Mobile GIS Tablet PC

(Using the Motion F5 w/ built in bar code scanner, ArcPad, Water Meter Asset Collection. A slight red tinge on the bar code represents the bar code scanner in action.)

I have been testing a tablet pc from Motion Computing, F5 model,the last couple of days for some asset management we are doing for the City of Sacramento. So far, I love this thing. I have ArcPad loaded with a GIS layer that we are going to maintain through tapping the screen to log the location, then click the integrated bar code scanner button to log 2 different bar code values into two separate data fields. Works like a charm! Most of the common bar code format types are supported. Also built in to this little 3lb machine is an RFID reader and digital camera. Uses pen and Tablet PC technology. Pictures to come shortly.

We started looking at high-end GPS (see Topcon v. Trimble below). This is not going to work because of all of the overhead obstructions, plus we can get closer 99% of the time with just tapping the ArcPad screen. Although we have an option to use GIS Server, we don't have the proper licensing to build an editable GIS web app and serve up our GIS data and do data entry real-time. hand held PDAs were too small (visual real-estate).

Our other working alternative will be to use a tablet pc and a separate wireless bar code scanner (two gizmos rather than one).

1. Motion F5 using ArcPad
2. ArcPad shown with Water Meter number filled in from using built-in bar code scanner
3. Second image showing Motion F5 and ArcPad
4. Motion F5 docking station


Semi-rugged (not for dropping!)
Intel Centrino, 1.2 Ghz, 2 Gb RAM
35 Gb of hard disk space
Windows Tablet XP, SP 2
ArcPad 7.0 or later (not included, separate purchase)

Retail ($2600-$5200, depending on configuration)

Optional docking station (probably will need), includes 3 USB ports, Network port, Serial port for external monitor
Optional keyboard (probably will need if you also want a desktop system
Optional battery


Light weight
Can change screen orientations (landscape, portrait right handed, portrait left handed)
most of the tabular/text data entry is done through hand writing using the pen. For the most part accurate and easy to change mis written words.


Bar Code Scanner
Digital Camera
Finger print reader
Blue Tooth


A little difficult to use in bright sunny areas (can change the screen brightness)

I used this outside with air photos in the background which made it difficult to plot my points. If I turned the photos off, I could plot my points with other reference information (parcel boundaries, street centerlines, ROW lines, address points).

No external USB ports, but it does have BlueTooth. The only external port is a power port.

1 comment:

GPS Navigation said...

Nice technology.Well written informative post.
GPS Navigation