Archives for category: iPad

This exercise will build on the scale bar drawing we did earlier.

Download the drawing below into the iPad Photos app (tap and hold and select Save Image).

Trench 29 drawing 2

In iDraw, you can duplicate a file with the plus button in the lower right. Duplicate the scale bar drawing and rename it 29.1. You should already have a layer named scale bar. Make a new one named scan. You can put it below the scale bar layer if you want, but make sure that it is the active layer. Use the rightmost tool on the bottom tools to import the 29.2 drawing. By default it will be horizontal and take up the whole screen width (we are ignoring scale at this point and focusing on drawing practice). Use the blue handles (scale) and orange handles (rotate) to turn it and take-up most of the page (mine has north going to the bottom left for no particular reason). Make a new layer named Trench. You will make your drawing in this layer.

If you had Snap to Grid turned on, now would be a good time to turn it off (from the Gear menu at the top).

Take a look at the drawing for a moment. There is a mixture of solid and dashed lines. Plus, while most of the lines are straight some are not. Because of the mixed line types this will have to be drawn in pieces and will not be one shape.

Start with the three dotted lines. Draw them with the line tool, just making three swipes. Don’t be timid. Draw with confidence. Don’t worry if the line isn’t accurate at first. You can fix the start and end points with the move tool afterwards (select the move tool, then click the line and move the start and end points). Change the line quality with the inspector (the italic i inside the circle at the top). I am using 2 pt lines which are about the same thickness as the lines in the pencil drawing.

Now for the solid lines. Two of those are easy. Use the pen tool to make a polyline. That is, tap once and it starts a line. Tap again and it goes to that point. Tap again and you are making a polyline. Do the two straight sets like that. This is easiest to do if you zoom in as far as you can. For the third line (upper right) use the pencil tool and drag your finger along the line. You might have to change the line quality (thickness) to match your dotted lines.

Editing the polylines is fairly straightforward but takes practice. You can select the line you wish to edit with the move tool. Then tap on the pen tool and all of your points that make up that polyline will be available. The tool bar that pops up on the lower left will let  you add, move, or delete points on the polyline. You can move either the point itself, or the direction handles that change the curve of the line.

iDraw pen tool for editing polylines

Make a new layer for your text and labels. Since we are building one drawing on top of another this will make it easier for you to move or delete for the next homework.

This is my finished drawing from last spring. The elevation triangles are a leftover drawing convention from another project, but I found the elevation symbol in the original pencil drawing difficult to move without being able to group (which iDraw couldn’t do last year). But now that we can group, I will probably redo that symbol.

29.2 drawing by Wallrodt

Next we start adding SUs.


We decided that the scaled drawings in iDraw would be the highest learning curve of any of elements that we were introducing in a single field season. Not many grad students are very proficient at vector drawing applications. They all know enough Photoshop to be dangerous and seem to think that vector drawing is very similar to bitmap photo editing. Perhaps that is why teaching them how to use Illustrator can be so challenging.

So I decided to write a series of homework exercises for the team to get familiar with various skills: vector drawing, drawing with a logical layer structure, drawing with fingers, and basic zooming and navigation on the iPads.

Homework #1 covers some of the basics. The object is simple: draw a scale bar. You would think that this would be an easy thing to do but while evaluating various drawing apps (I looked at TouchDraw, Freeform, Intaglio Sketchpad, Sketchbook, iPocket Draw, and iDesign) I found that this simple thing was much easier in iDraw than any of the others. And if drawing a scale bar was difficult, drawing anything complex was surely going to cause problems.

iDraw has a text tutorial and video tutorial on their website. You might want to look at those to see the basics of the software.

This tutorial was written for iDraw v. 1.0.9. 1

In iDraw, create a new document. I use the Grid canvas. Title the drawing Homework and open it.

Tap the gear on the upper right to customize the canvas. This tutorial will follow the 2010 PARP:PS drawing conventions, so we will stick with pixels as the unit. The default width and height of the canvas is 768×960 pixels, but you can increase that if necessary. It would be best if you could start this process with a canvas that is the proper size for the trench including possible expansions. Elect to show the grid and under Grid Settings, set the spacing to 10 px. For the scale bar you want Snap to Grid selected. This setting can be handy sometimes but can also get in the way, so learning how to turn it on and off quickly will help.

Canvas Settings

Tap the square at the bottom of the screen. You will see an option to set the corner radius. Set that to 0.0.

Start drawing your first rectangle. As you draw you will see the x and y dimensions of the rectangle on the upper right of your finger. I set mine to 50x10px.

Scale bar rectangle

Tap on the arrow tool and select the rectangle. The blue and orange handles mean that it is selected. Use the line and fill icons on the lower right to make the line and fill both black.

With the rectangle still selected, tap the Edit button at the top of the screen (or tap and hold the rectangle for a moment) and select Copy. Then tap next to the first rectangle and select Paste. Paste 4 more rectangles. Position them next to the first rectangle.

Change the fills in the second and fourth rectangle to white.

Tap the text tool. You will see some dummy text. Replace that with a zero. My text is Helvetica Neue 16 pt. You can change those settings in the i menu at the top. Resize the box to make it smaller.

Moving the text box can be tricky. If you can see the blue and orange handles and try to move the object you will more often than not either resize or rotate the object. But if you tap somewhere else to deselect the text box so that the handles are gone you can move without any trouble. Copy and paste the text box 0 four times and replace with other 0’s with 1-5. Position those underneath the divisions to complete the scale bar.

Tap on the selection tool and drag your finger around the entire scale bar. All of the objects will become selected. From the Arrange/Modify icon, select Group. Now the objects will always move as one and you can move them to another part of your page.

Grouping objects

Click on the Layers button at the upper right and Edit the name of your current layer to Scale Bar. Save the document by closing it, and you can export it if you want.

Naming a layer

Congratulations, you have drawn a scale bar. And since we will be duplicating this document for the next homework, you won’t have to draw another one.

Here is mine exported as a vector pdf:


This can be opened in Illustrator. The grouping of the scalebar is not preserved but the background grid lines are grouped in the exported pdf and can easily be moved to their own layer.

1. There was a change in the way iDraw uses their background grids between the summer of 2010 and the current version. They changed the way major grid lines are drawn. It used to be every five lines. Now it is every six. This will probably be user-configurable in the future, but you can download an old drawing of mine and copy it over to your iPad. These instructions are Mac only.

iDraw documents are packages. That is, it is really a folder, but your computer thinks it is a document. The problem is that when you copy native iDraw documents to the Mac, the Mac doesn’t see it as a package, but as a folder. And it will copy the document over to the iPad as a folder, and iDraw won’t recognize it as a document. The trick is to make the Mac think it is a package, then copy it over, and then rename it in iTunes. So the file that I made has a .pkg extension, making it look like an installer package. Download the file here, which will start as a .zip file. Once decompressed it will be called Grid.pkg (and the Installer might try to install it but return an error which can be dismissed). Using the file sharing feature of iTunes, copy the .pkg file to iDraw. While still in iTunes, rename the file Grid.idraw. Close and re-open iDraw and you will see the new file. Duplicate that document to have the five line grid system.

Before 2010 at PARP:PS we drew 1:20 scaled drawings by hand on A3 size mylar paper.

The outlines of the trench are not standard grid squares. That is impossible with the amount of standing architecture and our desire to get to the foundation of the existing walls in order to date their construction. Our trench outlines are defined by the rooms in which we are excavating. So we measure by baselines, usually a line (or two) down the center of the trench.

The first drawing of the series records the baselines and succeeding mylar pages are laid on top of this baseline drawing; the baselines are traced and the features are drawn in.

At the closing of a trench we are left with, say, 30-40 drawings of each trench that have very little relationship with each other except for the baseline. Other large architectural features were not traced into each drawing and so one had to put all of these mylar drawings together to be of much use. And that was the plan: to assemble these mylar sheets in Illustrator and make a final clean drawing of the trench for research and publication. But that was rarely completed and even then, the Illustrator drawing would have to be added to the CAD plan at some point and georeferenced. So even if this worked at peak efficiency, it would require many hours of post-field work to get a clean set of CAD plans for the project.

The 2010 drawings were made much simpler by the use of iDraw on the iPads to make our drawings. There were some issues with the early versions of iDraw. You could not zoom more than 400%, there was a fixed paper size, there was no grouping, and the unit of measure was in pixels. You couldn’t even rename the layers. But we found ways to work around most of the issues and software updates (even while in the field) fixed several of the bugs that we encountered.

The advantages were that we could duplicate one drawing, delete what we didn’t need, and add what we did. Major architectural elements that remained visible for days at a time were kept in from day to day and when the stones were removed from the trench they were removed from the drawing.

The 2010 drawing workflow was also integrated with the ongoing CAD work. We have a survey supervisor (Syd Evans) who operates the total station and an project architect (Helen Turner). The architect and the surveyor worked together to place the baselines for each trench and to shoot and draw the initial location of the walls that would form the extremes of the trench. The resulting CAD drawing would then be exported as an image file by trench, placed in iDraw and traced. All other features were measured and drawn in iDraw by the excavation team as they would draw their normal plans. Reference points, including any substantial architectural elements would be measured by the surveyor, and both the total station points and exports from iDraw would be given to the architect to make the final clean drawing. The architect is the one who would spot any discrepancies and report those back to the team.

This dynamic interaction between the surveyor, architect, and field team was never possible in the old system. If the team only ever draws in the field and one has to try to fix any errors after the season, mistakes cannot be corrected easily.

Harris matrices are notoriously difficult to handle electronically. Several projects that I have seen have something similar to this graph on their excavation forms:

Relationship area of PARP:PS SU form

Recording the associations of SUs looks clear enough with this example but it is usually a disaster in practice, unless one is extremely particular about reviewing old forms. If an SU sheet is filled out for 13040 (trench 13, su 40) one day, then SU 13050 is opened up two days later and found to be the same strata, it is easy, while filling out the form for 50, to say that it is the same as 40 (filling in the center boxes with 13050=13040) but how often will they go back to the 40 form and enter that 13040=13050? I find that this is missed very often on the forms and that gets transferred to the database. This, in turn, ends up being one of the real difficulties in researching the material. The seemingly complete form masks the inaccurate data behind it.

I have tried to make the database fix this problem. In one database recently, I had the database take the relationship mentioned above and make an equation (13040=13050) and look for an inverse statement. If that inverse statement is not found, then I have the database add the inverse statement (13050=13040) automatically. This also works for later and earlier SUs. If the form for 40 says that it is later than 41, the database breaks it down as (13040 > 13041). It that is so it has to create a record that says (13041 < 13040). But since 40=50, then I also have to make records that say (13050 > 13041) and (13041 < 13050). Needless to say, this is a lot of development and it isn’t quite rock solid. It is difficult to work around typos, edits, and record deletion. I will post an example of that at some point.

At PARP:PS, we also had the trench supervisors supply us with a trench-wide matrix at the end of the season. This would be supplied in a number of ways: from colored pencil on grid paper, to photoshop files. Notes on matrix information were kept in trench supervisor’s paper notebooks and the trench wide matrix was only usually done at the end of the season. If a specialist (mostly ceramic) needed the matrix information during the season, the trench supervisor would cobble together their notes and make a hand-sketched matrix of just the specific SUs under consideration.

In 2009, we tried to standardize on using Omnigraffle for electronic matrices. Omnigraffle is rather expensive (59.95 USD for standard academic version, 119.95 USD for the Professional academic version), and we needed a license for each machine. Plus it is Mac only and the personal computers on our project were 50% Windows.

In 2010 we introduced the iPads to the trenches. And we added Omnigraffle for iPad to the software used. The cost suddenly got better. Although Omnigraffle for iPad is 49.99 USD, according the app store licensing structure we can put it on five iPads at a time. We then only need one desktop license to clean up and edit the matrices at the end of the season.

When the trench supervisor created a new SU, they simply switched to Omnigraffle and made the rectangle for the new SU. They could associate, and edit associations whenever they wanted to. Since the iPads are backed up twice every day, the matrices could be looked at by the director, and the latest versions could be delivered to the specialists at any time.

Making matrices on the iPad was one of the easiest things for the teams to pick up and we trained them in the field using a short tutorial designed to have them draw a matrix from Dr. Harris’ own book on the subject. That tutorial is attached here in both pdf and doc format, if you should choose to edit for your own training needs.

Omnigraffle Tutorial.pdf

Omnigraffle Tutorial.doc