[HOT] Feedback about smartphones use for OSM field surveys

Banick, Robert Robert.Banick at redcross.org
Tue Jun 12 14:57:54 BST 2012

Hi Chuck,

We used the Dual units while walking around a neighborhood of Lima. It was in the southern hemisphere, obviously, but there were few tall buildings to distort the signal. As a preliminary test we were mostly interested in using the smartphones for visualization and data logging, though on the fly editing is certainly a nice to have. Our primary motive is actually to combine our evaluation (non-geographic data collection) and GIS surveying activities in one package using smartphones. A number of apps exist at present to enable this, but we're concerned that the base accuracy for most smartphone GPS units makes them rather unreliable - hence the external units.

We were getting 3-6 meters of accuracy with the Dual units in Lima, readings that were confirmed by the accuracy of the data when later uploaded.

I'd be interested in your thoughts on the other external units. We went with the Dual units because they're purpose built to interact with smartphones (iPhones, unfortunately), but I'd be interested if the data loggers you mention could do a better job.


Robert Banick | GIS Coordinator | International Services | Ì American Red Cross<http://www.redcross.org/>
2025 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Tel 202-303-5017 | Cell 404-964-3451 | Fax 202-303-052 | Skype robert.banick

From: Charles Conley [mailto:cconley at immap.org]
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 1:52 PM
To: hot at openstreetmap.org
Subject: [HOT] Feedback about smartphones use for OSM field surveys

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<mailto:Robert.Banick at redcross.org>>
To: "hot at openstreetmap.org<mailto:hot at openstreetmap.org>" <hot at openstreetmap.org<mailto:hot at openstreetmap.org>>
Subject: Re: [HOT] Feedbacks about smartphones use for OSM field
Message-ID: <CBFAA879.6FB6%robert.banick at redcross.org<mailto:CBFAA879.6FB6%25robert.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.


Robert Banick | GIS Coordinator | International Services | American Red Cross


Charles Conley

Chief Information Officer

1400 16th Street, NW
Suite 210
Washington, DC 20036

Tel: +1 202-729-6795<tel:%2B1%20202-729-6795>
Skype: minemapper
Web: www.immap.org<http://www.immap.org/>

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.openstreetmap.org/pipermail/hot/attachments/20120612/b5190aed/attachment.html>

More information about the HOT mailing list