Mobile GIS Field Data Collection Prospects

In my search for a Tablet PC that can run ArcPad and connect a bar code scanner, I have come up with two possibilities that I am hoping to test.

1. Dell Samsung (~$1000)

This little job offers a 7" display screen running Tablet XP OS, only 1.5 lbs and a little more display real estate than a PDA, makes this a good candidate for the City of Sacramento's water meter mapping. We should be able to connect a bar code scanner to collect the necessary water meter information.

2. HP C5 Mobile Computer (~$2800)

I am even more impressed with this little gizmo. 10.4" screen with a built in bar code scanner, 3 lbs. Runs Tablet PC and will run ArcPad.

I hope to test both products and report back. I am also hoping that our utilities dept. settles on one of these items.



TopCon (GMS-2) v. Trimble (GeoXT) for GIS Data Collection

Here is a rough assessment of the two GPS units. I recently conducted a field trial on the GMS-2. Most of my experience is with a GeoXT. Both of these work pretty much the same with the same kinds of data collection issues. If the GPS receiver is obstructed, the accuracy goes down, even with post processing). In Sacramento ("The City of Trees") we have this problem and with tall buildings or near the sides of buildings (i.e. water meters, tree inventory, sign inventory).



-Accept Glonass (Russian) Satellites (i.e. more satellite coverage than other GPS units)
-Built in Digital Camera (very cool!)
-Pictures are automatically downloaded and hotlink field is automatically maintained
-Can add Flash memory
-WAAS correction
-Post processing or real-time correction with additional modules/software

FAST (Form Building software)

-Easy to create
-Easy to import to GPS unit
-Can add a component for Digital Camera and/or GPS if desired
-GIS add-on will allow for export to shapefile and can see GPS data on ArcPad


-Form and ArcPad do not integrate
-Can only see current point within ArcPad interface
-Must convert .DBF file to Access Table, then import into the FAST Form to update existing records
-GIS workflow is not as streamlined as GeoXT (more steps and must build a process to manage and maintain a unique ID)

Accuracy (submeter - 2-3 meters, depending on satellite coverage and post processing capability)


(~$5000-6000, includes all hardware/software - GMS-2, FAST with GIS capability, post processing software)

Trimble GeoXT


-Straight forward GIS workflow (must use Trimble GPS Analyst and GPS Correct)
-Completely integrated with ArcPad
-WAAS Correction
-Post processing with GPS Analyst or add-on real-time correction beacon and software

Form Builder software

-Build forms through ArcPad or ArcPad Builder

NOTE: You can use TerraSync (field data collection) and Pathfinder Office (post processing and form building), but this will not work very effectively for use in an ArcGIS environment, thus I don't mention it.


-Digital Camera separately attached
-Photo management on back end or through additional software
-No Glonass satellite reception

Accuracy (submeter - 2-3 meters, depending on satellite coverage and post processing capability)


(~$4000-5500, includes all hardware/software - GeoXT, GPS Analyst/GPS Correct, ArcPad)

Field Data Collection and Bar Code Scanners

I am working on a solution for collecting field data on water meters using a Tablet PC with ArcPad and a connected bar code scanner. If anyone has any experience in integrating a Tablet PC (not a GPS or PDA), a bar coder, and ArcPad, I would like to hear about it. I am trying to get a bar code scanner that will be able to direct connect to the Tablet PC through a serial port so I can directly record the bar code in an ArcPad text field.



Back from the Sea

I have had a serious hiatus from my blog, but I am back. I hope to continue to add comments and posts as time permits. I have a full fledged website www.jenningsplanet.com. Check it out! You will find a full description of what I do professionally as well as a whole host of GIS, Remote Sensing, GPS, Programming, Free Spatial Data, and Internet Mapping resources.