Smart devices such as iPads and Android tablets are becoming more and more popular for collecting GIS data in the field.  They are affordable, readily available, and powerful and offer benefits that GIS folks like such as a larger view for displaying imagery and completing an attribute form.  The “tablet craze” as you might call it will continue to grow for GIS professionals as users migrate to cloud-based applications like Esri Collector and Trimble TerraFlex.

Further adding to the use of smartphones and tablets in GIS, Trimble introduced this week the R1 GNSS Receiver.  A pocket size, lightweight and Bluetooth companion, the R1 is easily paired to the iOS, Android and WEHH 6.5 device of your choice (also Windows 7 and newer) for professional grade positioning in the submeter range.  Place the device in your shirt pocket, hold it in your hand, or set it directly on the feature for total flexibility.

The R1 addresses a couple of key limitations to using smart devices for GIS data collection.  First and foremost, it adds the necessary positional accuracy for GIS mapping.  The pictures below help clarify this by showing the same features mapped with different smart devices.  The inconsistency and inaccuracy of the data is readily apparent.



In addition, using the R1 alongside the Trimble ViewPoint RTX correction, real-time accuracy in the 50cm range is available. The R1 also supports corrections from SBAS and VRS.  Similar to VRS, ViewPoint RTX requires an annual, paid subscription, unlike SBAS which is a free service.

It is interesting to note that the majority of smart devices are non-rugged and not designed for all day data collection typically required by GIS.

The R1 paired with a smartphone/tablet and RTX (or SBAS) provides the GIS professional with an exciting combination for field data collection.  Add the benefits of cloud-based applications like Collector and TerraFlex for a complete solution that is fast and easy.

For more information on this exciting topic, contact us!


Frontier Precision provides world-class solutions for a wide variety of industries using leading products, training, technical services and more.

Technical Services


If you require customized technical services and training, please contact Frontier Precision at 800-359-3703 or reach out to a local Frontier Precision location.

Training and Events


Frontier Precision offers affordable regularly scheduled certified training classes, online eLearning, webinars, as well as custom training options to meet your specific training needs.