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EcoMap Costa Rica 2010

This is a discussion on EcoMap Costa Rica 2010 within the Off-Topic forums, part of the Apple iPad Discussions category; As hinted in a few of my other posts, I shall be in Costa Rica later this week. This is the third year of the ...

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  1. #1
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    EcoMap Costa Rica 2010

    As hinted in a few of my other posts, I shall be in Costa Rica later this week. This is the third year of the "Eco Map Costa Rica" project. My wife runs a Costa Rica ecology field trip for the University of Dallas. Each year students visit and study a rainforest restoration project, and measure the changes year from year. The changes really are quite amazing and best show up in the panoramic photographs that I take.

    The class started this morning, and we all fly out early Friday morning. For those who are interested in following the trip, the students will be blogging their experiences at:

    EcoMap Costa Rica

    The site has various things like reports from previous years, interactive maps, PhotoSynths, and panoramic photographs.

    Unfortunately, they're not going to work well on the closed iPad. PDFs and the blog should be fine, but the best maps require Bing Maps or OpenLayers neither are usable on a multi-touch system. Yesterday I added a Google Maps version which I'll be linking in to the site navigation this afternoon. This works well with Safari, but the iPad/Safari combination does not work well and eventually crashes.

    PhotoSynth is of course a non-starter for the iPad. This was an interesting experiment last year, but I won't be repeating it.

    The panoramic photos are much more impressive and use my own panoramic photo viewer which allows you to choose a photo location and then fade from one year's image to another and see the comparison.. This uses Silverlight - another iPad non-starter, I'm afraid. I guess the alternative would have been Flash (I prefer Silverlight as it happens, and it should work on a Mac)

    I'll have the iPad with me but mainly as an e-Book reader and possibly to check my email whilst the students are hogging the laptops.

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  3. #2
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    Smile Sounds like a great trip!

    Want to give you a way to share it all on an ipad/iphone/ipod touch.....Tapeze. List privately or publicly. Links with Google Picasa, Calendar, Docs, Blogs so you can share all of your info as if you had your own iphone app. We created this site a couple of months ago. Thanks for reading.
    P.S. We're envious.

  4. #3
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    Ipad Use

    Richard:
    I am travelling to Costa Rica the first two weeks of January 2011. I have the 3G Ipad with wifi and ATT servcie. Is there a way to use this in Costa Rica? Am I limited to wifi? Do you know of any good map programs for the Ipad, PC Laptop or Garmin Nuvi for driving instructions?
    thanks,
    Art Femenella

  5. #4
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    3G may work, but I switched it off incase of high roaming fees. ie. I was limited to wifi, but I knew I would have wifi at the main place we stay at.

    for navigation, the GPS will work, but there weren't any suitable routing systems when I looked. This may have changed. Note, however that both Google Maps and OpenStreetMaps continue to only have limited coverage of Costa Rica - eg. Rural roads near where we do the project are missing, and even a big tourist centre like La Fortuna is limited to the main roads and a couple of streets. I suspect Google seeded their map with OSM or both services seeded their maps from the same database. You might find them usable for San Jose, though.

    For navigation on our second (pure vacation) trip, we simply rented a satnav with the car. At least then you have something with a decent road database. Don't follow it blindly (this applies anywhere of course!) roads do get closed in CR due to landslides and earthquakes. So if you're driving over what looks like a construction site and/or landslide, it probably is!
    And you're renting a decent SUV, aren't you? You'll need it once you get out of town.

  6. #5
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    Richard:

    thank you for the great info. I will be flying into San Jose. Any suggestions for a good car rental? I expect to get a 4wd and I am rather large, 6' 5" and 280 lbs.

    thanks,
    Art femenella

  7. #6
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    For the trips with students we arrange a minibus (van in US English), but for the vacation trip we rented from Toyota who have their own rental operation. The Hacienda we stayed at the first night arranged it, so the Toyota guy came by the first morning at breakfast time.

    The short walk between customs and the exit, has a number of car rental booths from many of the big US names. I've heard anecdotal stories of problems with tires on CR rental cars (we didn't have a problem) so it might be an idea to check the spare is good condition.

    As for car types, it seems that small Daihatsus and Toyota RAV4s are popular with tourists. With four adults we went for a larger Toyota. The locals? They use a lot of Toyotas (typically the more utilitarian models) and there are still quite a few Series3 Land Rovers (something I notice as I used to own one).


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