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Best GPS receivers?

09-18-2020 05:21 AM
Occasional Contributor III

We're looking to purchase several GPS receivers and poles for better accuracy. I was wondering which ones would be the best bang for your buck and last for 3-4 years? Looking for something that can be used with Collector and there other apps. Thanks 

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7 Replies
MVP Regular Contributor

I have been looking at this myself.

I am still trying to get the real costs and specs, but the Trimble Catalyst seems a possible solution, for my needs anyway. It is certainly very affordable, but this depends on your collection needs.

It is basically an antenna ($350) that you connect to your smart phone / tablet.

You acquire a subscription to the "Catalyst service" which has a stepped cost depending on level of precision needed, from $40 to $350 per user per month. This subscription can be annual or "on demand". Still figuring this bit out, and an accuracy assessment for different collection environments, like amount of canopy cover, and building shadow.

I am interested in what your final selection is.

- Jim

New Contributor III

Trimble seems to be THE innovator in anti-consumer pricing models and trying to force you in to a relationship with their product. 

I remember when they had a great receiver, running on Windows CE, with a horrible screen (that was expensive to replace) and proprietary batteries 

If I understand that product you mentioned... using the same hardware you can get better accuracy, if you pay for it. 

Sounds like a fun hacking project. 

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Occasional Contributor III

I've been using the EOS Arrow100 gnss receiver and I'm happy with the results. Good submeter accuracy which is enough for us (no subscription costs). Else I would have bought the Arrow 200 or Gold.

You might check them out, works like a charm on Collector on iOS and Android.

Be sure to look at the ESRI whitelist:


MVP Regular Contributor

Thank you for your response, Bert.

Do you know the unit performs under moderate canopy and close proximity to structures?

Jim Cousins

GIS Project Scientist

S.S. Papadopulos & Associates, Inc.<>

1801 Rockville Pike, Suite 220, Rockville, MD 20852

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Occasional Contributor III

It worked under rainy conditions under oak and beech canopy (worst test conditions I could find :-)) and my results are within a meter, although I sometimes had to wait a little for the unit to aquire the sbas signal. In optimal conditions we get typically less than 50 cm.

I have no experience near tall structures/buildings, we are a forestry, but I suspect the reception of any gnss antenna without correction signal will be worse when the line of sight to the satellite providing the sbas is broken. You might need a system with a separate correction signal subscription.

I had three units for testing: Stonex 500, failed for us because it isn't whitelisted for (nor working with) iOS which my company requires, a Trimble R1 and the arrow 100 and I found the Arrow 100 better than the Trimble with quite a margin, tested them alongside in the same wet conditions.

These are all apparatus which need to be linked to a mobile device. For us that's a plus because my collegues already are familiar with using collector so after coupling the device they work as usual, only more precise.

Where Stonex 500 and Trimble R1 are 'boxes' (one unit)  the arrow series comes with a separate/external cabled antenna, slightly less comforable, the external antenna is mandatory.

The antenna sits in a pocket on top of a baseball cap so the highest point and you keep your hands free, the unit itself sits in a pouch on your belt. There seems to be a pole-on-a-vest solution so you can get more height, the cap is good enough for me.

I was able to test the unit(s) before I made the decision which one to buy, you may be able to do the same.



New Contributor III

We tried a number of units and just selected the Emlid Reach RS2.  Great price, and we are getting 1cm with Ntrip RTK.

MVP Esteemed Contributor

Older but great article.  In my testing it had way more to do with the size of the antenna not the unit itself.  The Arrow with the dinner plate size antenna did great.  You can rent a few to try them.