#92 Archaeology Apps for your new iPad

The “New iPad” was announced by Apple last week and came out for sale on Friday, March 16.  Did you get one (Lindsey!)?  Did you take advantage of the lower price on the iPad 2?  It’s $399 for the 16GB Wifi version and $549 for the 16GB WiGi+3G version.  The iPad 2 price tag should bring over anyone considering getting a tablet from another company.  

So, it’s Sunday morning, you’re drinking coffee (or tea), maybe it’s raining, and you have your new iPad sitting on your lap.  What do you want to do with it?  On Sunday morning it’s perfect for reading blogs with Flipboard or maybe watching a show on Netflix or Hulu.  When Monday comes around you’ll be ready for work and ready to amaze your co-workers with your shiny new iPad and you’ll want to show them what it can do.  Here are a few apps to get you started.  Prices are in U.S. dollars and links go to the U.S. App Store.

iAnnotate PDF ($9.99) I use this app nearly every time I record a site or type up a site record.  Every piece of reference material I have is organized on this app.  You can import PDFs via a free server download on your computer which syncs with your iPad (on the same WiFi network) or you can download PDFs from the internet or email directly on the iPad.  Once you install iAnnotate a link will appear in most other applications that allows you to view your PDF in iAnnotate.  The app has it’s own web browser and can connect to a server.  Ever see a crew chief or field director carry around a 2 in three-ring binder full of reference materials?  Mine is about 1 cm thick, weighs 1.3 pounds, and is shiny.  Beat that.

Documents To Go - Office Suite ($9.99) I bought this app back when I was in grad school.  It came in handy for creating and editing Word and Excell documents on the go.  The reviews on the iTunes store are not very good but that mostly relates to the fact that they haven’t adding a print option yet.  That’s not really a problem for me since I don’t print things, usually.  I’ve had great success with this app, however, there are a number of quality MS Office apps for document creation and editing.  Look around, read reviews, and do your homework.  None of these apps are cheap and you don’t want to get stuck with something that doesn’t fit your needs.

Apple iWork Products ($9.99 each) There are three Apple programs that work well in the field.  Pages is a powerful word processing app that works, with one purchase, on your iPhone and on your iPad.  You can create documents on either device and share them as PDFs, Word Files, or Pages files to other computers via email and other options.  Numbers is Apple’s spreadsheet program.  The app has a great feature for filling in tables.  You create a form based on column headings.  The form makes data entry almost fun and is really easy to set up.  I used that feature in grad school to enter magnetometry data during my shallow geophysics course.  It was super easy to set up and easy to export.  Keynote, Apple’s presentation app, is great for making dynamic presentations quickly.  Tired of Powerpoint and the usual backgrounds and transitions? Try Keynote.  All of the Apple apps have the ability to sync to Apple’s iCloud.  I’ve created blog posts on my iPhone, added edits on my iPad, and finished it up on my Mac.  All of that is seamless and flawless.  With all of our devices these days and the possibility of dropping them over a cliff, it’s essential to back up to a cloud service.  Get the files off site and store them securely.

Evernote (Free) Evernote is a universal app for all of your iOS devices.  This app is difficult to explain.  You sort of have to find out how it can be useful for you.  I’ve had an Evernote account (free for 60 MB data transfer per month) for a while now but never really knew how I was going to use it.  Recently, though, I found a great way to use it.  I’ve been doing a lot of research into historic artifact dating at work.  When I found a resource in the office, like in an old fashioned book, I would take a hi-res pic with my iPhone and create an Evernote note for it.  Then, if I found additional information on the computer, I could “clip” a portion, or all, of a web page and add it to the note.  These notes are available on all of my devices.  I love having the ability to add different things from different resources into the note.  I can even create a voice note.  When I’m in the field and find a unique bottle base I can snap a pic, create a note, and research it later.  Then, I can add details and references to the note later and have it for the next time I find that base again.  I also use Evernote for projectile points.  I set up a system using IFTTT that allows me to take a pic with my iPhone, post it to Instagram with the hash tag #ppt, then create a new note with that point in a projectile points folder on Evernote.  The note is created automatically and is immediately available on all of my devices.

mColorBook ($4.99) I reviewed this app in it’s own blog post.  Check it out here.

Notes Plus ($7.99) There are a number of note taking apps for the iPad.  I like this one because of the multiple ways of entering onto a single note.  I can draw shapes, type, write with my finger or a stylus, and speak into the microphone.  This is a great app for taking notes in a meeting or for taking notes while talking to a client.  Write in the rain is nice but it’s not searchable, it’s not organized, and it’s difficult to find particular notes.  Upgrade to the 21st century and get Notes Plus.

 Tap Forms HD ($8.99) I reviewed this app in it’s own blog post.  Check it out here.

Oxford Concise Dictionary of Archaeology ($14.99)  This comprehensive dictionary of archaeology, from the people who invented quality dictionaries, contains over 4,000 entries.  It’s a universal app that works on all of your iOS devices.



These apps represent the tip of the iceberg of possibilities.  When you start to think efficiency all the time you’ll start to realize the possibilities of your iPad.  When you start to be more green and recycle more, you’ll want to use your iPad for as much as possible.  Some tasks seem more cumbersome and more difficult on the iPad than on just plain old paper but it’s like everything else, there’s a learning curve.  Once you become more efficient and more capable with your new tablet, you’ll discover a world of possibilities in the palms of your hands.  Crap, I sound like an Apple commercial.  If only they’d pay me.

See you in the field (I’ll be the dork holding the iPad standing next to the crew chief with the three-ring binder trying not to let his site forms blow out of his clip board in the 40 mph wind)