Managing Sensitive Areas with Mappt Geofences

A necessary aspect to field operations is knowing exactly where your field work needs to be performed.  Taking this concept a step further, sometimes it is even necessary to know where your field work should not be performed.  To assist team leaders and field workers in this, Mappt supports the ability to define “Geofence” polygons, which are areas that trigger an alert when entered or exited, as tracked by a tablet’s GPS.

For example, you may use aircraft to fertilise a large farmland area, while at the same time being mindful of nearby crops or animals.  These areas can be marked out as polygons within Mappt, as so:

The area to be fertilised, in blue, and the sensitive areas, in red and yellow.

The area to be fertilised, in blue, and the sensitive areas, in red and yellow.

Based on wind speed, you can determine a “buffer” distance, to minimise the chance of wind carrying the chemicals to the nearby areas.  In the image below, the sensitive areas have been “buffered out” to this distance and flagged as “Exclusion Zones,” which are indicated with a small red icon in the layer list.

The sensitive areas have been buffered and turned into Exclusion Zones.

The sensitive areas have been buffered and flagged as Exclusion Zones.

Once GPS tracking is turned on, Mappt will monitor any active geofence zones, triggering an audible and visual alarm should the tablet’s GPS position cross a geofence zone’s border.  The following image shows a single geofence alert marker, labelled with the timestamp of the event, indicating the location at which the geofence boundary was crossed.

A geofence alert is triggered in Mappt.

A geofence alert is triggered in Mappt.

Combined with Mappt’s GPS tracking feature, geofence alerts provide great post-job data for auditing or analysis purposes, as can be seen in this image:

Based on the GPS and Geofence data captured by Mappt, I think the pilots gonna have some 'splaining to do.

Here we can see the pilot made several sweeps of the job area, crossing into sensitive areas several times.  He’s gonna get yelled at!

The other form of Geofences in Mappt are called Inclusion Zones.

In cases of culturally sensitive areas, such as the many Aboriginal heritage sites found throughout Australia, ground staff do not necessarily need to know where the sensitive regions are.  Rather, they can be given a zone to stay within, as they perform their duties.

In this image, we can see a ground clearing job is planned, plus an additional “Inclusion Zone”, which as long as they stay within, will keep the ground staff away from culturally sensitive areas, without knowing exactly where those areas are.

A job area, in blue, surrounded by a "safe work area", in green.

A job area, in blue, surrounded by a “safe work area”, in green.

Inclusion Zones work in much the same way as Exclusion Zones, whereby Mappt will trigger an audible alarm and log such events into the map view.

Finally, it is handy to know that any polygon can be turned into an Exclusion or Inclusion zone.  This allows sensitive areas to be imported into Mappt from common formats such as Shapefiles or KML, perfect for times where such areas are determined by third parties.