Using my iPhone to work out the gradient of our field

by Mars

We’ve started evaluating and researching ride-on mower options to help us maintain our field. Before the manufactures can recommend models to us though, they needed an idea of the gradient of our field.

My initial thought was to take our large spirit level to the field with a protractor to work the angle out. Then it dawned on me. Surely my iPhone can do this because it can detect when to switch from horizontal to vertical orientation. And you know what? It can.

There’s an app called Measure (it’s made by Apple) that uses augmented reality to turn your iPhone (or iPad) into a spirit level and tape measure. Crazy right?

I took a board to the field (so that I had a firm and straight base to place the phone on), started the app, selected ‘spirit level’ and placed the iPhone on the board.

Within seconds I knew that our gradient was 9 degrees. Amazing. I repeated this at different points to ensure we never exceeded 9 degrees. You have to love technology when it works this well.

gradient of our field

Mission accomplished. We now know the gradient of our field, which will help us narrow down which ride-on mower is suitable for us.

While we’re on this subject though, the measuring tape portion of the app works equally well.

Tale of the tape

So how accurate is it? We did a quick experiment. As a completely arbitrary test, I measured the height of our inglenook. The app measured the bottom of the beam to the floor at 148cm.

Screenshot from the Measure app.

The old school tape measure gave us an accurate height of a tad over 150cm. A 2cm difference is pretty good. So while it’s not going to provide you with a 100% accurate measurement it’ll give you a really decent ballpark.

It’s a great app to have on your iPhone (and it’s free) when you need to measure something when you’re out and about, or if you want to check if something is wonky or not.

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