Log in to view full website content, join discussions, and to post information.

Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) & Field Data Forms

The process that I am testing at this time employs three components of ESRI's ArcGIS software.  The USGS has a license agreement with ESRI which makes the entire suite of software available to us for free or a very small cost, so I suppose I'm taking advantage of this.   Here is the general setup:

  1. I have a database of important GIS datasets stored on a powerful laptop and backed-up on a portable hard drive.
  2. I run ArcGIS on the laptop, where I have assembled basemaps for major metropolitan areas.  These basemaps have scale dependant visibility, GIS layers are symbolized, and include some geologic information such as AP fault lines, liquefaction potential, geology, etc where available.
  3. ArcGIS can deploy these custom maps to PDA's running ArcPad software ($150 for USGS, $500 for non-USGS).  Modern PDA's with built-in GPS cost from $600 - $$$$. I have done quite a bit of customization to the ArcPad software using VB script.  Customizations include a user information page which will append the user information automatically to data points taken during a data collection session.  This prevents the user from having to input their personal information for each data point collected.  (see CommonPages.pdf)
  4. The user can click a button which provides the option to collect data related to Earthquake Rupture, Landslide, or Liquefaction.  The digital forms have the same information as the paper forms provided to me.  Upon placing a point on the screen, the user is able to input data into digital forms.  (see EQ_points.pdf, note that this is an old summary, but a good example of what the digital forms look like).  Also, I can add other forms to the interface if paper forms are supplied to me (i.e engineering information).
  5. Once data is collected and returned/sent to the person running the ArcGIS basemap (me), this data can be committed to a internet map service (ArcGIS Server software which is now running on a server in Menlo Park).  The internet map will have a http address (posted to SCEC site), where public users/responders can browse the data, (zoom, query, identify, etc), and download the shapefiles if necessary.

Note, I have not tested Satellite phones for transmitting data.  I would like to have an FTP site associated with the internet map website for users to upload data that they wish to be posted on the map.  This is a work in progress and any suggestions are welcome.
I hope this summary helps clarify the process a little.  Please understand I am still working out a lot of kinks in the system and I look forward to having input from SCEC and USGS users for this exercise.
J. Luke Blair
Geographical Information Systems
Earthquake Hazards Team
USGS, Menlo Park, CA

CommonPages.pdf389.98 KB
EQ_Points.pdf1.55 MB
Fault Rupture Form.pdf876 KB
Slope Movement Form.pdf144.62 KB
Liquefaction Form.pdf112.88 KB