[HOT] Feedback about smartphones use for OSM field surveys

Charles Conley cconley at immap.org
Mon Jun 11 18:52:22 BST 2012

Hello All,
I wanted to ask a couple of questions and perhaps contribute a little to
the discussion on external GPS use.

The first item I wanted to ask about is the notion of accuracy. I'm not
clear if the positional accuracy of an external bluetooth GPS is any
greater than the accuracy of a smartphone GPS. The research I found on the
net seemed to be focused more on comparing traditional handheld GPS units
to smartphones. I'm not sure if these comparisons are valid given that most
of the external bluetooth units have more in common with GPS data loggers
than they do with handhelds. Has anyone here done any testing to determine
if there is a difference in accuracy between the data logger type of GPS
and smartphone GPS?

Robert could you please add a bit more detail on the scenario that the BT
units were used? Specifically I'm interested in understanding if they were
used while walking or from a car or an aircraft. Was the intent to allow
for data editing on the fly or just using the smartphone for visualization
and data logging?

I'm asking because we have used several external GPS units similar to the
one that was mentioned. The units we used were the Qstarz BT-Q1000eX. We
did not use the BT feature of these units but rather used them as highspeed
data loggers to collect the path of high-voltage power lines from a
helicopter. We chose these particular units because they would allow us to
collect up to 10 points a second. Another interesting unit is the GiSTEQ
DL500. The DL500 doesn't have bluetooth but it does allow for logging up to
5 points a second and more interestingly is also has a 3 axis accelerometer
that would allow for determining a measure of road roughness.

Best wishes


> Message: 2
> Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2012 23:48:40 +0000
> From: "Banick, Robert" <Robert.Banick at redcross.org>
> To: "hot at openstreetmap.org" <hot at openstreetmap.org>
> Subject: Re: [HOT] Feedbacks about smartphones use for OSM field
>        surveys
> Message-ID: <CBFAA879.6FB6%robert.banick at redcross.org>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset="iso-8859-1"
> Hi everyone,
> I'm happy to see this discussion taking place, as I've been personally
> researching and debating this question myself for a little while now. It's
> my gut feeling that as software for data collection improves smartphones
> will increasingly play a complementary role to traditional GPS devices in
> humanitarian fieldwork.
> One contribution I might make: At the suggestion of the kind people over
> at Catholic Relief Services, we're exploring linking smartphones to high
> accuracy external GPS. The best model we've encountered so far is the Dual
> XGPS 150<http://xgps150.dualav.com/>. We had success with some
> preliminary trials in Lima last fall. When the units connected with the
> smartphones we received very precise coordinates, but we encountered
> hiccups maintaing the Bluetooth connection with the cheapo Androids (the
> model name/number escapes me) we were using.
> Any thoughts, suggestions, or experiences others might have would be most
> appreciated.
> Best,
> Robert
> Robert Banick | GIS Coordinator | International Services | American Red
> Cross


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