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GPS Functionality in SurveyToGo

GPS Overview:

This tutorial will introduce you to the basics of GPS functionality on your device and how it comes to interface with SurveyToGo.
First of all let’s divide it to two parts:

Part 1: GPS Basic Functionality

Part 2: GPS Interface and functionality in SurveyToGo

Part 1: GPS Basic Functionality

A GPS device is basically just a receiver, which means, it cannot “ask” for its location, but only receive it’s location from GPS satellites transmissions.
Although it is very intuitive to think that a GPS receiver on your device can “ask” for its current location and get it immediately, it does not work like that – Basically, assuming you are working on an Android device, Android OS “knows” how to ask for the latest GPS location received from the GPS receiver on your device.
Nowadays, in order to receive any GPS transmissions, your GPS receiver e.g. (Tablet) must be under open skies, if located within any indoor building, the GPS will not be able to receive its location transmissions transmitted by the GPS satellites, as the transmissions just can’t go through the walls and are being blocked.

If a transmission is blocked due to being indoors, Android can get the location any way by using your Wi-Fi connection and\or 3G services, if the location services are configured on your device.
However, getting GPS locations through Wi-Fi\3G are much less precise than the hardware GPS receiver and might look as very in-accurate GPS locations.

GPS is a device which consumes a lot of battery power when used very frequently.
Hence, when using known navigation app’s you can notice your battery power is being consumed very fast.
For example, let’s look on any known GPS application.
In order to be accurate while driving, the App must sample its location very often in order to show you the right location, meaning the app would constantly ask (matter of even 1 second) from the Android OS to get the latest GPS location received by the GPS receiver – being most accurate by paying off the price of very fast battery power consumption.

Therefore, when not running any GPS using app, it is usually better having your GPS device off.
Although if it’s on, probably your default configuration on your device is a very slow sample-rate in order to save battery power.

Part 2: GPS Interface and functionality in SurveyToGo

One of SurveyToGo’s strongest features is its functionality & support of GPS locations within survey interviews.
Profiting in much more accurate data, better quality assurance and surveyor tracking.
In order to enable your GPS functionality within SurveyToGo, please note that the Location Services must be enabled, in addition to the ‘Use GPS’ in SurveyToGo’s settings that must be enabled too.

The default sampling rate for SurveyToGo is 5 minutes, meaning that from the moment you have opened SurveyToGo, every 5 minutes SurveyToGo will ask for the latest GPS location captured by the GPS receiver – you can set this sampling rate.

However, in order to configure and test your GPS functionality in SurveyToGo please read the following tutorial:
How to Validate the GPS is Working
SurveyToGo provides you with a vast variety of GPS functionality focusing on two core features using the GPS Hardware Receiver:

A. GPS Location per Interview
B. GPS Tracking

Let’s go over both features.

A. GPS Location per Interview

GPS Location per Interview feature allows you to get for each interview the location it has been conducted.
SurveyToGo is configured to “ask” for the latest GPS location the GPS receiver has captured at the moment you click the “Run” interview button.
This GPS location is being “connected” to this specific interview and is the location (Latitude & Longitude) you are eventually seeing through the Operations Console for each result and when exporting these results.
How To View Collected GPS Data

However, if an interview is started when no GPS connectivity is available, there are three options.
1st one is to just continue the interview and let it capture the location when there is GPS connectivity, however, this data might not be the precise location the interview has begun and even might not capture any GPS location if there wasn’t any GPS connectivity and no old reading is present.
2nd option, if a GPS location is mandatory for the interview data collection, you can use Force GPS Capturing which doesn’t allow the surveyor to proceed\end the interview unless a GPS location was captured. [Sample-Survey: Force-GPS-Capturing]
3rd option, is to disable this default feature which when enabled, it force’s the GPS to capture only by using the GPS receiver and not from the 3G & Wi-Fi providers.
However, have in mind that this is not recommended to turn this off, as 3G & Wi-Fi providers are not accurate when regarding to GPS locations.

In addition, as this “How to Validate the GPS is Working” tutorial explains, you can configure your GPS readings to have a stale timeouts.
For example, if our device has captured a location an hour ago, and since then our surveyor was indoors – if the surveyor will start a new interview it would ask for the latest GPS location captured, which will be the location captured an hour ago, which is probably not relevant.
Therefore, you can set the Stale Timeout, so any GPS location captured that has passed its stale timeout, will be considered as an old reading and will be ignored.

Last but not least, if you must have constant GPS sampling, you should use this feature:

For example, if you are conducting interviews which are very short (1 minute for example) and\or move location’s very fast (take interviews on bus stations for example), if your sampling frequency is set to 1 minute, you might start an interview that has the location of the previous interview, as it has not yet updated with the latest location sampled.
Therefore, you can use the constant GPS sampling which samples very frequently, such as driving navigation GPS systems.
However, please have in mind that this is feature consumes the battery power very fast due to the need of constant sampling.

B. GPS Tracking

GPS Tracking allows you to track your surveyor’s movement, trace their latest locations and see interview locations.

Here you can find specific overview of its features:
GPS Tracking in SurveyToGo

This feature works a little bit differently from the A. GPS Location per Interview
As I described in feature A an interview location is captured once it is being started.
However, from the moment SurveyToGo is being opened, our system is configured every 10 minutes to capture the surveyor’s location.
These readings will be the readings that will eventually ‘build’ your surveyors route.

The blue pins are these system captured GPS readings that were captured without relating to any specific interview.
While the small S symbol corresponds with a GPS reading captured by an interview that was started.
If your sampling frequency is within 10 minutes, only interviews falling on the 10 minute timeout will show in this route and not all the interviews.
However, this is caused as the route feature is for seeing the route only, and the interviews are just an addition for it.
You can see multiple interview locations by selecting all relevant interviews in the operations console, right clicking them and selecting ‘Show On Map’:

When looking at the ‘Latest Locations’ you would see that latest GPS location captured by the system’s 10 minute default time out, disregarding the interview location capturing.

(This time out sampling frequency is not changeable)

If you wish to disable this capturing, you can do so through the GPS settings, by disabling the following feature:

However, please note that this must be enabled in order to track the surveyor’s route and latest location.

Further features such as Geo-Fencing and Location questions are provided too:

That’s it!

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