I am looking for a feature list that surveyors would like to have in the their data collectors and survey computers in the field. I am building a application that will be very inexpensive and wont need 2K computers. It will run on your android cell phone or android tablet. So you can have a data collector for a couple hundred dollars (your cell phone is just doing duty) or with a $150 Android Tablet with a 5 inch screen to a as much as you want for a state of the art tablet. But the key to this is I want to make a great application with unique and outstanding features for a price that is in the 200 to 300 dollar mark. Some of the features I am looking at is Instant data share (Even file for a copy protection on this) Where all people on a crew can sync there data with each other in the field and with the home office in real time. (As the point is saved it will be uploaded by means of Internet connection IE wifi or cellular. This is a two way sync pulling the data back from any other device and the home office. The application will also do least squared in the field.  By request of my uncle a PLS here in Michigan who requested this software and is my Guinea Pig for the software. When he was looking for new software and the software was $2K+ I think that is insane. Now this is not my Day job this is my free time project. But if I can make a living doing it I would do it for a living and help every one here I would. So start giving me feature request. Argue the features pros and cons. I am trying to build a great application for all of you. I have 2000 Surveyors here to let me know what you want and need. So help me give it to you. 


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Basic Cogo functions, triangle solution, resection, gps localization, one I have not seen is gps localization holding one point and bearing to 2nd pt with scale (usually 1.000)selectable.  Another I find usfull is P-Code, but the p-code should store the actual description ex 100 = power pole, you would type in 100 but power pole would be in the description. another routine I have not seen but would be helpful is in traversing, the same bearing should be repeated, so if you have a number of points on a line it would save keystrokes.  the program should also have seperate control file, that would take president over file using when conflict exists.  GPS should be recordable and export to OPUS acceptable Rinex without fuss, so one can get good coords on the base. program should xport ascii, dxf and raw files.  files should be time stamped.  also when shooting reflectorless, option should be to record elevation as 0, so the shots dont confuse the tin (not to mention the CAD operator) and finally the program should have the ability to log on to web and throw out corrections (NTRIP)to the rover for fast topo and TBM's

OK. I will have to put some good consideration into them. P CODE I already had plans for. As well as aschii raw Timex file formats. I will have to look into the control file. I am using an SQL database on android to store all the files. That way the only limit o will file size is SD card size and everything can be "keyed" with a token. The token is a marker that is randomly generated so that no two are ever the same. This token allows the day to be sent back and forth between devices and either be updated.. tokens be the same or added as a new item tokens different. So if say there were two or three teams surveying they would all have the same data as each shots completion and the clicking of save. It will be uploaded to the internet and pulled back down and synchronized onto their database. Three would also be a server at the office when using this mode. This server would be the central repository for the .synchronized data. This data can be reviewed by other team members in real time shot by shot to view how the survey is building out. I will have to come up with a way to make the elevation or reflectorless shot be auto raged for speeding IP key strokes.


All great ideas!  I'm glad to see this post.  It is nice to know that field data can be collected and shared almost instantly with the office and visa versa.  My main concern at this point is that in areas with spotty cell phone coverage, there may be an interval of time between data gathered and data shared.  If a surveyor has to wait to get to the top of the hill to share the data, and the phone gets dropped in some water that fries the phone, is there some sort of backup?

SD card is the local file storage just like you have in a current data collector. And they are pretty solid. Perfect no but figuring its the same as we currently use inmost robotics and gnss systems its as good as can be had. But nothing is perfect but I can't see anything better with out re inventing the wheel. So there is the real time and then there is the lo al SD card. I want ideas and that is an excellent question. I figure the more help the better the software.

I am not getting a lot of help here this is disappointing. Well I hope more people can start tossing stuff at the wall so it sticks. Here is what I have going so far.

Feature set


SQLite Database

Touch to continue survey line (One this is as best I can describe it (Remember I am not a surveyor) is when you are doing lines such as EM or CL you can touch the drawing on your screen (You get a real time drawing in 3D as you shoot points) and when you shoot your next point it will continue that line to that next point.) I remember when I was a rodman in College I would do Top of Bank Bottom of Ditch Top of Bank Ect... Well we would walk a straight line across the road. This would also build the line down the road and color code all the CL Edge of Metal ect together.

OpenGL 3D Mesh of your survey/drawings (Open GL is what modern video games use. Think PlayStation or Xbox) in the field before you leave the field they are rendered shot by shot in real time. No waiting to see what you have when you get back to the office. You will be able to zoom in/out and rotate the graphics in any direction. 

FieldSYNC - I am calling this the sharing of data in near real time (WIFI and or Cellular connection required) with the home office and other survey teams in the field. All data has AES encryption on it and can be viewed as soon as it is saved across the network by any other user on the project (not all users of the software. just those in your company/team that you want to access the data) if a connection is not available the data is cached local until a connection is available (All data is stored local on the SD "Secure Data" Card for the entire survey regardless of connection availability). When the data is sent up to the remote server at the home office all changes are downloaded back to the remote user and the drawings are updated in real time. This changed data is merged and stored in the local database on the SD card with all other data until deleted by the survey team at a time of their choosing. The limit of the database is only limited by the size of the SD card currently that's 16 GB on some or 32 GB on most android devices or about 100 Billion Data points in my database for a 16GB. Basically you can have every survey point and GPS point you have ever had and never have to purge or delete your data.

Least Squared - Well this was requested by my uncle for which this whole project started. I have not even started this feature but it WILL be in version 1.0 at some level. 

Shoot turn and store (Building corner, Telco Pole, ect)



Triangle Solution


GPS Localization - Tentative

Import/Expot from Database on  the SD card would be CSV, Text, ASCII, EXCEL, other formats to follow as I learn how to import and export them. :) IE Rinex, COORS, DXF and others.

Import and Export can also be done on the FieldSYNC computer in the office and all data is sent to the field unit by wifi or cellular to the unit. 


Dan, It would be really great if you would be able to put out a beta of this as you progress.  I think that you would be able to get a lot more feedback--just a thought!  I'm a hands on person and having something to look at would be helpful, and give more ideas as to what would be good to have.

Some things that I would like to see would be:

Inverse functions--Point to Point, Point to Line

COGO functions--Bearing Bearing intersect, point in direction, intersection, offset

Repetition shots--multiple shot capability with the option to ignore elevations

Along with your Shoot, Turn & Store, would be distance offset (ie shoot the prism and have the ability to put in a distance offset left or right to a feature--say a fence line)

Thank you for your posting this, and working on this project!


I will post create something in the near future prob mid to late feb. it is in Alpha (Pre Beta) right now. Click a function and it may not be there and crash the software state. but it is coming along. I do have a LONG ways to go to create a survey pro or microsurvey application. But it will come along.

PS what android device do you have? so I can make sure to line you up as a tester. I will be keeping it very small the first few times but you are my first guinea pig outside of my uncle to volunteer. 


Hi Dan,

I've got a Motorola DroidX, and hopefully soon a Droid Razr.


Well I am making it so that either one will run it. So you are good either way. I am running into screen size issues on the LG Vortex. My girl friend has one and the screen is so small (3.2" vs the X,X2,Galaxy ect 4"+ Size) that its tough to get all my data on the screen. 

Side note.. Have you ever used an Otterbox? I sell Otterbox phone and accessory cases. I keep my X2 in one and it looks brand new. My brothers X went for a swim in a lake and came out alive too... 


It would be great to see a data collecting software for android, soon there will be available the Panasonic Toughpad a rugged tablet in 7 and 10 inch size.
I think that any new field sofware needs to have good graphics, to use maps on the field, to use .dxf input or attached .dxf files for staking out. Different types of stake out methods, different choices to draw the map already on the field. Sure these are only few features, and I was not thinking too much, but I will try to collect my ideas and share it with you.

Hello everyone Sorry I have been away for about half a week. I have been building the future of survey software.. OK I know I am full of poo. But how about a good inexpensive program. I am building that.

Sounds good Nick (If its OK if I call you that?). I own a computer company and Panasonic is actually late to the game for a rugged android. But they will probably do a great job. They make some tough stuff. 

Just so everyone has a weekly update on my software. It is crashing on a regular basis.. Thank you thank you the applause is wonderful.. BUT... It is doing some great stuff already. I am getting data from total stations by Bluetooth and can take a point and calculate a new point and set a third point from it with the same accuracy as a TDS recon but I calculate it faster and that is on my Android phone. I can set multiple points and inverse and turn and shoot sideshot and a few other functions.

It is bastard ugly right now. There is no polish on it. It 's crash issues are with import and export of Data like COOR rinex data for GPS, DXF, It does do CSV, Text and Excel with no issues. I am trying to learn the Rinex data format and seeing as I have never worked with it before I think I am dumping data into the wrong fields for calculations.  But this is a work in progress. if anyone is artistic I am looking for Icons (what the little pictures of things should be) as well as the software Icon.

FYI if you ever want to use this software you have to have a Device with a 3.7" Screen or larger (I just can not fit the data on a small screen. I tried with an LG Vortex and I have big fingers I just could not work the screen well. It is doable but not recommended. You will need  Android OS 2.2 or 4.X I am not supporting Android Prior to 2.2, 80% of devices are 2.2 and above. So that should cover most and the rest I hate to say will need to upgrade. I just can not support everything to everyone. I will support 2.2 for at least the first couple versions 1.x 2.x that will cover this year 2012 and 2013. then we shall re evaluate the 2.2 family. Tablets run 3.x and 4.X they can run 2.X software but I can not evaluate what 3.x will do as far as looks for the 2.2 version of the software. I dont currently have a tablet that has 3.x to test on. But when I get 1.x beta rolling I will probably buy one for testing. But I am not spending the money on toys when my time and money can be better spent on getting a working copy out the door and the better half happy. SHE WOULD KILL ME IF I BUY ONE IF I AM NOT MAKING MONEY OFF THIS YET. Shes feisty.. I get "dagger eyes" when is start programming at midnight because I get a moment of clarity or idea for making the software work better. 

I have have just over 200 hours into this software but I have learned allot (Writing applications for Android, Syncing data over unstable connections (ie Cell), and Bluetooth communications for applications) and I hope that it will benefit us all because I have not tried allot of these techniques and even other programmers I have talked to have not tried to learn all three at the same time in one application. 



I need to get feed back from Surveyors who might be interested in using a  software package I have written for the Land Surveyor.  Utilizes all computations required in the field of surveying.  As a professional in the Land Surveying field I use it extensively and I want to make it better and more useful to other students and professionals alike.  I have a free version available, it is designed to run on Microsoft Windows.  Just hoping for some assistance.  It can be downloaded at:
Thanks for passing this along.


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