with the MapItFast app to map locations where equipment activity has occurred.  SnapMapper can be used for:

Vegetation Management
Track and map equipment activity and employee work along utility corridors, roadways, railroads, canal and drainage systems, within recreational park facilities and more.

Commercial Agriculture
Easily track planting, fertilizing, harvest operation status across multiple fields in a growing area.

Transportation
Instantly monitor project progress for equipment performing snow removal, plowing, sanding, salting, street sweeping, mowing and more.

Reclamation
Monitor reclamation work such as reseeding and show where all work was performed.

With all of these possibilities you are also able to monitor the activity from a big screen in the office connected to the internet. You will be able to provide detailed printable reports or online access to contractors to the jobs you wish to share. You can also electronically complete work orders, fill work detail reports, and timesheets.

With SnapMapper, equipment operators can focus on doing their job, not on using technology. Installation is simple – you connect SnapMapper to any button, switch or lever. Once connected, with a single tap in your MapItFast app you will be instantly mapping.

SnapMapper is pocket sized and powered by USB so it is portable and can be easily moved to different pieces of equipment as needed.

Does some of your work take you places where there is no cell phone or wireless coverage? No problem – SnapMapper can work anywhere you do. Once you are back in range, the collected data will automatically upload to your secure web-based account.

Contact us today to learn more or for a free demo and start tracking all of your equipment!

How to Keep it All in Sync

News & Resources

Slider

How to Keep it All in Sync

AgTerra’s products are designed to keep your map data, form data and spray data all in one place on a secure server. The sharing of data between a mobile device and your organization’s database is as simple as ensuring the device has an Internet connection and letting MapItFast do the rest. Sometimes however, additional factors may come into play and affect how data is shared between a mobile device and the database. Below are some suggestions that can help if you notice data isn’t making it off the device and onto the website.

Simultaneous User Logins – If the same username and password is used to log into another mobile device, MapItFast will detect the new login and all other devices currently using these credentials will be logged out of the MapItFast app. If the user is not aware that this has happened, the app will continue to allow them to collect map data, but none of the changes will sync with the server.

Try this: In most cases, the user will get a pop-up window in the app with a message saying that another device has logged in with the same user credentials. If you do not see this message but your data is still not syncing, check the app status in the lower left corner of the MapItFast screen. If it says “Not Logged In. Login Failed” your device will not be 

Simultaneous Object Editing -When a map object gets edited by two users (either on the computer or on the app) within minutes of each other, the MapItFast app will notice the data conflict and alert the user. Since the data came into the database at about the same time, a notification will appear in the MapItFast app and ask the user if they want to apply the changes they made or leave the object as it is currently on the server.

Solution: Verify whether your changes can override the information currently on the server. If you want to apply your changes, tap the ‘Use This’ button under My Data. Otherwise, select the Server Data option to disregard your changes. The conflict message will go away. If you still see a yellow triangle on the bottom of the screen after clearing the message, try closing MapItFast and re-opening it. The he icon should now be gone.

Limited Internet/Data Connection – When working in remote areas, a devices with a data plan may occasionally have a weak data connection (or no connection) for transferring data to the server.  When this happens, your map data and current user location may not show up right away on other user’s devices or on the website dashboard.

Try this: If you know that a location is going to have a spotty data connection, you can opt to turn off synchronization until you’re back in an area with a good Internet connection. This setting is found in the Settings menu of MapItFast under Sync Settings. Simply, uncheck the box next “Enable Synchronization” and collect data as usual. When you get back to an area with a strong Internet connection, simply re-check the box to enable synchronization and MapItFast will push your collected data to the server.

Not enough time to sync – If a device has been used to collect a large amount of photos, forms, and/or spray data while offline, the data can get “backed up” and it may take a while for all of the data to show up on the desktop.

Try this: Make sure your device is connected to a strong, reliable Internet source, then open the MapItFast project you wish to sync. Allow the device to sit with the project open for at least 15 minutes. After this time has elapsed, check the project on the MapItFast website to see if the project data has come through. Large projects with many photos or forms may take even longer to sync.

Device hardware issue – Although it is a rare occurrence, mobile devices can sometimes run into unexplained internal errors that can cause performance issues in apps. If an app is simply not responding in an expected way or an expected error message occurs, the solution may be as simple a simple as rebooting the device.

Try this: Shut down your device completely (not just a restart), wait ten seconds, then turn it on again. This simple act of starting the device fresh can often help clear out errors that cannot be resolved with any other suggestions described in this post.

Follow these troubleshooting tips to make sure your MapItFast data gets where it needs to go, every time!

Forms on Apple Devices

News & Resources

Slider

Forms on Apple Devices

The introduction of forms on Apple devices opened up a new set of options for iOS users. During AgTerra’s development phase of Apple forms, a few features had to be tweaked in order to fall within applications standards of the Apple Store. Those familiar with Android forms can expect a very similar form-filling experience, with a slightly different look and feel to the pages.

Form design can play a key role in user experience, so those who design and maintain forms for an account will want to be aware of the type of devices being used within an organization to fill out forms. In this post, we’ll go over some notable differences on the Apple device as well as recommendations for form designers.

No Separate Forms App – Those familiar with our original mobile apps know that MapItFast for Android requires a separate Strider app to use forms. This is not the case with Apple devices. When you install MapItFast from the Apple Store, the app will come with the forms feature built right into it.

How it Works: To attach a form, simply tap on a point, line, polygon, or photo, and select the Forms button in the detail window. This button looks like a piece of paper with a plus sign in the middle. When the button is tapped, MapItFast will display any forms currently attached to the object. If none are attached, a list of available forms will appear.

Stick to shorter form names for easier identification on the Apple device.

Naming Forms – When setting up forms for use on Apple devices, it’s important to be aware of the display limitations on an iOS device. When the list of available forms is displayed to the user, the window will show up to 20 characters. If the form name exceeds 20 characters, part of it will be hidden in the window.

Solution: Try to keep forms names within the 20 character limit so that users can easily identify and select the desired form.

Keyboards – It’s important to note that the text and number keyboards on Apple devices are more rigid than those on Android devices. For example, if a text field for additional comments is displayed toward the bottom of a page, an Android device will automatically “push” the text line up when the keyboard is displayed. An Apple device, on the other hand, will not do this. If the text line is toward the bottom of the page, users may have trouble filling it out because their keyboard covers the text box.

Solution: When designing forms, try to keep text and number entry fields toward the top of pages, or possibly put these questions on their own pages altogether.

Include a hint with autocomplete lists so that Apple users know to start typing in order to see list options.

Autocomplete appearance – Lists with the “autocomplete” appearance work somewhat differently in Apple forms. The page will initially display what looks like a blank text box instead of a list. As soon you being typing, a list of choices will appear.

Solution: Form designers can help users understand how the autocomplete list works by including a note in the “hint” section of the form.

Note Fields – Apple forms currently do not support the use of the data field reference (${dataField}) in question labels. If this is used in a form, users will see a blank space where the data field is referenced.

Solution: Instead of referencing the data field in the label, use a text, integer,or decimal field type and put the referenced field in the calculation column. The field will act as a read-only type because calculations are not editable.

Keep these tips in mind when designing forms and make the most of your next season with forms that work on any device!

Project Organization in MapItFast

News & Resources

Slider

Project Organization in MapItFast

Just like files on a computer, MapItFast projects can accumulate over time. Without a structured file system in place, the project menu can start to look like a messy desktop. Here are some things to keep in mind when considering how to structure projects within MapItFast:

  • Projects cannot exceed 5,000 objects (total of lines, points, and/or polygons). This includes any spatial data that has been uploaded via shapefile, KMZ, or GPX file. If a project exceeds this number, you will receive an error message notifying you that only part of the project has loaded and that you will need to move some of the data to a new project.
  • If a user creates a project on a mobile device, it will automatically go into the “Uncategorized” folder. It can be moved to a different folder using the desktop app.
  • Users will only be able to see the current location of other users if they are working in the same project.

If you’re still not sure about the best way to organize you’re projects, here are some ideas:

  1. Folders by customer name– If your organization does work for multiple customers, it may be useful to organize you projects by customer name.  MapItFast supports subfolders as well, so additional folders could be created beneath each customer – one for each job, for example.
  2. Folders by user – If your data collection centers around a few users rather than clients or customers, you may wish to set up a folder for each user. The users can then choose how to organize their projects within that particular folder.
  3. Projects by date – If users are collecting a great deal of data in the field, it may be necessary to start a new project every month, week, or even daily. This will ensure that you never exceed the 5,000 object limit in a project. The data can always be copied or moved to a larger “master” project later (or exported to GIS format if the dataset is very large).
  4. Projects by region – If you plan on bringing in a large dataset via shapefile or KMZ, it is sometimes necessary to break it up to fit within the 5,000 object parameter. When this happens, one option might be to use a GIS program to divide the data into regions (i.e. by county, city, or simply north half, south half, etc.). This will make projects easier to manage and will keep the data in a location that’s easy to find.

Strider Forms FAQs

News & Resources

Slider

Strider FAQs

AgTerra is committed to making a product that’s functional and easy to use. Sometimes, however, customers come to us with a question that they just can’t figure out on their own. Below are some common questions about Strider for mobile and desktop.

Upload errors can occur for a variety of reasons. If you receive a popup message window, be sure to scroll to the bottom for a better description of the problem. In most cases, you can track down and fix the issue in your Excel file using the information provided by the error message. You can read more about upload errors here in the online help guide.

Remember! You will need to use the user resources password provided by AgTerra to access the help pages.

If you are still unable to determine the cause of the error message, you may contact AgTerra for help.

Users cannot see a form until they have been added to a group and the group has permission to view the form. Strider permissions work independently from MapItFast, so even if a user is part of a MapItFast group, they will need to be part of a group in Strider as well. The steps for setting up user form permissions are outlined here in the online help guide.

Remember! You will need to use the user resources password provided by AgTerra to access the help pages.

In order to use a form in MapItFast, you will need to enable it through the Strider website. To enable the form, go to the Form Management page and select “Edit” next to the form you want to enable. In the Edit page, change the form type to “MapItFast and Strider Form”.

Note – After a form has been enabled, you will need to wait 10-15 minutes or close and re-open the app before it will be available.

Yes, Strider forms can be used on Apple. Unlike the Android apps however, Strider is built into MapItFast. This means that while you do not need to install a secondary Strider app, you are currently limited to filling out forms through the MapItFast app.

Yes, Strider applies a unique number to each form record entered into the system, starting with the number one. The database field is called ‘_ID’ and the value can be found in the record details page and XLS export. The ID can also be added to reports as a unique identifier for each record.

Yes, you can change the order of columns by dragging and dropping them to a new spot on the page. If your form has a lot of columns, you may need to drag the column, drop it, scroll, then drag it some more to get it moved over. Keep in mind that these changes will only be applied to your current desktop browser, so the columns will not be in the same place if you open Strider on another computer.

Five Things You Need to Know About MapItFast

News & Resources

Slider

Five Things You Need to Know About MapItFast

If you’ve used MapItFast even once, you know that it’s made for easy mapping. There’s nothing quite like mapping points, lines and polygons with a single tap. But that’s only a fraction of what MapItFast can do! If you didn’t know about all the features below, it may be time to rethink how you’re using the software.

Map even faster with a Data Dictionary

The data dictionary feature in MapItFast makes it even easier to map in the field with pre-set icons, lines, and polygon colors with automatic naming of your map objects. Use of data dictionaries is a great way to get the most out of MapItFast search tool (read more below).

Sort through data with ease

When projects accumulate data over the season, it may be necessary to review and organize the data from time to time. AgTerra developed the search tool on the web app to alleviate tedious searching and editing of individual map objects.

Watch the video below to see how the search tool and permission settings can be used on a project in MapItFast.

Share only what you want to share

Account administrators can manage and view all projects in an account. Additional users in the account will be limited to only the projects they are allowed to see. MapItFast’s enterprise-level permission system allows account administrators to share projects and data with individual users and/or user groups.

Go digital with your forms

Replace nearly any paper form with MapItFast’s electronic forms. The data collected can be exported in tabular format through the Strider website, exported in spatial format from MapItFast, or even emailed as a PDF report directly from the app.

Let your map tell the story

With the use of our electronic forms, maps can be updated on-the-fly as users preform tasks in the field. By setting up an Active Map Trigger in the Strider website, a selection in a form can automatically change the color of a point, line, or polygon on the map. With just one glance, users can view the map and see the status change in real time.