Field Data Collection
The Clemson Center For Geospatial Technologies offers specialized training and equipment to help you with all of your field data collection needs. We have tested our equipment, software, and field data collection methods in the field in order to offer you the best possible field data collection experience.
Applications for Field Data Collection
ArcGIS Collector is our number one app for collecting GIS data in the field. This is a free app available for download on your personal device and is to be used in conjunction with ArcGIS Online. Using this app, you can collect points, lines, and polygons as well as enter attribute data all while using your own device. With ArcGIS Collector, data can still be collected without an internet connection and stored locally on the device to be synced with ArcGIS Online at a later time.
Survey123 for ArcGIS is a simple, form-based data collection tool that can be used as an alternative to ArcGIS Collector. This app is free and will be familiar to anyone who has used Microsoft Xcel or similar applications. An ArcGIS Organizational account is required.
Workforce for ArcGIS enables a common view in the field and the office. The Workforce for ArcGIS app allows you to receive assignments in the field, sort your To Do list by priority, location, type, or due date, launch other ArcGIS apps to get your work done, share your status and location with others, add notes about your assignments, view supporting documents for your project, and find and contact others using the app.
Equipment Available to Rent at CCGT
Samsung Galaxy Tab A
Avg. Accuracy: 3.74m
Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
Avg. Accuracy: 2.23m
Samsung Galaxy Tab S2
Avg. Accuracy: 4.17m
Garmin GLO Bluetooth-Enabled GPS and GLONASS Receiver
Avg. Accuracy: 2.02m
The suitability of any device to collect data in the field comes down to two properties, accuracy and precision. A device that is accurate will be able to collect a data point that is very close to the real target point in geographic space. A device that is precise will be able to achieve this level of accuracy time and time again. In order to verify the ability of our devices to collect scientific data in the field, we at CCGT have tested our own devices to ensure that they are both accurate and precise.
In the field, there are many variables that can influence the accuracy of any gps-enabled device. To account for this, we used the average distance of multiple points from a known location to measure the accuracy of our devices. In order to do this, the tester must stand at an exact, known point and collect a data point with the tablet. The tester will then walk away from and back to the point, giving the device time to readjust its perceived location, and then collect another data point. Once all data points are collected, a measurement must be taken from each point on the map to the known location on the map. All of these measurements are recorded and then averaged to obtain the average accuracy. The standard deviation of all of these measurements may also be taken to determine the level of variation in accuracy that can be expected.
Training in Field Data Collection
Field Data Collection using GIS is one of our free, hands-on workshops that teaches all the basics of using ArcGIS Collector to collect data in the field, all while using your own personal device. This workshop will require you to be outside while collecting data so prepare accordingly.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is there a preferred device or platform to use for collecting data in the field?
We really recommend the Samsung Galaxy Tab A as it gives you a better accuracy in the field.
2. How is ArcGIS obtained/procured for a tablet?
There are several applications that you can load in your tablet for data collection. The most common is Collector for ArcGIS, but there is also Survey123 and Workforce that are heavily used for utilities applications. These apps can all be downloaded for free in the App Store or Google Play Store. Keep in mind that these applications are specific for data collection. To visualize data, there is an ArcGIS application that you can also download, but this is only for visualization purposes and will not be very useful for you on the field.
3. What are the recommended specifications to run ArcGIS on a mobile device?
If you want to run one of the data collection programs, such as Collector, please go to this page that it has the system requirements for Android, iOS and Windows (although it does not work very well in Windows tablets yet). The software is free and you can download it directly in the App Store, Google Play or Windows Store. However, you will also need an ArcGIS Online account that you can create by clicking here.