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Western Dam Engineering <br /> Technical Note <br /> <br /> May 2016 <br /> <br />2 <br />Dam Engineering in the Palm of <br />Your Hand - Mobile Apps for the <br />Modern Day Engineer <br />Introduction <br />Modern tablet computers and smart phones provide <br />more computing power in the palm of your hand than <br />in the entire Apollo spacecraft. Both the Android and <br />the Apple (iOS) systems run powerful computers that <br />allow for the operation of sophisticated application <br />programs (apps) using mobile devices. These apps <br />range from high-tech productivity enhancers to <br />addictive games, which most parents (and employers) <br />believe to be productivity killers. This article will look <br />into the current line-up of applications for mobile <br />devices to help the modern engineer perform day-to- <br />day tasks more efficiently, remotely, and even more <br />safely. <br />This article provides a broad overview of useful <br />applications that may enhance the productivity of dam <br />engineers. From apps useful in field inspection, to <br />sophisticated apps that can tackle complex fluid <br />mechanics, this article is intended to briefly introduce <br />some of the mobile tools available in the new age of <br />engineering. The representative selection offered here <br />is meant to introduce the reader to this avenue of <br />tools, but there is a vast world of available apps <br />beyond those discussed here. <br /> <br /> Source: Scott Adams, <br />Mobile App Overview <br />Operating Systems <br />The majority of mobile apps are available on two <br />common operating system (OS) platforms: Android and <br />iOS. The Android OS, developed by Google, is currently <br />the most popular OS by sales. Some common devices <br />that support the Android OS include Samsung Galaxy, <br />Motorola Droid, Sony Xperia, Google Nexus, and Kindle <br />Fire Tablets. iOS is exclusively supported by Apple <br />products, including iPhones, iPads, and iPods. It is the <br />second most popular OS by sales. Microsoft offers a <br />mobile operating platform (Windows 10 Mobile), but it <br />remains far less popular than Android and iOS. A good <br />comparison of these three operating systems is found <br />here: Android vs iOS vs Windows [4]. <br />Android apps are available from the Google Play Store <br />[3], while iOS apps are available from the App Store <br />[1], both of which come standard on Android and <br />Apple mobile devices, respectively. Each app store has <br />easy search routines by task, category, discipline, or <br />key word. <br />Prior to downloading, review the features of the app, <br />customer reviews, and screenshots to see if it is the <br />right tool for the intended task. This article focuses on <br />Android and iOS, but the apps may also be available on <br />the Windows platform. Google Play and the App Store <br />provide a summary of the operating requirements for <br />each app that should be reviewed to verify it works on <br />a particular device. <br />Offline Functionality <br />Some available apps, or specific features of apps, <br />require cellular data or Wi-Fi connectivity. Most of the <br />apps presented here operate the majority of their <br />features offline on a mobile device, with no need for <br />cellular connectivity, providing handy tools in remote <br />areas. Most of these apps have additional features, <br />such as data sharing and download of stored <br />information that can be used once the device is <br />reconnected online. <br />GPS Features <br />Several of the apps presented here have valuable <br />features that use the device’s built-in GPS chip to <br />accurately, and quickly, locate the coordinates of the <br />device. Most cellular phones are equipped with a GPS <br />chip that can operate without Wi-Fi or cellular data. <br />Not all tablets have built-in GPS chips, especially Wi-Fi <br />only models. For those devices with built-in GPS chips, <br />calculating the device’s location using only the GPS <br />satellite data is possible, but can take up to a few <br />minutes and have reduced accuracy. Modern mobile <br />devices have the ability to use Assisted GPS (AGPS) to <br />locate the device in just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi <br />and cell tower data, when available, to find GPS