Saturday, August 09, 2014

Data Analysis App

A while back, I asked if anyone had a suggestion for the best physics apps that are available for mobile devices. I've been mostly using my iPad when I am away from home, ditching my travel laptop. It has worked rather well for me. The only thing that I miss is that I don't have my usual data analysis/graphing software that I often use. I use Origin on my laptop/desktop to analyze, plot, and produce publication-quality graphs. I don't intend to do such extensive work on my iPad, but I do need a quick and dirty way to enter or import data, plot it, and do some rudimentary analysis on it. At the very least, it must be able to do some simple data-fitting and produce a decent-enough graph that I can e-mail to my collaborators.

After looking around for a bit, and after trying this one out for the past month, I think I found a very nice app that does just the thing that I was looking for. The app is called "DataAnalysis". You can find it in the Apple App Store, and I don't know if it has a version on Android. I don't work for the company and get nothing for recommending this app (darn it!), so this is an unsolicited recommendation.

The app is easy enough to use, even though it has links to a couple of YouTube tutorials if you need them. You can either import ASCII text data, or create your own data in an empty data sheet. The data are in a simple, two-column format, space separated (don't you commas or it'll complain!). Once you have your data, you can easily plot it.

You then have the option of doing some simple data analysis. It has a number of already built-in mathematical expression that you can fit your data to. For an undergraduate student in science and engineering, this feature should be sufficient for most cases.

It has a limited number of customization for your graphs. I don't expect to produce a publication-quality graph using this app. But it is good enough for me to send a graph to my collaborators. Having the ability to save and/or send graphics/pdf of the data easily is an important feature that I require, and this app does that.

The one major drawback that I see with this app is the inability (at least, I couldn't find how to do it yet, if the capability exists) to plot more than just one set of data on the same graph. Right now, all I can do is give a set of x and y values. I can't do a set of x, and then a set of y1, y2, etc.. values. It will be a nice feature to have to be able to plot more than just one set of data in a single graph. It can't be that difficult of a feature to add.

Otherwise, this is a very useful app on the go and it does what I need it to do.


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