Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Time to use SMASH, the next generation Geopaparazzi

Yes, you read it (and it is not the 1st of April). We are taking Geopaparazzi into unsupported land and declaring SMASH as its successor. We (HydroloGIS) started SMASH with flutter as a test project a couple of years ago to support the IOS world, but it turned out to be the best way to go for a small company as ours is. And, after a while passed fooling ourselves, we had to admit that it doesn't really make sense to support two mobile projects. Much better to channel all energies into a single one.

That said, what does this mean for the Geopaparazzi project and users relying on it:

  • HydroloGIS will from now on perform fixes and developments only if funded. This means that we will not continue to add new features and will not make bugfixes on voluntary basis anymore.
  • Geopaparazzi users should move to SMASH. More about this later in the post. 
  • Geopaparazzi is an open source project, you can contribute to it, pay someone (also different from us) to do bugfixes. We will consider pull requests with well documented fixes, so if you are using geopaparazzi for a project that is critical to you, get in touch with us or any other provider to have your issues solved.

What's next. Well, that one is simple. SMASH is next. We started using it for testing purposes and never looked back. SMASH is simpler to use, simpler to develop, simpler to everything. So... overcome your mental friction and try it out.

Most important: SMASH is compatible with geopaparazzi projects and vice versa, so nothing will change in your data evaluation process.

Ok, but what will I miss?

Well, mostly 3 things:

  1. the smooth 3D view. That has been something that late geopaparazzi offered. If your main need is 3D (or better 2.5D), then SMASH is not an option for you. But to be honest, since the first moment we added 3D to geopaparazzi, we noticed that it is something that one doesn't need during surveys. So if I could go back, I would probably refrain from adding it anyways.
  2. spatialite. That one has been a struggle to keep updated and working also on older versions. It is a powerful engine of which on mobile we just exploited 0.01%. That, plus the fact that geopackage is now used more or less everywhere, supported by the major desktop GIS and simple to implement for any platform, made us completely abandon spatialite for our mobile applications.
  3. translations. Those take time. And your involvement.


Hmmm, and what will I gain?

First and foremost: a slick and responsive user interface. And that is one of the important things out in the field. The buttons in the right place, configurable in size, indicators of state and of survey status.

But then there are several features that SMASH supports and geopaparazzi would never have (for a full comparison have a look here):

  • IOS suppport. But soon we will also have the first experimental desktop versions. Macos and Linux are already working and windows is on the way.
  • way better support for GPS logs. Kalman filter, log profile view with stats markers, diagnostic tool and log statistics in the logs list.
  • onscreen logging information.
  • GPX are imported as layers and can be styled.
  • complete geopackage support. Visualization of tiles and vector data, editing of vector data both alphanumeric and geometric.
  • experimental Postgis support. Online editing of vector data both alphanumeric and geometric.
  • support for geotiffs and images with world files
  • shapefile visualization support (but please do yourself a favor and use geopackage)
  • SLD styling. SMASH supports styling of vector data (shapefile, gpx, geopackage, postgis) using simple SLD. 
  • export project to geopackage. This can help when exporting the survey to GIS.
  • centralization with the GSS survey server.
  • last but not least: icons on notes and form sections. Who doesn't love icons?!??!?!

Also, SMASH has already attracted external contributions. One example is the redmine support, which is very interesting to enable SMASH for example as a geo-ticketing tool.

Well, that seems quite a lot to me. So if you are still a geopaparazzi user, think of SMASH as the next generation geopaparazzi, because that is the way the future turns out to be. Actually, it is all already here.

A few last comments:

A big thank you to all the people that contributed to geopaparazzi, being it donations, bugfixes, features, custom projects or translations. I really hope you can trust us and move forward with us in the fast growing SMASH project.

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