VentusAR Field Kit for iPad

The backseat of the car, wind, rain, hail, even trouser pockets. It’s a tough world out there for the hardware that runs VentusAR. We take the same kit out into the field as we supply for our customers, so we’ve a fair bit of experience of what works well, and what is less effective. In this post I will detail the contents of the iPad field kit. An equivalent field kit is available for the nexus 10 devices, to be covered in a separate post.

We can supply a field kit containing all the components you need to make using VentusAR in the field easy. Some of this is about protection (X-Lock bumper, ruggedised case), some about stability (tripod and mounts) and some about ease of operation (stylus and compass). It is all optional, but this is what we use and recommend. If you already have a solid tripod, then we can just provide the bits that you don’t already have.

Ruggedized case

P1030802We learnt this lesson the hard way. The image above shows the aftermath of a device that was left on the roof of a car, unprotected, as we drove off (we think it went underneath a lorry). It still turns on, but is no longer any use for VentusAR work! If we’d had the device tucked safely inside the ruggedised case it would have been in a better shape today.

P1030796 P1030786 P1030789

The ruggedised case we use is made by Peli, it is “watertight, dustproof, crush proof, corrosion proof and buoyant”. There are plenty of examples of Peli case users showing off how tough their cases are on youtube.

X-Lock Bumper Case for iPad

X-Lock case for iPad
X-Lock case for iPad

The first level of protection around the iPad is a close fitting, hard X-Lock bumper case. This has two primary functions: protecting the device and allowing the case to be mounted on a tripod. We use the Studio Proper X-Lock case as it is a good quality, well-fitted design that allows access to charging ports and buttons and is by far the neatest way to mount an iPad on a tripod we have seen.


Velbon Sherpa
Velbon Sherpa  tripod

While VentusAR can be used handheld, the solid base a tripod provides give stability when the iPad is being operated by cold or shaky hands. We use a light-weight aluminium tripod from Velbon. This primary reason for using this is that the legs can be opened wide for maximum stability. This one has a single control head to allow easy adjustment of pan and tilt.

Any tripod is a compromise between weight, stability and price. It is possible to spend over £500 on a super light-weight carbon fibre tripod. Our Viber is not as expensive as a carbon fibre one, but still doesn’t affect the reading from a compass.

Tripod Mounting

X Lock case mountings
X-Lock case mountings

These small but essential components connect the X-Lock case to the tripod. They connect one end to the standard1/4-20 tripod screw and the other to the mount on the back of the iPad case. These provide a firm secure mounting to attach the iPad to the tripod.


Adonit Jot Pro Accurate tripod
Adonit Jot Pro Fine point stylus

To make the trace feature in the gallery (described previously) easier to use, we provide an fine pointed stylus. This allow much more accurate point input to the touchscreen. The best description is taken from the adonit website:

“The sound dampening tip simulates natural pen and paper contact for a smoother and quieter stroke. The rubber grip provides comfort while the sleek brushed aluminum and steel shines in all four colors”

Sighting Compass

Sighting Compass
Sighting Compass

The digital compass built into an iPad is susceptible to local magnetic interference. Our tests have shown that an analogue compass can provide a much more reliable heading when required. The marine sighting compass we supply can be used with the VentusAR configuration panel to enter an accurate override value.

Field Kit in Use

Put the whole package together and you get our field kit. We charge £350 for everything and have had no problem working with VentusAR in rain, hail and wind.