Daniel Hewitt shares his perspective as a GIS Analyst on how the new SP20 data collector from Spectra Precision has simplified his organization’s workflow, instantly making them faster, more accurate and more productive.
How has the SP20 made you more productive?
Within hours of getting the device in my hand, I was able to setup, configure, and deploy. This means that our field staff is able to collect data the very same day. The user interface of ArcGIS Collector on the device makes it very easy for non-GIS staff to collect data at a very high accuracy. Having a cellular connection available at all times has eliminated the need for staff to carry an external Wi-Fi hotspot or export the data from the device and into GIS. Having real-time VRS corrections enabled eliminates the need for post-processing, so we no longer need that extra step (and extra software) in our workflows.
How does the SP20 compare to the solution were you using before?
We have been using products from CSDS and Trimble successfully for many years. This latest Trimble/Spectra Precision SP20 has been far and away the easiest solution to deploy and use yet. The old handhelds were very accurate and performed the job well, but getting an update pushed to them was a major task that required us to coordinate staff schedules. Meanwhile, the device could be out of the field for hours at a time. This was a problem since many of our GIS collection projects are time-sensitive. We no longer have to worry about syncing or offloading of shapefiles. As soon as the data is collected, it is in our system for all to view.
What are the different uses you’ve found for the SP20?
We use the SP20 to collect all the infrastructure assets in the City, both above and below ground, as well as new construction and long-since built items. We now have the ability to collect elevation values, which we couldn’t do before on our older handheld devices.
Are there any special features that make a big difference for your workflow?
The ability to use the ESRI Collector app has been ideal for us. We can now take full advantage of our ESRI platform when using GPS in the field. Now it’s just a matter of publishing a map service and pushing it to ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise account. It now takes minutes instead of hours to get a new feature onto the device and have our staff begin collecting — all without me having to get a hold of the SP20. The ESRI Collector app can take full advantage of the high-accuracy GPS of the SP20 in our local map projection. This gives us accuracy of up to 1cm!
What kind of pain points has the SP20 addressed for the City of Woodland’s data collection efforts?
As a GIS Analyst, the ability to quickly make an update (adding new fields or map layers) and deploy it without having to update a data dictionary file has been a game changer. This has been key, since it means no longer having to physically get a hold of each device to install and make changes. Also, I no longer have to troubleshoot connectivity issues with the syncing process or do any post-processing steps. We were previously using an ESRI software that was no longer supported, so we were left on our own to try to resolve any issues we had.
What do you think the SP20 has to offer others in the Mapping and GIS Industry?
The SP20 is easy to deploy and easy to use. Since it’s built on the Android platform, it’s also easy to update and can adapt to any of the software changes that ESRI pushes out. There’s no need for staff to be trained in desktop GIS software anymore, since I can have them trained on the Collector app in 5 minutes and they’re off and going. This frees me up to do other GIS tasks. For the price and the accuracy, the SP20 is the perfect solution for our GPS collection needs.
Learn more about data collection
Are you looking for a way to drastically improve the speed, accuracy and consistency of your data collection? Is your current handheld device not achieving the results you need?
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