Personal Digital Assistant (PDA)
The PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) is a small hand held computer with a colour touch screen (see picture) enabling control of software through various buttons and menus (very similar to using software on a normal desktop except the handheld stylus replaces the mouse pointer). These devices run a cut-down version of the Windows operating system, called Windows Mobile. As with the desktop, different Windows versions appear from time to time so an older PDA may be running Windows Mobile 2003 whilst a new PDA recently purchased may be running Windows Mobile version 6.0 or newer! You need a minimum of 128mb memory for running ArborTrail.
A typical PDA also has sockets to enable external memory storage cards to be inserted and a few hardware buttons which can be preset to open various programs or perform tasks. It is also likely to have Bluetooth built in, have wireless capability (so it can connect to a wireless router) and will come supplied with USB cable, car cigar socket cable and mains adaptor.
ArborTrail runs on the PDA alongside a number of other programs which may be present or may have been installed with the operating system such as MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Internet Explorer, Email, picture viewers, games etc. You may also have navigation software installed and a GPS module enabling the PDA to be used in-car or in your pocket!
Data can be transferred quickly and easily between PDA and say a Laptop using Bluetooth, USB or with the memory card socket (or via a USB adaptor).
In general terms the PDA is a very versatile, light, small computer which has good potential for use on site due to its size and weight but also has obvious limitations regarding its processing power, memory storage and screen size. For
our use as a tree data collector tool, I find it invaluable, it can be held in one hand with no fatigue, it can be stored quickly in a pocket whilst measuring a tree dimension or if it rains!
Please note Windows Mobile and the PDA looks to be discontinued from 2012/2013. ArborTrail will not work on Windows Phone 7+. Read More....