We asked some STMA members what apps they use, on or off the field, and why they like them. We will continue to pursue and share info on apps most useful to turf managers’ lives at work or elsewhere.
“I do not have any apps on my cell phone only because I do not own a cell phone. Many folks that I have met along my adventure consider me very lucky. I like managing things the old fashion way—phone calls and face-to-face meetings are much more rewarding. There are some apps that I do favor over others: wings and poppers!-Bernard Luongo, president of STMA’s New Jersey chapter.
“In terms of using apps for work, I mostly use The Weather Channel’s. It is pretty accurate when it comes to the radar,” says Rick Perruzzi, CSFM, CPRP, CPSI, recreation manager of outdoor athletic facilities, South Portland (ME) Department of Parks, Recreation and Waterfront. “Weather plays a major factor in all turf managers’ lives. This is especially true for us, having fields spread out all over the city; it could be raining in one area, but ideal conditions on the other side of town. The hourly and future radar give us the ability to mobilize where we can be the most efficient each and every day. This also holds true for when we are scheduling our weeks out with the long range models,” says Shane Holbein, CSFM, sports turf manager for Precision Turf, LLC.
“We have a weather station mounted in Kenan Stadium, so this app gives us real-time info such as temperature, wind speed, humidity, rainfall, etc. It even has two live cameras we can log in and take look at,” says Casey Carrick, director of athletic grounds and turf management, University of North Carolina.
“I use this for any percentages along with overnight outlooks for the area,” says Andrew Marking, head groundskeeper for Quad Cities River Bandits.
“I use only 2 apps, Twitter and WeatherBug; the latter is pretty self-explanatory with Mother Nature having a huge impact on what we do, we must stay current with weather and any changes that might happen, says Troy Crawford, FC Dallas director of grounds.
“This is one of my favorite apps for weather. It is $9.99 but provides pretty great information on the radar and great alerts,” says Chrissie Segars, PhD, assistant professor of plant and soil science, University of Tennessee at Martin. “Best app in the business for tracking storms. This is my go-to app when in a weather situation and talking with umpires and team managers. The raw data it provides and how up to date it is, I have been able to get it down to the minute a few times with getting the tarp on the field; it has helped us save several games over the past 2 years,” Marking says.
WDT Weather Radio. “This is my weather radar when I am on the go. Also with WDT we have a service contract to allow for event management, sports medicine, directors of ops, etc., to have online access for weather without get lightning and other weather alerts,” says Jeff Salmond, CSFM, director of athletic field management, University of Oklahoma.
“Of course, for networking and following other managers and researchers!” Dr. Segars says.
“Twitter I use to promote/advertise the crew’s hard work and accomplishments. Twitter is also used to communicate if we are closed, open or delayed. I personally use Twitter to follow other grounds personnel to see what they are doing. There are always tons of new and innovative ideas being tweeted daily. I have also used it to read articles and listen to different STMA classes,” says Crawford.
Holbein says, “Twitter is a great tool for turf managers, because it keeps you connected throughout the industry. This app gives you the ability to follow others around the world to share ideas and showcase accomplishments and struggles throughout the year to get better each and everyday. Our industry is very unique in that everyone is willing to reach out and help one another to make the industry grow as a whole. Twitter gives you a great platform to do this in a very quick and easy way.”
“Twitter (and Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat) allow me to contact with other [turf managers] across the country, many of whom I have met and many whom I have yet to meet. This is a great way to be able to see how others are doing cultural practices. There has many things I have seen on social media and then began to implement them here in the Quad Cities,” says Marking.
“Waze is a great app especially since a lot of universities have begun linking their parking lots for sporting events, Dr. Segars says.
“Living in Atlanta and having athletic fields spread out across the city, I would be lost without this app (literally and figuratively). From the directions to the warnings of red light cameras and cops, to telling me if there is a deer carcass in the road ahead, this app helps me get where I’m going daily safely and efficiently,” says Holbein.
Salmond says, “The Canopeo app was developed at Oklahoma State by their plant and soil sciences department and the OSU App Center. I use it to help estimate grass density/coverage in wear areas, and potential wear areas, to make help make maintenance and fertility adjustments in high traffic areas.”
According to the OSU website, potential applications include: quantifying canopy cover of small grains and row crops; measuring crop damage by freeze, hail, or herbicide; evaluating turf grass stands. Canopeo enables you to add notes associated with each image and upload images to your account so that you can easily review and share the information gathered in the field from your office or at home at anytime. Canopeo automatically records the geographic coordinates and the current date and time so that you always know when and where each image was taken. Also, any existing images in your photo roll can be accessed through Canopeo to calculate the percent canopy cover.
“I have found Trello quite handy. So far, it is most useful for managing lists of tasks. Staff who are spread across the Township can move assignments from “To Do” to “In Progress” to “Complete” which has streamlined both the speed and efficacy of our communication. It is much more agile and user friendly than many of the work order-style software offerings,” reports Rebecca Auchter, formerly with Cranberry Twp (PA) Parks.
“I will say that the STMA Conference app is great when attending the National conference. I find it very useful to have during that week,” says Perruzzi.
“PictureThis is a great app for identifying plants, especially trees and ornamentals. It is like shazam for plants!” Dr. Segars says.
Carrick says, “Teamworks is an app that all of our teams use to communicate to the student-athletes. I have access to the teams we support and can see practice times for each day. If a time changes, it updates and lets us know in real-time.”
“This scheduling system that OU Athletics teams use will send updates when changes are made in the system. This is helpful in knowing every outdoor team schedule and when we need to modify field maintenance that was scheduled to occur to another time,” says Salmond.
“I don’t use a lot of apps, as I have more of the ‘old dog’ mentality and prefer pen to paper. However in today’s world it doesn’t beat having a calculator in your pocket. Mrs. Smith was right; I would need math as I got older. And you can’t beat asking Google, or watching a how-to video on YouTube,” says Jeremy Driscoll, grounds supervisor, St. Mark’s HS, Wilmington, DE.
Rachio. “We use this for our irrigation system in Kenan Stadium. It’s a simple homeowner system, but it works great for our needs. I can control the irrigation from my phone and it tracks water use amounts for each month,” says Carrick.
“We use the Musco Lighting app to control the lights at all of our facilities. We can set schedules or turn lights on/off from anywhere. We let the coaches use this app as well when they need control of the lights,” Carrick adds.
“Hydrawise” is Hunter Irrigation’s new system. I am able to control the field irrigation from the controller, my desktop computer or from my smartphone. It has been an amazing tool that I have grown to love. I can make sure that the irrigation is turned off one final time as I am walking into my front door or be able to run a syringe cycle from the comfort of my living room couch. It also allows me to track how much water I have used throughout a week and see when I have watered in the past,” says Marking.
Marking adds, “I use Fitbit; I love seeing how much (or how little) sleep I get throughout the baseball season. I also really enjoy doing the step challenges with some of the front office workers and my blowing them out of the water.”