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ArcGIS Field Maps and GPS

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08-15-2023 08:25 AM
AbiDhakal
Occasional Contributor III

Hello GIS friends,

Good morning! I have a question friends.

Every year we collect forest pest (Southern Pine Beetle, Sawfly, etc) data using Field Maps and an eternal GPS (Bad Elf GPS Pro +) connected with Bluetooth to the Field Maps. Our pilots and foresters at the Alabama Forestry Commission do a great job of locating forest pest infested spots from the sky. We appreciate them. However, this year the Bad Elf GPS Pro + is not consistently connecting with the satellite and and as such we are not being able to collect data as efficiently. Does anyone use Bad Elf GPS with Field Maps? Do you know what we are not doing right to get a consistent connection with the GPS?

We bought this Bad Elf GPS Pro + for a nominal price, around $150 - $250 if I remember correctly. Do you all have any recommendation for a GPS assuming the Bad Elf GPS may not work.

Thank you,
Abi

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5 Replies
MichaelLohr
Occasional Contributor II

Knowing what the issue is with your Bad Elf GPS require more info and a troubleshooting process. There are just so many things that have to fall into place to get good results. But let me offer some thoughts. 

The level of GPS hardware you need depends on what your accuracy requirements are. Your mobile device (iPhone, iPad, Android) in an uncorrected mode would get you at best about +/- 16Ft. Maybe that is OK for locating a large infestation area. We use a Trimble R1 GPS pocket unit to improve the mobile device  accuracy to a sub-meter level. The R1 would set you back a couple thousand, but you might find them in the used equipment market as well. We also use a Trimble R2 centimeter level accuracy unit when the best accuracy is needed. Maybe quadruple the price from the R1, but that high accuracy is not often needed for routine field operations. The Trimble equipment cost is pretty high but the reliability is good.

We have some good results with a lower cost EOS Arrow 100 GPS unit in a sub-meter mode. Hope that helps some.

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AbiDhakal
Occasional Contributor III

@MichaelLohrThank you. We are not looking for a highly accurate and sophisticated GPS units. I used the tremble units for water line gpsing a few years ago. We are just looking for a simple GPS like the Bad Elf to do what we do. We will spend a $100 - $250 dollars on a GPS unit to do forest pest data collection. It has worked for us for a few years. I do not know what the deal is now even a fairly new Bad Elf GPS it not locating satellite. I'm also trying to get in touch with Bad Elf people. The problem is they are a small company and it is hard to get someone to talk to you.

Thank you,
Abi

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MichaelLohr
Occasional Contributor II
You are welcome, Abi. Maybe try a complete reset on the GPS if you can find the documentation on the Bad Elf website.
Also, as I recall, Field Maps requires a provider profile for the GPS unit when it is Bluetooth connected and this profile is stored on the mobile device as a part of the Field Maps settings. The file has disappeared on me before or has become corrupt, requiring me to recreate this from scratch in order for FM to connect to the GPS. Good luck.
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DougBrowning
MVP Esteemed Contributor

The new Samsung Active 4 Pro has a dual band GPS chip in it and testing shows submeter right from the tablet.  Plus they are rugged, can swap batteries, etc.  It is a 10 inch now with the 8 coming soonish.  I think the XCover Pro has the chip also.  Many of the Google Pixels have the dual band also.  iPads do not have them yet but the iPhone and watch do so it's just a matter of time - hopefully the next release.

I would go with new tablets and skip all the extra units and config issues.  On testing the bad elfs tended to not be much better anyway (not sure on these pro + ones this was years ago).

hope that helps

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AbiDhakal
Occasional Contributor III

Hey folks,

I got it figured out. The GPS might be working now. It required an update of both the firmware on the Elf as well as the underlying GNSS Engine. We'll know more as our foresters collect data. Thank you all for chipping in your ideas. They all helped.

Thank you,
Abi

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