A sub-meter GPS receiver for land management professionals

Purchasing a sub-meter GPS receiver for land management doesn’t have to be difficult. Environmental professionals can learn more about accuracy, features, and specifications to make the purchasing process easier. This article outlines the basics of what to look for in a data collection and mapping receiver for work in the field. For a deeper dive into this information, follow the links included below.

Achieve the accuracy needed in land management

Whether you are in wetland delineation, forestry services, or mapping wildlife habitats, a GPS receiver is an essential piece of equipment. An accurate GPS receiver makes all the difference in any profession that involves mapping and recording data. Being aware of and understanding the levels of accuracy available in the market today can be helpful to avoid overspending on a GPS receiver.

The rugged and precise Geode sub-meter GPS receiver being using for forestry services.
The Geode sub-meter GPS receiver being using for forestry services.

One of the best ways that professionals in the land management industry can know they are purchasing the right GPS receiver for the job at hand is by understanding their needs. A great place to start when seeking a better understanding of the needs of those in the field is by asking these two questions:

  1. What is the size of the object being recorded?
  2. Will the recorder/other individual be returning to the site at different times of the year?

There are a variety of jobs in land management for a GPS receiver. These include mapping wildlife habitats, boundaries, wetland delineations, forestry, fencing, and more. These tasks can all be accomplished and mapped with a sub-meter GPS receiver. Because of this variety, the expected level of accuracy is within a meter or smaller. With this level of accuracy, a user’s needs can be met and even exceeded.

It is especially important to acknowledge the environment when out in the field for log scaling, mapping invasive species, viewing and capturing data from sensors, water quality, environmental geophysics, research data collection, and more. Each environment has a variety of challenges that can affect the overall accuracy needed for success in mapping and data collection. Juniper Systems has an in-depth article on the best practices for better GPS accuracy in the field that can help users produce the results required. 

Features that benefit environmental professionals

There are a surplus of features to look for with a GPS receiver. At times, it can be rather intimidating to interpret the various features of a GPS receiver or any other data collector on the market. Our experts at Juniper Systems have put together a list of the top 5 features to look for in a GPS receiver. These features include:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Connectivity
  3. Hands-free operation and compatible with accessories to make the work easier
  4. Receiver accuracy
  5. Pay for what you need

Each of these features plays a significant role in the life of the user and their work. Many land management professionals find themselves overseeing surveys, generating mitigation plans, and verifying environmental regulatory compliance. Each of these activities requires time, precision, and varying levels of familiarity with the land.

Land management professional using the hands-free Geode sub-meter GPS receiver to collect data.
Land management professional using the hands-free Geode sub-meter GPS receiver.

A real-time sub-meter GPS receiver that embodies these five features can make all the difference in a project from start to finish. Users can save time, operate the device with minimal headache, collect accurate data, and potentially save some money when taking into consideration the expectations and needs of the projects. The Geode™ Sub-meter GPS Receiver, for example, is the epitome of these top 5 features for an environmental professional.

Specifications to look for in a GPS receiver for field workers

GPS receiver specifications are a key consideration during the purchasing process. The specifications to pay special attention to for users in the field include power, accuracy, software, and ruggedness.

An environmental specialist using the Geode sub-meter GPS receiver with a survey pole for collecting data in the field.
An environmental specialist using the Geode sub-meter GPS receiver with a survey pole.

1. Power

This specification can include information related to input voltage, power consumption, charging time, and more. The ability to charge the receiver in the field, the length of time the device can operate, and how long it takes to charge are all influential to the success of those using the GPS receiver.

Wherever the job takes a user, the Geode can be charged with a power bank to keep the work moving forward. The Geode comes with an Overtime Technology™ battery: 3.6V 6000 mAh Li-on, meaning the receiver can typically last between 10-11 hours of use for those days that demand more time than expected. Users can get more done with the long-lasting life of the battery and a charge time of roughly 4 hours. Ultimately, the Geode was designed to work just as hard and long as the user to get jobs done.

2. Accuracy

There are a range of accuracy systems available for GPS receivers. These systems directly impact the accuracy and dependability of GPS data. The more widely known systems include WAAS, EGNOS, GAGAN, MSAS, and SBAS. SBAS is the system used with the Geode for improved accuracy and reliability in the field. Each of these systems supports increased precision for mapping, navigation, and data collection.

Comparing accuracy claims between devices can be difficult when unfamiliar with the terms and definitions. In the market today, the most common standards for defining GPS performance include Circular Error Probable (CEP), Root Mean Square (RMS), Two times the distance of RMS (2DRMS), and Radius 95% (R95). For an in-depth explanation of GPS accuracy claims and how to compare receivers, users can learn more from Junipers’ industry experts in a support article titled, “GNSS/GPS accuracy explained.”

3. OS Software Compatibility

Users should be aware of the multiple software options available for a GPS receiver. When considering a device for mapping and data collection, it is important to understand what software is compatible and what is not. Companies and users are updating their equipment regularly to meet market demands. When these device updates take place, compatibility between software and device should be taken into consideration. For example, the Geode is compatible with: iPhone and iPad (see Geode GNS2 Compatibility for a complete list of devices), Windows Embedded Handheld 6.5, Android 4.x and above, and Windows PC (8/10). Juniper’s Geode also comes with the GeodeConnect™ app. This software provides configuration, communications setup, and receiver settings for all users.

Becoming aware of land survey software apps used by professionals and GIS data collection apps can be very helpful to those in the land management industry using GPS receivers.

4. Ruggedness

Professionals using a GPS receiver for land management are in an array of environments. The temperature, enclosure rating, and warranty are all determining factors when considering a GPS receiver for environmental management. With so many environments to consider in the land management industry, it is imperative to consider the ruggedness of the equipment in use for data collection and mapping.

The Geode by Juniper Systems is a prime example of a GPS built to endure a wide range of environments. This GPS receiver can operate in temperatures ranging from -20° C to +60° C and be stored from -30 C to +60° C. The enclosure rating for the Geode is IP68, which means the device is dustproof and protected against continuous immersion in water. Juniper Systems offers a 2-year warranty, and additional service plans to provide users with the best customer service.

Purchasing a sub-meter GPS receiver

Taking into consideration the level of accuracy needed, features that can make work easier, and specifications that make a difference can make purchasing a GPS receiver for land management less painful. Carrying and mounting options should also be taken under consideration. A GPS paired with the right mounting or carrying option can improve productivity in the field, optimize workflow, and more. To learn more about the Geode and other equipment by Juniper Systems, contact us to find out how we can help you in land management.

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