13 GIS data collection apps professionals should try

GIS data collection apps

You bought a GPS receiver. Or, maybe, you just want to get more out of the data from your current receiver. What’s next?

We’ve compiled a list of 13 GPS and GNSS apps and solutions that will make your data collection smarter, better, and more efficient.

Great receivers deserve and require great data collection apps. We know. Juniper Systems designed and built the Geode Real-time Sub-meter GPS Receiver, an ultra-durable, affordable, and accurate GPS receiver for professional field data collection. We also design and build a suite of Android and Windows 10 rugged handhelds and tablets.

Here are Android, Windows 10, and Apple iOS app options picked by our geospatial product expert for use with GNSS receivers:

1. Collector for ArcGIS

Collector for ArcGIS by Esri, a Juniper Systems partner, is a data collection software that allows you to update maps, make notes, and add photos and videos to existing maps online and offline. You can easily update and search development projects, site evaluations, and damage assessments. Plus, it’s all shareable.

This app puts the day’s work in the palm of your hand. It’s perfect for location-driven jobs like utility services.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

2. Survey123 for ArcGIS

Survey123 for ArcGIS by Esri is a form-based data collection software that easily turns field observations into actionable information. You can publish surveys into ArcGIS that you or your team can access on a job site with a web or mobile device. Data from the surveys are sent instantly and integrated into ArcGIS for real-time monitoring by decision-makers. If there’s no internet access – the data can be downloaded later.

iOS

Android 

Windows 10

Web-based access

3. Mapit GIS

MapitGIS by mapitGIS is a field data and survey collection software for anyone grappling with environmental and GIS data. The app allows you to organize data into editable layers and export data to popular GIS formats through email, Google Drive, and Skype; or, you can use an SD card. Plus, you can measure and calculate areas and distances.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

4. GPS Fields Area Measure

GPS Fields Area Measure by Farmis is a simple area, distance, and perimeter measurement mobile app. And it does it well. The user-friendly app allows you to name, save, group, and edit measurements with GPS marking and tracking. Plus, it comes with a helpful undo button for accidental or bad measurements.

The app is free to download but offers in-app purchases for a professional or ad-free version.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

5. SW Maps

SW Maps by Softwel is a beginner-friendly mobile GIS data collection app. The app uses Google Maps or OpenStreetMap. You can make layers and categorize information with text, numbers, custom shapes, colors, and photos. You can record GPS tracking information, measure distance, and easily share and export the data. Plus, it allows you to download an unlimited number of maps for offline use. Did we mention it’s free to download?

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

6. Maps Pro

Maps Pro by Nicollet Fabien is a simple, user-friendly point capture app. It includes a powerful directions engine to help you get around – online or offline. So, no more getting lost and asking for directions. Maps Pro lets you choose from Google Maps, OpenStreeMap, or Baidu to track your journey and create your own maps with custom overlays.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

7. iFormBuilder

IFormBuilder by Zerion Software is a complete form-based data solution. It allows you to build forms on its web portal that can be accessed by a mobile device so you can capture field data – online or offline. The data can be synced with the cloud and securely accessed from any computer or tablet. Nice!

Its data processing tools give you the power to make reports and dashboards that help guide smart decision making. Plus, you have access to iFormBuillder API, or application programming interface, which gives you access to the tools that can change how data flows from the field to the final decision-makers.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

8. Fulcrum

Fulcrum by Fulcrum is a form-based data collection software made for fieldwork. You can create a custom form online and change it for workers in the field in real-time, dispatching work assignments and more. Data are gathered and viewable immediately for decision-makers and whoever else with the app’s shareable live-updating feeds. It offers offline data collection, team roles, and media collections tools for creating rich, valuable field data.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

9. Avenza Maps

Avenza Maps by Avenza Systems Inc. is a mobile app that lets you download maps – just like you would download songs, podcasts, and books – directly to your phone. The app tracks your location and allows you to plot points, take photos, and measure distance and area. You won’t need cell phone service either. The maps are downloadable and accessible offline.

Plus, you can scroll through thousands of maps from around the world on the Avenza Map Store, online or in the app.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

10. EZ Tag CE + EZSurv

EZ Tag CE + EZSurv by Effigis is a professional grade GIS mapping and post-processing software package that makes your work more accurate. This software uses real-time kinematic positing to provide you with more accurate mapping data.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

11. TerraGo Edge

TerraGo Edge by TerraGo is a form-based software that’s perfect for field service and resource management. The combination of GPS and GIS features allow you to collect data on your mobile device – made richer with text, audio files, videos, and photos –online or offline. Share your work with others in the field, coordinate data in real time, and manage projects, tasks, and location from a central dashboard.

You can use free maps like Google Maps, OpenStreeMaps, or your own GIS maps.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

12. Global Mapper

Global Mapper by Blue Marble Geographics is a powerful GIS software that gives you tools built for beginners and experts. Its mobile data collection tools let you read, save, change, and explore data. It supports nearly every spatial file format. Plus, the software includes advanced tools for terrain analysis and 3D data processing.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access

13. CyberTracker

CyberTracker by CyberTracker is a simple, customizable field data collection software with an icon-based interface. It offers easy-to-use tools to analyze graphs and maps on a Windows computer – and allows you connect to server databases and transfer the files remotely. Plus, you can create and design custom informational field guides with identification checklists and images and the GPS tracker allows you to track the day’s work on a map.

It has a pretty cool backstory, too. CyberTracker was initially designed for indigenous people to track, record, and further understand their environments. It’s completely free to download.

iOS

Android

Windows 10

Web-based access


There’s plenty more where that came from, too. Let us know about your favorite GPS and GNSS app below. For more information about how you can affordably improve your GPS and GNSS data with the Geode Sub-meter GPS Receiver, call us at 435-753-1881 or email sales@junipersys.com. Or, visit us online here to view our lineup of rugged handhelds and tablets.

30 Comments

  1. Thanks for this info!
    Please note Survey123 for ArcGIS is supported in Android (4.4 or later).
    https://doc.arcgis.com/en/survey123/reference/systemrequirements.htm

  2. It is very important to get and collect the data if you are traveling anywhere. So, for that, you don’t have to buy a new GPS system. You can use some useful apps as mentioned above on your smartphone and can collect the perfect data in a better way.

    • Thanks G-Suite for the information! Yes, smartphones today can offer access to many applications for data collection, including a number of those listed above. When combined with professional-grade GNSS receivers such as the Geode, users can enhance the quality and precision of their data.

  3. Thanks, Jackson . what about (MAST)Mobile Application to Secure Tenure. Developed by US AID

  4. Mitch Taylor says:

    Hi Jackson, do any of these apps have laser rangefinder connectivity? As a part of our job, we collect field data (tree locations mainly) and the task is significantly faster, easier and more accurate with a laser. Also, having the laser also adds to our ability to stand with the GPS receiver in more open areas as opposed to hard up against a tree, limiting satellite coverage.

    • Jackson Murphy says:

      Hi Mitch,

      A number of the apps above have laser rangefinder and offset measurement support methods. If you are looking for a product with specific laser rangefinder support, one option is MapSmart from Laser Technology Inc. This software is designed specifically for use with laser rangefinders and can combine laser measurements and offsets with GPS/GNSS observations. You can learn more here: http://www.lasertech.com/MapSmart-Software.aspx

  5. Matthew Boddie says:

    Great information, thanks! One question:

    SW Maps: “Plus, it allows you to download an unlimited number of maps for offline use.”

    I’m not seeing this as being possible. Can you confirm this function?

    • Jackson Murphy says:

      Hi Matthew, here’s what I found from the manual: “SW Maps supports adding offline map tiles stored as MBTiles files, as a layer. Mbtiles is an open format for storing tiled map data.” I hope that helps.

  6. Geospatial basic tools needed

  7. Very helpful apps for professionals looking for sources of GIS data. Thanks for sharing.

  8. We are a timber harvesting operating currently utilizing Collector and do enjoy it, when it works. Some of the glaring issues we have encountered with this program is the inconsistency of maps being accessible on the app when uploaded and successfully shared. Is there a program that is similar to Collector but more user friendly? We typically use Collector for seeing where we are within the harvest boundary and location of other significant landmarks/resources.

  9. Mike buchma says:

    We deal with bathymetry, so we looking for an app that will integrate a sounding with the location on a preprogram rate (once per second). Collector won’t do this. Form based apps don’t seem to. Do you have suggestions for this style of data collection?

  10. Gregg Hadish says:

    Can you verify that the Geode Real-time Sub-meter GPS Receiver is compatible with Collector for ArcGIS and Survey123 for ArcGIS on the iOS platform?

  11. Simon Anderson says:

    The ‘Sonarmite’ software from Ohmex will integrate depth soundings with location – http://www.ohmex.com/software.html

  12. Juniper Systems have compiled a list of 13 GPS and GNSS apps and solutions that will make your data collection smarter, better and simply needs to be assessed and updated.

  13. Thank you for posting such a great blog! I found your website perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful posts. Keep up the good work. Thank you for this wonderful Blog!

  14. Peter Singer says:

    For mapping water, sanitation and hygiene related data, mWater has been gaining a lot of traction recently (https://portal.mwater.co)

  15. Sateesh Bheemarasetty says:

    We would like to capture the pole location at an accuracy of 10cm. Our survey team need to capture information pertaining to attachments on the pole and had to take few photos for each pole. what is the best field data collection application and GPS device to achieve the results. We would like to use android tablets for this data collection. Your suggest would really help us to achieve better results. Thanking you in advance

    • Sateesh Bheemarasetty says:

      Forgot to mention that we already have the pole locations in shape file and this file needs to be imported into the data collection app. However the pole position is not accurate in shape file, so we need to use the pole location in shapefile and had to capture the pole location at an accuracy of 10cm.

  16. cool post thanks for shearing and the rugged-Handhelds you can find here with us at milcomputing.com

  17. Conner Kolander says:

    My company is looking for a app that can be used on phones or tablets that can do environmental services like many gis applications, but we do a lot of work in buildings doing samplings for lead, asbestos, etc.. I was wondering if there are programs that support that or if there is a cad like feature that allows you to draw your own diagrams within the app.

    Being able to upload these files is also important to us.

  18. I am looking for an app similar to Fulcrum, that integrates well with AutoCAD and/or AutoCAD C3D. Being able to take data collected/organized by the app, and drop it into the coordinates in CAD. Do you have a suggestion for this? Maybe Fulcrum can do this already, but I don’t see .dwg as a file format for exporting.

  19. I was searching for this tutorial and i found the best Blog of yours, Described it so well. Thank you buddy..

  20. Just for an update…. iFormBuilder does provide Web-Based access through WebForms!

  21. We manage bathymetry, so we searching for an application that will coordinate a sounding with the area on a prearrange rate (once every second). Gatherer won’t do this. Structure based applications don’t appear to. Do you have recommendations for this style of information gathering?
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  23. Hey guys i was working on it try to get some fast GIS data collection app, this is the great list I’ve found yet amazing work! carry on.

  24. Glad to read your blog. Nice collection of information for us.

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