Pros and Cons of New Field GPS Data Collection

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agriculture landcover

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What do we know about data collection?

     We are on a journey to explore different ecological landscapes to understand our interaction with different environments worldwide. However, the increase in our exploitation and consumption of resources is also to blame.

     The desire for great quantity and quality of food for growing populations led to the Green Revolution in the mid – and late 20th centuries. Realizing that farmers could not continue cultivating additional land to increase crop output, agricultural scientists devised methods and technologies to increase crop output per unit area of existing cultivated land (Withgott & Brennan, 2010). This means the Green Revolution aimed to increase enhanced agricultural productivity per unit area of land in developing nations.

  The increased gardenproduction efficiency has fed more people while reducing the amount of natural land converted for farming. However, many practices of intensive commercial agriculture exert substantial negative environmental impacts. At the same time, it should be understood that some aspects of industrial agriculture have helped alleviate certain pressures on land or resources.

     Technology today helps us make better decisions about our environment. For example, we use technology to collect and analyze data. This allows us to make more informed choices about our lives.

Data Collection for a Sustainable Agriculture

      GIS is a computer system used Analyze Researchto collect, store, verify, and display data related to locations on the Earth’s surface.

     Landscape ecology is an important part of geography. Using remote sensing, we can see what is happening on Earth. We can also learn about the land by looking at satellite pictures. The future of image maps looks bright, and exciting to learn about the environment.

     You can see how the lands were used in your area, showing how they developed over time in today’s geographic maps. (Kimerling, Buckley, Muehrcke, & Phillip C., 2012, p. 466).

Why Introduce GIS to the Community?

     GIS software helps better understand spatial patterns and relationships of crops grown in the area. This information lets you navigate where distant features are located from place to place. For example, see apples grown east of the lake, while blueberries and peaches are grown along both sides.

     Why is the fruit growing clustered along the shores of a lake at all? Then, why are different types of fruits grown on different sides of the lake? GIS technology can analyze land use data to create maps and charts showing the distribution of different types of crops and livestock. These maps can then identify areas where there might be problems or shortages.

GIS Data Collection in the USDA Sector

     The agricultural sector is facing a significant challenge to sustain the increasing population in the country. California has been growing rapidly since the last census. The number of people living there increased by approximately 39.1 million people over the past decade.

     California farmers are part of a large U.S. state with various climates that provide a variety of sources of food, energy, and shelter. Also, it has a large, naturally occurring community of growth with four seasons with 163,696 square miles for residents, farmers, ranchers, and wineries to thrive.

    In the past five years, the number of people living in California has increased by about 6%. This means there is more food available now than before. (Nath et al. p., 233). This has raised the alarm in the agricultural sector to increase food products to prevent food insecurity in the country. Hence, GIS technology can widely locate new areas for agricultural classification.

     My goal is to show how GIS can collect data about the location of food sources and use this information to grow more food. I will use my knowledge of GIS to create an application that uses GPS technology to locate the most suitable places to farm crops. This application will then allow me to share my findings with others.

Take a Picture

Use of Geospatial Science for Field Data Collection

     Geographic Information systems can analyze soil data and determine which crops should plant where and how to maintain soil nutrition to best benefit the plants. This technology is crucial in agriculture because the human population is growing tremendously in the United States. Yet much of the information to interpret the human landscape is needed to comprehend how human geography has developed truly may not be on maps.

     The GIS world requires additional information to help us use accurate data. For example, remote sensing helps us apply landscape ecologies to send us to monitor Earth using satellite images. However, classifying land cover as lesser than 1 meter can result in classification error.

     The cost can vary to expensive results depending on the project and environment. Still, that doesn’t sound so bad.

     Various technologies can help farmers achieve increased food production with reduced costs by enabling better management of land resources (Nath et al. p., 234). For example, thriving agriculture requires healthy soil. Unfortunately, humans are destroying the earth by over-consuming and polluting it. As a result, we are losing 1217 million acres of land every year due to agriculture. This means that we are losing 57 million acres of land per year. (Withgott & Brennan, 2010).

                                                    Collect Data with Higher Accuracy 


      The Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment includes navigation, data collection, and mapping applications. Also, its many advantages include ease of use, low cost, coverage over large areas, collecting relatively high accuracy positioning data, and more.

     GPS handheld receivers can be categorized into three grades based on the level of accuracy they provide and the specific functions they offer. The technology is concerned with how we collect, represent, store, visualize, analyze, use, and present these geographic concepts to help or hinder effective spatial reasoning (Kimerling, Buckley, Muehrcke, & Phillip C., 2012).

 View Data in A New Light

    Uncertainty is an important concept in GIS. We use uncertainty to describe how accurate our maps are. Accuracy is another important factor in GIS. We define accuracy as the degree to which a map represents reality. In this case, we’re measuring the accuracy of the map by counting the number of survey points collected.

aerial imagery

     For example, contour farming attempts to adjust agriculture practices to the physical environment. If the land is flat, it’s simplest for the farmer to make rectangular fields or fairly uniform size and orient. However, farms often create irregular shape, size, and orientation fields on rough terrains and land segmented by a stream network.

     Remember using GIS to create maps is just one means to your real goal- understanding the world. If you don’t look beyond map symbols to the reality they represent, you might defeat the purpose and end up with questions.

Is GIS an essential tool?

    GIS has become mandatory in many settings for Businesses, government, education, and non-profit organizations. GIS is an essential tool because it helps individuals and organizations better understand spatial patterns and relationships. When I was introduced to the geospatial industry by outstanding professors from Cal Poly Humboldt and CSU Long Beach. I learned how the geospatial industry could be an important and useful tool in growing our economy.

Recommended Data Collection Software

     The developer of ArcGIS, Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), is the developer and marketer of a full line of GIS products and services. During my four years in field research using ArcMap, and ArcGIS Online, creating maps and aerial/satellite imagery with a limited budget out of my pocket.

     I have presented new findings working with professional teams sharing unique backgrounds to collect, manage, analyze, and effectively display spatial information of geographic features throughout California. ArcGIS Collector /Classic app allows users to collect data from smartphones or tablets. This app works with Bluetooth devices and can be used even with no Internet connection. Data collected by this app is uploaded to the ArcGIS Online cloud.

Collector Classic App

What is a Collector App?

      ArcGIS Collector is a mobile application that makes data collection easy by capturing accurate data. It’s an alternative to collecting ground truth data depending on the project you are working on. You can start an ArcGIS Online account for free.

    Software tools are helpful when used properly. For example, when using ArcGIS Online, it could help you think about the problem, and I was able to generate some ideas.

     ESRI seeks to improve with simple upgrades to benefit its customers and assets. For example, in some projects, such as damage assessments, spots within ten feet of damage can provide enough information. For other projects, like underground pipeline management, the collection site should be a few inches from the actual location.

     The device’s location service collects location data. This includes GPS, cellular network, WiFi, and Bluetooth. Unfortunately, the accuracy of these sources varies, and device location services are not always reliable. Using a high-precision GPS receiver is often the best choice for those performing data collection that requires better accuracy and reliable quality control.

The following are the pros and cons of the ArcGIS Collector.


  • Easily collect and update field service features.
  • Field telephone monitoring.
  • Ability to attach images with features.
  • Ability to navigate to functions.
  • Easily update applications through ArcGIS online.
  • Simple interface.
  • App usability on Android and iOS.
  • Integrated with control panel.


  • Can’t stream vertices (no polygon and line features)
  • No disconnected editing
  • Limited documentation
  • Difficult sending maps to the phone (no option to import the map from ArcGIS online)
  • No ability to log in as a user until the map link is shared
  • The Collector app currently does not support m/z values
  • Expenses. It is costly to use.
  • If not correctly used, the technology may lead to a significant waste of resources and may do more harm than good.


      To sum it up, data collection is very crucial for our economy. GIS technology helps collect data about the natural environment. This information helps us to plan and build our economy.
     GIS technology has helped collect data for the agricultural sector and other businesses thriving. Geospatial science is an important part of any business or farm. Data collection helps to establish a business or farm. Natural disasters can cause damage to businesses and farms. Let’s keep working together to sustain and support our community and environment.

Explore More


  1. California Department of Food and Agriculture. “California Agricultural Statistics Review 2017–2018.” State of California (2018).
  2. German, B. (2021, 03 12). 2019 Crop Report Shows More Than $50 Billion in Cash Receipts. Retrieved from
  3. Kimerling, A., Buckley, A., Muehrcke, J., & Phillip C., P. (2012). Map Use (7th ed.). Redlands: ESRI Press. Retrieved 01 01, 2022
  4. Nath, Shree S., et al. “Applications of geographical information systems (GIS) for spatial decision support in aquaculture.” Aquacultural Engineering 23.1-3 (2020): 233-278.
  5. Nowak, Maciej M., et al. “Mobile GIS applications for environmental field surveys: A state of the art.” Global Ecology and Conservation 23 (2020): 10-18.
  6. Warf, Barney, and Daniel Sui. “From GIS to neogeography: ontological implications and theories of truth.” Annals of GIS 16.4 (2018): 197-209.
  7. Withgott, J., & Brennan, S. (2010). Environment: The Science behind the Stories (4th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson. Retrieved 1 4, 2022

31 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of New Field GPS Data Collection”

  1. Quite an educative article. This is a show of advanced technology. This data collection is a very important task in the agricultural sector of any region, not only would it improve production and distribution but also aids in monitoring the progress of agricultural practices.

    There may be some drawbacks as stated in this article but to me, the pros outweigh the cons because there is always room for improvement. Thanks for sharing.

    • I appreciate your honest feedback. Please share any comments you believe would help viewers collect data to support my viewers being better data collectors. Thank you for your time. 

  2. This has been a fascinating read on geographical information systems (GIS), something that is increasingly important to ensure that food is grown in the best places and correct utilization of land mass. Farming is increasingly incorporating technology to achieve the best results for the food crop that needs to be grown in specific areas. 

    Collecting data through the global positioning system (GPS) can ensure a higher quality of the data that is collected and shared. Collecting data through GIS and using an app like ArcGIS Collector, can help to build and plan global economies. 

    • Thank you for your comment. We hope you enjoyed our service today. A higher quality of data can be achieved using GPS. Farmers and local residents can use this data to grow crops recommendable suited in your are locations. Learn more if GIS is right for you. Visit Our Page

  3. Thanks for sharing some insight into the pros and cons of new field GPS data collection. I’ve been fascinated by the map data that is available and how detailed it can get. I am simultaneously overwhelmed by confusing interfaces and a lack of clear documentation. Thanks for the helpful info to clarify some of my nagging questions. 

    • Thank you for your comment. We want to benefit our readers to view our methods and how we seek to support the results we find to the best of our abilities. JohnsMealTicket’s mission is to provide our steps so we can share opinions and define our actions. If you get the chance, compare your results in your area and provide your comments if you support our research to create a sustainable future. Visit our Next Page

  4. Data collection is key to be able to understand the scenario we have in front of us. Growing crops in a sustainable way must include data collection. I have used hand held GPS in the past (Magellan and Garmin), and have also used ArcGIS. Esri indeed is a leading force in the GIS arena. I have been away from ArcGIS a couple of years but I am back, eager to explore what they have new for me.

  5. Your article on GIS collection is technical, but extremely interesting.  I happen to live in Salinas, California and agricultural area that is in the center of the Salinas Valley.  Several kinds of vegetables are here as well as grapes and other varieties of fruit.  It has been interesting over the years to see how farming has changed from watering to harvesting.  Your article has prompted me to pay attention to the contour of fields, vineyards and orchards in relation to the topography.  I am wondering if the technology you write about helps to identify the most efficient use of finite water supplies for farming. Although the technical information offered may be a bit beyond me at times, it is interesting to read your article about a technology that is changing the way farming is done right where I live.

    • Hi Anastazja, I liked reading your comment. I love growing my grapes in my backyard, and it requires a lot of water and rich soil. Where our grapes are grown matters, especially if you’re doing business in wineries, selling at markets, etc. Here are two articles I hope will catch your interest how I am following winemakers worldwide and my checklist if GIS may be suitable to use. 

  6. Really like the content very thorough, well researched and insightfull. I have many friends using GIS software to help improve their farming strategies. They have found great success by applying them especially with the best crops to plant. I am looking into buying a farm of my own and I want to use GIS to help me decide where to buy. I want to know if you think that GIS is going to be a big part of the Agricultural and economical future? Is GIS very accurate?

    • Hi, thank you for your great comment. We need more farmers like you. Unfortunately, as I love GIS, everything isn’t 100% accurate base on the available data that’s collected out there. This is why I seek to provide you with the right tools to get you one step closer at a time. If you’re still looking around the best areas to farm, review the competition, and select the right equipment. Hold on to your horses because I will be providing a service soon. I am inviting farmers to join my blog channel to share their experiences through my website for viewers to read Visit Here. Except it will specifically only be in California. So, suppose you live outside of the state. In that case, I collect my information by visiting your county’s Agriculture Department by visiting their website and requesting information about the farmers as it is public information in their public record. Based on your type of farm. Visit my Garden Page to help you select your type of growing methods (greenhouses, hydroponics, and more). Last, if you want to select the best equipment to collect realistic data, with an approximate error of 5-meters and computer equipment to start your workstation. Visit Here

  7. Hi John,

    I’m not a farmer but I see that it’s very important to check out the landscapes in the way you have shown in this article in order to get every little bit of knowledge about how the plants can be grown in the best way. It is very interesting to read, because I certainly know that agriculture is important to everyone of us. So I guess, if I’d be a landowner in some future time, your software / app which is hopefully ready by then will help me to plant my own food and plants. For example, I’d love to have my own Aloe Vera to make body lotion out of it (did you know this: when you got sunburn, only put Aloe Vera Gel on the burnt spots of your skin BEFORE the sun goes down, and every thing’s gonna be alright).
    I’d also love to grow my own cereal grass, because it’s a very good power food. I’d have lots of ideas on which plants I’d love to grow. Thanks for this very important and interesting article.


    • Thank you for your comments. As I hope to provide valuable service to learn about your environment. Coming soon, my website will provide requests if there are specific crops by joining our website subscription page following California professional organic farmers. So you won’t need to reinvent the wheel. If you are ever looking for ways to grow your plants at home. Visit Garden Page, followed by detailed research. Hope it helps, and a great day. 

  8. I am still just totally confused by a gps data collector.  I really don’t understand what kind of data is being collected or how you get the data input LOL.  I guess this is not something for an individual, but for companies and such?  In today’s age, I agree that data is necessary and a way to determine needs, or what needs to be delivered.  But I am still totally confused LOL

    • I appreciate your honest feedback. As we grow to learn, define using the right tools and methods. As I agree, GIS isn’t for everybody. It shares its pros and cons. GIS is a growing field, and you can learn more visit the main page leading to this blog. Enjoy Here.

  9. A very interesting and unique topic! I always had a big garden growing up and have since worked to increasing the size of what I grow after I got my own house, but I have never had experience with the large scale that is suggested in this article. Although I would love to! I love the idea of growing things on my own and for myself and being able to help others would be an added bonus. With this technology, we could make huge improvements in agriculture.

  10. This article is a very insightful piece. My experience using GPS data and ArcGIS is somewhat limited compared to your examples, but I know how valuable the data (interpreted correctly) can be. 

    For myself, I used them in an ecological manner – collecting data on the native forest regeneration in one area and then measuring the spread of particular mammalian pests in another.

    When it comes to the sector your article discusses, I live in an area of New Zealand that primarily relies on a crop-based agricultural economy, and I know of several “new generation” farmers who are using drones to collect data on their farms and, I can only assume, are using the services of GIS experts to make this data usable for them.

    This technology will undoubtedly lead to more informed decisions regarding optimal land use for cropping!

    • As we grow our services to provide new information using GIS, enjoy visiting our research page for any user to review new findings. Coming soon, we are collecting data from California Farms to analyze how they select their crops based on their growing location which could benefit everyone around the world will be available on our Research Page

      Learn more about GIS Here.

  11. A very interesting read, and yes, the need for data has become imperative in this day and age.
    Tracing and recording all things accurately will always provide better results and one can only imagine how it might be used in ten years from now or what upgrades may have been made for reaping benefits.

    I thought it an interesting point about the stats in California but also the need to keep human movement logs as well. While I’m not a farmer I can imagine that that any crop surplus could or would be sent in any direction need after servicing local priorities.

    Hopefully as time goes on the cons will be overcome with more new tech building even better sustainability processes

  12. Data analysis is an important aspect of any human activity. I can only imagine how important this can be in the agricultural sector. And with technologies like GPS being so integrated to our everyday lives I can see the importance to have these systems in order to grow and expand in areas that would not be possible without them.

    • Thank you for your feedback. If you ever seek a recommended GPS that is easy to use and at a reasonable price. Consider the Bad Elf ProOne of my pros is it can connect with Bluetooth to your android, apple iPad to increase your accuracy markings. Also, it’s cheaper than a Garmin. I hope it helps. 

  13. You have deomonstrated that data collection is very important in the future of agriculture. GIS technology seems to be a cutting edge advancement due to providing precise and needed information data about agricultural practices in the natural environment. Modern day farmers realize that in order to be successful they need to use Geospatial science as it has become an important modern analysis tool to use to help manage resources wisely and to increase food productivity.helping to minimize the effects of natural disasters which can cause extensive damage and permanent loss. You have written a very valuable and thought provoking article that will provide much value.

    • I am happy to provide more information about our online website services. As mentioned before, everyone shares a focus on building applications that support agricultural industries. As members share information to increase crop yield, decrease environmental impact, improve supply chain management, provide better customer service, etc. I hope you share your story on our blog channel by Visiting Here

  14. It was a very informative piece. This is a demonstration of cutting-edge innovation. Agricultural data gathering is critical since it helps increase production and distribution and keeps tabs on how well agricultural techniques are doing over time.
    According to this article, there may be some negatives, but, in my opinion, the advantages far exceed the disadvantages. Thank you for sharing.


  15. Thank you very much for this valuable detailed post about GIS data collection. I actually agree with you. Today is a time where everything is moving forward with technology. So we must get technical support for this agricultural industry as well. And I think ArcGIS is one of the best ways to use it. Because it has a simple interface. Keep posting like this.

  16. I wasn’t familiar with all the intricacies of GIS but your article has been quite educational. With growing populations and the need for more efficient farming, it sounds like GIS has a lot of promise for a variety of agricultural uses. It must be quite helpful for planning purposes. This sounds like quite a development in ways to find new spaces that could be used in the future. It’s important to plan for the future and for those involved in farming (and other businesses), GIS obviously is going to be the wave of the future. Thanks for sharing all of this insightful information.

    • Thank you for reading our article. We hope that you found the information to be helpful. It is always a pleasure meeting new people interested in GIS, and we would love to hear more about what you do and how you plan to use GIS in your work. If you want, we can also connect you with one of our members who can answer any questions and offer a demo to download for future surveys.


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