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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 Field Maps is a map-centric 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 Field Maps, 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.

ArcGIS Survey123 is a simple, form-based data collection tool. This app is free and will be familiar to anyone who has used Microsoft Excel, Google Forms, or similar applications. Surveys can be shared outside Clemson so this could be the best option for public data collection. Supports offline data collection. An ArcGIS Organizational account is required.

ArcGIS QuickCapture is a fast, efficient, and button-centric data collection tool and is best suited for data collectors not familiar with GIS. No need to learn GIS to be a user of the app. Supports offline data collection.

Equipment Available to Rent at CCGT
iPad Mini 4
Ave. accuracy: 3.88 m
Daily rental rate: $20 
Samsung Galaxy Tab A
Avg. Accuracy: 3.74m
Daily rental rate: free
​Samsung Galaxy Tab 4
Avg. Accuracy: 2.23m
Daily rental rate: free
GNSS Receivers (Bluetooth)
Arrow Gold
Survey-Grade RTK Accuracy (1cm)
Daily rental rate: $75
Arrow 100
Submeter GNSS Accuracy

Daily rental rate: $50
​Garmin GLO
Avg. Accuracy: 2.02m
Device Accuracy

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 
Use your iOS or android devices to collect data from the field and learn how to upload that data.
More info...

Field Data Collection using GIS is one of our free, hands-on workshops that teaches all the basics of using ArcGIS Field Maps, Survey123, and QuickCapture to collect data in the field, all while using your own personal device.

This workshop will require you to bring your own mobile device and install free field data collection apps. 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a preferred device or platform to use for collecting data in the field?
We recommend iPad Mini 4 as it supports the three Field Data Collection applications above. Please note that Samsung tablets support only Survey123 and QuickCapture. For real-time submeter accuracy in the field, we highly recommend using Arrow 100 Submeter GNSS Receiver together with any tablets. Need survey-grade, cm accuracy? Use Arrow Gold RTK GNSSS Receiver. Please contact us for a consultation.

2. How is ArcGIS obtained/procured for a tablet?

There are several applications that you can load on your tablet for data collection, such as Field Maps, Survey123, and QuickCapture. These apps can all be downloaded for free in the App Store or Google Play Store. Keep in mind that ArcGIS Online, a cloud-based mapping platform, is the foundation of all these field data collection apps. To use these apps, you need to create Clemson University's ArcGIS Online account. For more information on ArcGIS Online, please visit here.


3. What are the recommended specifications to run ArcGIS on a mobile device?

Please refer to the following links for the system requirements of these apps:

   Field Maps   Survey123  QuickCapture 

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