Here at ANATUM, we are asked about GPS units quite a lot. We tested multiple GPS units that work with Apple iOS, and we decided to carry two units, the 2.5 meter Bad Elf GPS Pro and the submeter iSXBlue II GNSS. These units couldn’t be any more different from each other. And that is a good thing.
The reason these units work well as a tandem comes down to the task each of these units were designed to do. The Bad Elf GPS Pro was created to work for pilots and the iSXBlue II GNSS is made for submeter accuracy. At 2.5 meter accuracy, the Bad Elf GPS Pro has a few things it does better than the other two brands of Bluetooth GPS units in this consumer grade category (not to name names). The Bad Elf Pro is rated 0.5 meter more accurate, battery life is twice as long, and it has an LCD screen to view all the GPS information. Plus, after hundreds of hours with the Bad Elf, we can attest to it usually achieving 2.4 – 2.9 meters. So, worst case scenario your tablet or smartphone goes down, you can still take out paper and recode the lat/long for your records and finish your day of work.
The Bad Elf Pro isn’t as accurate as the iSXBlue II, but it communicates at a faster rate with satellites than many submeter GPS units. Because of this, the Bad Elf GPS Pro works great for aerial surveys conducted by our environmental consulting clients, state agency wildlife biologists, and transmission line clients. The Bad Elf is also perfect for everyday general surveys that don’t require submeter accuracy for recording new locations and for navigating in areas with poor cellular service.
Since the Bad Elf GPS Pro communicates quickly with satellites (generally 10 times faster than many submeter GPS devices) it works well with our iPad when navigating to your work site. For example, you can keep the Bad Elf GPS Pro in the car with you and it will feed your iPad your location regardless of your driving speed or obstructions like trees. Once you get to your worksite, fire up the iSXBlue II GNSS and get you the submeter accuracy you need to record all the data types your job may require. Not only that, but the submeter accuracy achieves the wetland delineation requirements set forth by the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE 2001).
By using your GIS app of choice paired with an iPad and Bad Elf GPS Pro or iSXBlue II GNSS or Arrow 100 GNSS, you will increase efficiency compared to your old methods of paper datasheets, compact cameras, and handheld submeter GPS units. With the tablet solution, your field crews can record all their field data electronically and upload it to the Cloud database used by your GIS app. You can eliminate hours of time spent on the backend at an office entering data from a paper datasheet and then linking it to your GIS database.
Along with increased efficiency, your field crews will thank you for making their lives easier by eliminating the need to carry some of their field guide books, mountains of printed maps, and piles of handwritten paper data sheets!
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