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Your Ideas for a Phone App  RSS feed

 
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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For two years now I've been doing lots and lots of research on permaculture. It never really stops, does it? In the two years, I've kept an eye out for a good phone/tablet app. I have yet to see one. There is one called Permaculture that is for Android and IPhone, but I am not sure how good it really is. I was thinking of making my own app, but I want everyone's input of what you'd like to see in an app. Just give some ideas, anything you can think of. Would you want videos, links, forums, books, etc? What do you wish you had at your fingertips when you're in the garden. Or, if you don't think an app is needed, then say so. Thanks for all of your suggestions.
 
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The only app I ever use in the garden is instagram for photo sharing. There are a lot of great permaculture projects on there.

Perhaps something that facilitates design would be useful. It could use satellite photos and let you insert elements and draw zones and sectors.

I'd like a drone to take photos to make better maps
 
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I've been wanting a sap collection app. It should be really simple to use one handed.

First I'd go out and visit each maple tree, and when I tap it, I'd also tap it with the smartphone. That would record the location of the tree. (Is there still a "bump" library?)

Then when it is collection time I'd open up the app and it would show me the closest trees to my current location. I'd visit each tree, tapping the tree with the phone as I collect the sap (or tapping the screen); then it would show me the closest unchecked trees. It would have some basic AI so that after a while it would develop a good route, suggesting the next tree from that.

I'm not sure if smartphone GPS is accurate enough yet, but maybe some of the ones that also use GLONAS will work well enough.

In my former life, I was a developer (C++/Windows mostly) so I have been thinking about doing it myself, but I never seem to get enough time.
 
Jon La Foy
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Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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Ron Helwig wrote:I've been wanting a sap collection app. It should be really simple to use one handed.

First I'd go out and visit each maple tree, and when I tap it, I'd also tap it with the smartphone. That would record the location of the tree. (Is there still a "bump" library?)

Then when it is collection time I'd open up the app and it would show me the closest trees to my current location. I'd visit each tree, tapping the tree with the phone as I collect the sap (or tapping the screen); then it would show me the closest unchecked trees. It would have some basic AI so that after a while it would develop a good route, suggesting the next tree from that.

I'm not sure if smartphone GPS is accurate enough yet, but maybe some of the ones that also use GLONAS will work well enough.

In my former life, I was a developer (C++/Windows mostly) so I have been thinking about doing it myself, but I never seem to get enough time.



Ron, I really like this idea. Maybe tailor it so it can be used for different things, such as re-finding that great berry bush, or that hidden fruit tree in the forest. That is really a neat idea, and I really like the idea of tapping the phone on the tapped tree.

I have not taken any classes yet, but after downloading a Linux operating system, I've seen how easy it is to really make your own app. I've found lot's of websites that give free courses and instructions. We'll see where they take me.
 
Jon La Foy
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Matu Collins wrote:The only app I ever use in the garden is instagram for photo sharing. There are a lot of great permaculture projects on there.

Perhaps something that facilitates design would be useful. It could use satellite photos and let you insert elements and draw zones and sectors.

I'd like a drone to take photos to make better maps



Matu,

I didn't see your post until just now. I like your idea to. If the app could sustain a highly detailed terrain map, it could suggest where to put swales, ponds, or other earthworks. Using update satellite imagery, it could also suggest how to improve the landscape. It might even be good to add ideas based on local climate, such as annual precipitation, as this would change swale distances. I think design is one of the harder aspects of permaculture, and this app would be a great "suggestion box" to get people started and thinking. I feel this would be more for a tablet, as it would require high graphics; maybe even one for the computer. Let me know what you think, or if you have any other suggestions.
 
Jon La Foy
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Matu Collins wrote:

I'd like a drone to take photos to make better maps



I found this website called us.nearmap.com where they have done just that. However, so far they only have major cities. So if you happen to be near one, it might help you out.
 
master steward
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Jon La Foy wrote:For two years now I've been doing lots and lots of research on permaculture. It never really stops, does it? In the two years, I've kept an eye out for a good phone/tablet app. I have yet to see one. There is one called Permaculture that is for Android and IPhone, but I am not sure how good it really is. I was thinking of making my own app, but I want everyone's input of what you'd like to see in an app. Just give some ideas, anything you can think of. Would you want videos, links, forums, books, etc? What do you wish you had at your fingertips when you're in the garden. Or, if you don't think an app is needed, then say so. Thanks for all of your suggestions.



Funny you should post this now... I've recently joined the 21st century and got a tablet. Seeking an app for gardening/farming that does it all, for all styles of gardening/farming (strong focus on permaculture and resilient gardening techniques). So far, I'm disappointed as all the apps I've found are a bit basic and/or rely on information that does not apply to me.

One example is that we have a lot of microclimates where I live, yet the info for our area comes from almost 4 hours away. A place that gets about twice as much rain as us, has drastically different frost dates, and heat units days. If I plant by these recommendations, then I struggle to achieve a harvest.

I've actually a list of what I wish from a garden/farm app - and ideas on how to achieve them and how to make the app pay for itself/make money without making the user pay or bombard them with annoying irrelevant adds. I'm at the point now where I'm interested in making my own app...if I knew how. I haven't written a program since... um, well... a while ago. Qbasic anyone? C++? VBasic? Yep, it's been a while.

The app I'm thinking of would fit very well with permaculture, but would cover a slightly broader range.

I'm not going to write the whole list here. Rather I will share some generic thoughts of what I think an gardening app needs:
- relevant local info for planting dates.
- the ability to input things like when actually planted, first sprout, first leaf, first flower, and harvest date. As well as other observations and photos.
- pest identification and options to control
- community forum like thing or help line where people ask questions and people helpfully answer them.
- be easy enough to encourage a first time gardener with nothing more than a window and a pot. But also, the option to be in depth enough to be useful to small (and perhaps large) farmers.
- Weekly written articles.
- some videos, but not the main focus.
- extensive free content with some subscription content...like additional features for more advanced growers - like mapping the specific farm, or certain kinds of advance plant data.
- a lot of other things...

Now, I either need to learn how to make an app, or team up with someone who can.
 
Jon La Foy
Posts: 97
Location: Hopkinsville, KY (Western KY) Zone 7
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R Ranson wrote:
Funny you should post this now... I've recently joined the 21st century and got a tablet. Seeking an app for gardening/farming that does it all, for all styles of gardening/farming (strong focus on permaculture and resilient gardening techniques). So far, I'm disappointed as all the apps I've found are a bit basic and/or rely on information that does not apply to me.

One example is that we have a lot of microclimates where I live, yet the info for our area comes from almost 4 hours away. A place that gets about twice as much rain as us, has drastically different frost dates, and heat units days. If I plant by these recommendations, then I struggle to achieve a harvest.

I've actually a list of what I wish from a garden/farm app - and ideas on how to achieve them and how to make the app pay for itself/make money without making the user pay or bombard them with annoying irrelevant adds. I'm at the point now where I'm interested in making my own app...if I knew how. I haven't written a program since... um, well... a while ago. Qbasic anyone? C++? VBasic? Yep, it's been a while.

The app I'm thinking of would fit very well with permaculture, but would cover a slightly broader range.

I'm not going to write the whole list here. Rather I will share some generic thoughts of what I think an gardening app needs:
- relevant local info for planting dates.
- the ability to input things like when actually planted, first sprout, first leaf, first flower, and harvest date. As well as other observations and photos.
- pest identification and options to control
- community forum like thing or help line where people ask questions and people helpfully answer them.
- be easy enough to encourage a first time gardener with nothing more than a window and a pot. But also, the option to be in depth enough to be useful to small (and perhaps large) farmers.
- Weekly written articles.
- some videos, but not the main focus.
- extensive free content with some subscription content...like additional features for more advanced growers - like mapping the specific farm, or certain kinds of advance plant data.
- a lot of other things...



Ranson, I love all of your ideas. I especially like the "help line" idea as I had thought of something similar. My idea involved people signing up to be instant responders, so when someone posts a question on the app, someone should be able to respond quickly. I know plenty of times I needed something answered quickly. Even though I love the advice and help on this website, it's not always instant. This way it could be quick.

I think having all of your ideas onto one app might be impossible. As I've stated before, I don't know anything about coding... yet. But I imagine that it'd be too much for one app, especially for a phone. I realize ideas like a design planner would not be ideal for a phone, so it might be best to have multiple apps under the same name, and provide links to each one within each app.

I've recently replaced my Windows with Linux, so it's much easier to do things, like download software for creating apps. I just haven't done any courses, like C++, to learn how to write code. I have a software that lets me write code in order to create an app, I just need to learn code first. Luckily, there are plenty of resources online that can help me learn. And besides, since I am overseas for another six months, I should have time to learn.

R Ranson wrote:
Now, I either need to learn how to make an app, or team up with someone who can.



If I knew exactly how to, we could team up, lol. Maybe in a few months!
 
raven ranson
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Jon La Foy wrote:
Ranson, I love all of your ideas. I especially like the "help line" idea as I had thought of something similar. My idea involved people signing up to be instant responders, so when someone posts a question on the app, someone should be able to respond quickly. I know plenty of times I needed something answered quickly. Even though I love the advice and help on this website, it's not always instant. This way it could be quick.



Great idea!

Jon La Foy wrote:I think having all of your ideas onto one app might be impossible. As I've stated before, I don't know anything about coding... yet. But I imagine that it'd be too much for one app, especially for a phone. I realize ideas like a design planner would not be ideal for a phone, so it might be best to have multiple apps under the same name, and provide links to each one within each app.



I was thinking about this too. Perhaps something that is modular? The core program is the app with your basic program and interaction, then the user can download the additions that interest them. So, for example, the main app would include things like official planting data, the ability for the user to journal their garden, the help line, and whatever else. The additions could be like farm crops, more localized data, pest identification, using phone/tablet to plot the area, &c. that work through the main app. I was inspired by the app dailyyoga.com - where we donwload the core program, then if we want to do a specific yoga routine, we download that specific routine as an app that works with the core program. I'm probably not describing this as well as I could. Put it down to a rather Hectic Holiday fogging up my brain.

Jon La Foy wrote:I've recently replaced my Windows with Linux, so it's much easier to do things, like download software for creating apps. I just haven't done any courses, like C++, to learn how to write code. I have a software that lets me write code in order to create an app, I just need to learn code first. Luckily, there are plenty of resources online that can help me learn. And besides, since I am overseas for another six months, I should have time to learn.

If I knew exactly how to, we could team up, lol. Maybe in a few months!



The would be a fun project. I need a bit of time to get use to the 21st century technology. I stopped keeping up with tech back in the late 1990s, so I have a few years to catch up on. I doubt the logical structure of programming has changed much, it's just a matter of learning which language to use and its grammar. It would be good to team up with someone.
 
Jon La Foy
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R Ranson wrote:

I was thinking about this too. Perhaps something that is modular? The core program is the app with your basic program and interaction, then the user can download the additions that interest them. So, for example, the main app would include things like official planting data, the ability for the user to journal their garden, the help line, and whatever else. The additions could be like farm crops, more localized data, pest identification, using phone/tablet to plot the area, &c. that work through the main app. I was inspired by the app dailyyoga.com - where we donwload the core program, then if we want to do a specific yoga routine, we download that specific routine as an app that works with the core program. I'm probably not describing this as well as I could. Put it down to a rather Hectic Holiday fogging up my brain.



I didn't know this was a thing. This same structure would be perfect. I really like the way you are thinking with this!!
 
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Hi all, if anyone is interested, I have built a web app that I think may be useful for at least the journal/record keeping aspects that people have discussed here. It's not strictly permaculture focused but it uses satellite imagery (and allows you to use your own if you have access to a drone), allows you to record locations, dates, activities, observations, photos and weather information like rainfall and frost dates.

There is lots in the pipeline (planting calendars, companion planting, integration with the Netatmo weather station and the Edyn soil sensor and much more) but it is very usable as is and over the last several years there has barely been a day when I haven't used it myself in my own garden.

If anyone is interested, feel free to check it out at www.planmy.garden, I'd love to hear what you think.
 
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Looks interesting. Once I've got the time I'll have a look at the 14-day trial, but gonna have to time it for when I've got free time as 14 days seems a bit rushed to give it a good shake out.
 
Brad Crawford
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Bryan de Valdivia wrote:Looks interesting. Once I've got the time I'll have a look at the 14-day trial, but gonna have to time it for when I've got free time as 14 days seems a bit rushed to give it a good shake out.



Great, if you find the 14 days isn't long enough just reach out as I'm sure that we can extend it for you.

 
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I will definitely try this. I want to do better records. Does this export to with xml or similar open-source architecture? Data portability is pretty important to me.
 
Brad Crawford
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Tj Jefferson wrote:I will definitely try this. I want to do better records. Does this export to with xml or similar open-source architecture? Data portability is pretty important to me.



There is currently no mechanism for exporting your data but it is a feature that is high on the list as I think that data lock-in is a poor business model. I can't give you an ETA as with Spring well underway there are more immediate priorities in the short term. If you do try it and find that it doesn't meet your needs, I will arrange a manual export of your information in the meantime if requested.
 
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