Here's my planned app workflow, which is very heavy on Google products:
1) County GIS sites
I adjust settings to ensure water
features and contour lines are enabled -- both of course being crucial for permaculture
I do a "print screen" snapshot of the GIS.
I go to the parcel(s) in question, and transcribe GPS coordinates from the boundary corners of the area, putting them into...
2) Google Earth Pro
I create a series of polygons on Google Earth Pro for the general area of interest.
I insert the snapshot from the GIS website as an image overlay into Google Earth Pro, and adjust the opacity to see contour lines and land
With the GIS image overlay plus Google Earth, I can better analyze the contours and features, and then I can add pins (potential Keypoint locations, springs, wells
, access points, Zone 0 origin), paths (potential Keylines, rivers creeks and gullies, access paths), measure distances for reference, and draw polygons to measure acreages or areas for various zones and planting plans
. The areas can also help analyze potential water capture volume for swales or ponds.
After I have a fair understanding of the land and points/lines/areas of interest, I save it to a KML file, and then import it into...
3) Google Maps
Specifically, the "My Maps" feature.
I can import the KML from Google Earth, and place the key zones and areas and points onto a shareable My Map. Then any stakeholders (or clients) can have a reference on their smartphone or tablet when walking the property.
4) Google Photos
and smartphone camera.
Now that I finally own a smartphone, I can take GPS tagged photos. "Oh there is a fruit
tree here." "Ah, here's the precise location of the creek" etc. "The view-scape from this point is great. Maybe we'll add a structure here?"
Later I can add these reference points as "pins" to the Google Earth working map, or to My Maps for an outwardly sharable stakeholder map.
I may also use the GPS from my Fitbit to save a trail of where I walk on the property for later reference... but I am looking for something smartphone based for my breadcrumb trials now.
What is a good recommended smartphone app for mapping trails as breadcrumbs while walking, which saves to a KML file?
That would really help me with my planned workflow.
5) Drawing software: GIMP
My next phase will be taking the zones, lines, and points of interest from the walkthrough and my basemaps, and doing more precise mapping of design concepts for planting and structure.
Both of the above drawing apps are open source, and support "layers". (So, for a food forest, I could have a layer for trees
, a layer for herbs, a layer for ground covering.)
The layering feature also allows the concepts to be viewed on top of a birds eye view of the area of interest.
I've also used Google Slides for a simple plan-view mapping of where to plant trees.
6) Google Docs
In sequence with all the mapping and drawing and ideating taking place, I can use Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides
for further stakeholder writeup, planting lists, cost estimates, SOPs, and presentations of concepts.
I can store all this in a shareable folder. All for free.
p.s. Here are some recommended apps from Will Horvath, The Permaculture