StraboSpot Devices – What to Buy?
StraboSpot is currently in version 1 but will soon upgrade to version 2. Version 1 will be supported for the rest of 2021, but we may go over to version 2 next year.
A WiFi+Cellular iPadThere are two things you need to know at this time: 1) Initial release of StraboSpot2 is iPad only. Future updates may support iPhones and Android devices. 2) When buying an iPad, You must buy the WiFi+Cellular option, because WiFi-only models do not have a built-in GPS unit. StraboSpot does not need internet connectivity in the field, so there is no need to purchase a cellular plan for your cellular enabled iPad. Although there are 3rd party GPS units that are compatible with apple devices, we have not tested them and cannot guarantee good results.All models of iPad (iPad mini, iPad, iPad Air, and iPad Pro) can be purchased in a WiFi+Cellular configuration. StraboSpot2 will work well on any of the current iPad models, and we have tested it on most iPad models over the last 3-4 years. Of course, the app will be snappiest on newer iPads.
A Sturdy CaseThis is a must for taking a big glass-fronted device into the field. Make sure to get a sturdy case for your ipad. A screen protector as part of the case (or separately) is very important, since flying shards of rock–even tiny ones!–can shatter the ipad screen if it has no protection. With a case, iPads are really quite durable. At the University of Kansas, we have been using iPads for the last 5 years. Out of a total of almost 40 iPads in use, we have only had one fail. The failure was a student not putting on the cover and planting the screen on a rock—otherwise, no issues with the devices. Most of the StraboSpot team uses Otterbox Defender brand cases, but there are a variety of good choices.
An Apple Pencil or Other StylusIf you like to sketch in the field, then a stylus is a must. There are a huge range of choices here. There are very inexpensive styluses that are basically rubber-tipped pens that you can use if you don’t care too much about fine detail, and slightly more expensive blue-tooth enabled styluses. The most expensive—and most seamless–option is the Apple Pencil, which provides a high level of accuracy (note: different iPads use different apple pencils – check to make sure you buy the one that is compatible with your iPad. Older iPads may not have Apple Pencil compatibility).
A Portable Battery PackWith the graphics-intensive map rendering and GPS use of StraboSpot2, battery life will come in a bit under the 9-10 hours of battery life that Apple claims. In our real-world testing, iPads will go from 100% to <10% under a “normal” day out in the field. Your milage may vary, so we suggest buying a portable battery pack. Battery packs are increasingly inexpensive and can slip into your backpack to reduce battery anxiety. They are also critical if you are staying in the field without electricity access for several days.