As of February 2012, nearly half (46%) of American adults own a smartphone. This represents an increase of 11% since May 2011, according to the Pew Research Center. Two mobile platforms, Apple’s iOS and Android, make up a majority of these phones. Gartner, a world leader in information technology research, estimates 50.9% of all smartphones sold in the fourth quarter of 2011 were Android phones, up from 30.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010. iOS also saw a gain from 15.8% in 2010 to 23.8% in 2011. Other smartphone platforms like Blackberry, Symbian, and Microsoft’s Windows Phone lost market share.
Since Apple launched the iPad in 2010, tablets have also increased in popularity and shown a significant increase in usage. Gartner also estimates that 118 million tablets will be sold in 2012, an increase of 98% over sales in 2011. Apple’s iPad is projected to remain the dominant tablet, accounting for over 61% of tablets expected to be sold in 2012. With the launch of Windows 8 later this year, Microsoft will attempt gain market share in an already saturated and competitive market.
As smartphones and tablets increase in popularity, the development and usage of applications, or “apps”, are growing rapidly. As of March 2012, Apple and Android has over 550,000 and 450,000 apps respectively in their app stores. Apple recently celebrated 25 billion downloads of paid or free apps from the iTunes App Store. The Google Play Store last reported in December 2011 to have over 10 billion downloads.
As the number of iOS and Android apps have increased, a number of forestry related apps have emerged. There are numerous non-forestry apps as well that prove to be helpful with forest management activities. Below are a few apps that forest landowners, property managers, foresters, and other natural resource professionals may find useful in their daily management activities.
There is nothing more important that having good maps when managing forestland. Landowners that do not employ the services of a forester may be looking for software to meet their mapping needs. There are several useful mapping and GIS applications for smartphones and tablets. ArcGIS, available for iOS and Android, is a great application for viewing and sharing maps created with ESRI’s ArcGIS PC software or on ArcGIS.com. The app needs a data connection to function, so the app’s use may be limited on WiFi-only devices when offline or in the field. The mobile ArcGIS app is free on both platforms. The companion GIS software for PCs can be very expensive and cost prohibitive for some landowners. ESRI now offers a solution with its ArcGIS at Home license for $100 annually.
GIS Kit is a fully functional GIS solution for landowners and natural resource professionals. The app is easy to use, requires no other software, and is designed to work well when offline or in the field. GIS Kit, only available for iOS, sells for $99 in the iTunes App Store. The enterprise version of...