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#1
Martin Gamache

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Anyone on this board doing mobile/field cartography with a PDA/GPS combination?

I'm looking for advice on hardware/software combinations.

mg

#2
Hans van der Maarel

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I've done some stuff with Tomtom Navigator (popular route planner over here) on a PocketPC. Not really mapping, because all I'd do was show custom data on top of the maps in Tomtom.

For actual mapping, I would recommend ESRI's ArcPad. Blue Marble had a similar product, but I forgot the name and I can't seem to find it on their website.

As for hardware, if you go with PocketPC, there's several vendors who offer 'rugged' versions of the devices. Depending on what kind of mapping you're going to do, that might be interesting. These devices will generally be waterproof and will survive a fall (up to certain limits)
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#3
Martin Gamache

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I tested the ArcPad Demo over the weekend running on a new Garmin iQue M5 PDA with integrated GPS. The (lack) of accuracy did not really impress me too much so I returned the Garmin PDA. I've gotten better accuracy out of an older Garmin Etrex. The rugged PDAs I've looked at (TDS Recon) look fairly good but they are expensive and dont run on over the counter batteries (AAs) which I need for extended field work in 3rd world countries. They also need an add-on GPS.
For now the best solution for me looks like it will be a Mobile Mapper from Thales.

#4
Hans van der Maarel

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I was very impressed when I first read something about this one:
IKE

Rather pricy though.

Over here in Europe there's PocketPC's with integrated GPS on the market, as well as units with Bluetooth GPS receivers. They're fairly inexpensive, but usually don't run on AA/AAA batteries either, nor are they sturdy enough for real fieldwork.

It's a very interesting field of technology though, and I'm looking forward to seeing the latest developmens. The route-planning software has really brought GIS/GPS/mapping to the general audience.
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#5
Nick Springer

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I can't help weighing in on this topic since the company I work for during my day job creates CoPilot GPS software. It's mainly an in-car navigation system that runs on laptops, Pocket PCs, and Windows mobile Smartphones with an included Bluetooth GPS device.

While it is not meant for mapping per say, it does record GPS tracks like most of these devices.

Nick Springer

Director of Design and Web Applications: ALK Technologies Inc.
Owner: Springer Cartographics LLC


#6
Hans van der Maarel

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Now that you mention GPS tracks, here's an extension to FME that I recently did. It will grab the coordinatses from the (NMEA compliant) GPS log.

NMEA datasource for FME

CoPilot seems to be similar to TomTom, which has cornered the market over here. €400 euro's or so for the PocketPC plus software, GPS receiver and maps (Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg), another €150 for additional maps of the rest of Europe.

The positional accuracy of these devices, at least the one that I use, is enough for basic mapping. You're talking about a few meters then, which isn't too bad given the price. Elevation accuracy is worthless though.
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