Single hand bluetooth collector

513
9
12-26-2018 10:24 AM
NathanJohnson
New Contributor III

I'm hoping to use collector on an ipad to collect weed location data while simultaneously spraying the weeds. An individual crew person can collect over 200 points (gps records) a day while spraying. Often these records will have exactly the same attribute data but in slightly different locations. I would love to have a bluetooth piece of hardware that fits easily one hand. This hardware would essential just tell collector to record a point at it's current location and paste all the attribute info from the last recorded point. It is important that the hardware is easily operated by one hand because the person's other hand will be holding a spray wand.

Does anything close to that type of hardware exist?

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9 Replies
by Anonymous User
Not applicable

Nathan,

There are a few GPS devices that work with Collector for ArcGIS on iOS that can easily fit in a pocket (or backpack) and connect over bluetooth to the device in question.

Prepare for high-accuracy data collection—Collector for ArcGIS | ArcGIS 

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NathanJohnson
New Contributor III

Thanks for the reply Dan. I think what you linked me to are all bluetooth gps receivers, right? I'm not looking for a bluetooth gps receiver- the internal gps on the ipad is accurate enough for me. I just need a big button that any crew person can hold in one hand that will send a bluetooth signal to Collector running on iOS to record a point (the Ipad would be in a knapsack). Attribute data for the new point in Collector would be populated by duplicating the attribute data of the previous point. I'm guessing this is a pretty specialized need and nothing like it exists.

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MarkBockenhauer
Esri Regular Contributor

I think this is what you are looking for - https://community.esri.com/community/esri-labs/blog/2018/07/13/introducing-quickcapture-for-arcgis 

You can set up buttons to auto capture the location for the type of repetitive information you want to collect / capture.. Your users will need to press the right button though... or just give them one button if that's all they need.

Mark

NathanJohnson
New Contributor III

Mark- thanks! I'll look into that. Not exactly what I'm picturing but definitely on the right track!

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by Anonymous User
Not applicable

My apologies for misunderstanding your question. It looks like Mark had answered your question though.

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PeterKnoop
Occasional Contributor III

As noted ArcGIS QuickCapture can be configured to have just a single button. That might be the simplest way to go here.

The iPad itself is probably too big to have easily accessible under the conditions you describe, however, you could use QuickCapture in conjunction with an iPhone (or other small mobile device) strapped to the user's forearm. Then as you're doing your task, you can easily reach and click on the button to record your current location. (Note that the device's battery can drain fast with this approach, as you need to leave the device on, so that the button is readily available to press. We carry an extra battery in this case, and charge the device during breaks to make it through the whole day; and we are using Collector or Survey123 directly, rather than QuickCapture.)

If you just want a "button" -- AND, you can access WiFi where you are, rather than Bluetooth -- then another approach to consider is using an Amazon IoT Button. (Maybe you have a cellular iPad that can serve as a hotspot? Maybe you are already carrying a separate WiFi hotspot to provide connectivity for your iPad?)  When pressed, the button's Lamda function runs, utilizing the ArcGIS API for Python (you could also leverage the ArcGIS REST API) to record information in ArcGIS.

Meanwhile, your iPad is running Collector with a Location Tracking layer. (Note that I do not believe Location Tracking layers are supported in the new Collector yet, so we have had to stick with Collector Classic for this specific purpose for now; you can run both side by side on your device.)

So when the button is pressed, the code that is run in the cloud grabs the most recent record in the location tracking layer, and appends it to another feature.

Your code should also check the the button press timestamp and the most-recent tracking point are from about the same point in time, as the GPS might have lost signal and the location tracking layer isn't being updated at the moment. You can leverage the notification capabilities of the AWS button service to text you that your location wasn't recorded properly; though there is a bit of a delay with notifications, so you may find yourself having to walk back to the previous location to record it again.

(One of our main uses for this has been for "I'm here now!" purposes over the course of a day. Think of it as a tracking layer filtered to record your location only when you manually choose to have it do so, and you don't want to fuss with having to pull out your phone and do something directly in Collector. That sounds pretty similar to what you're looking to do? Recoding the button press timestamps makes it easy to join/filter with all sorts of data after the fact too.)

The IoT button works best if your need for location accuracy isn't too high. The iPad GPS, as you're already aware, can be off by quite a bit, especially under canopy. The delay of recording the button press and the temporal resolution of the tracking layer can add to the error too, especially if you move a lot during the delay it takes to process. Depending on your use case, however, that error source can be greatly reduced if you click the button at the start, rather than the end, of the task, so that you are "in the area" while things are being recorded, rather than walking or driving away to somewhere else.

Hope that helps!

MichaelDavis3
Regular Contributor

iOS has system wide support for hardware controls via the Accessibility Switch Control (Use Switch Control to navigate your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch - Apple Support )

There is an article here that walks you through configuring a simple bluetooth keyboard as a switch control.  I'd probably lean toward using a bluetooth 10 key and configure that for rapid data collection.  They also discuss some options for making even simpler switches. iOS Switch Control on a Budget using Bluetooth Keyboards | ATMakers 

I've considered implementing something like this, or using the iOS game controller interface in a custom Runtime app for data collection on aerial bird surveys or other rapid-fire data collection scenarios.  Haven't had a chance to try it out just yet - so please share if you do!

NathanJohnson
New Contributor III

Thanks for everyone's input on this. I'm circling back to working on this now. Can anyone point me in the direction of a tutorial to set up a data capture project in Quick Capture?

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PeterKnoop
Occasional Contributor III

I found the documentation and videos in the QuickCapture github repo very helpful for getting started. (You might miss the documentation links on first glance... there is a table of contents in the box on the right with, "Home, 1. Introduction, 2. Basic configuration, ..."