Geospatial data collection is one of the important tasks for many spatial information users. Geospatial data collection may include remote sensing data, field data and other in-house GIS data conversion processes (i.e. scanning, georeferencing, digitizing, etc.). Among them, field data collection is one of the first steps for spatial information users, especially for geographers, geologists, biologists, crop scientists, ecologists, etc. Field data collection is required for several reasons, such as collecting Ground Control Points (GCPs), ground truth data collection for result validation, collecting soil contaminated sites, plant or animal species, and gathering public opinions for retail market analysis in order to analyze the spatial distribution patterns of objects and information on their associated attributes. Accurate field data collection is also necessary for adequate spatial data analysis and proper decision making.
Traditional field data collection (i.e. pen-and-paper based) is a time consuming and bulky task. For example, we need to prepare basemaps, collect an ancillary dataset, and other paperwork. This is not practical to use in real-time disaster information collection, which occurs in unpredictable places and requires a quick emergency response. However, recent developments in mobile communication, Global Navigation Systems, the Internet and portable computational devices such as Netbooks or Ultra Mobile Personal Computers (UMPC) allow us to conduct field data collection in a timely manner. Moreover, under the client-server setting for field data collection, a field user may take advantage of digital repositories prepared for data collection (i.e. basemaps, satellite images and other ancillary data), as well as information resources more generally available via the Web . For example, use of Web Map Service (WMS) to access Google Maps or Microsoft Bing Maps data from GIS applications via a HTTP interface. It can provide Google Map or Microsoft Bing Maps image data to any GIS applications that can use a WMS service for raster data. This can eliminate the time for basemap preparation and other image processing tasks.
Perhaps the most exciting area of computer system development continues to be in hand-held devices such as personal digital assistants (PDA), UMPCs, Netbooks and smart phones. A smartphone is a mobile phone that offers a more advanced computing ability and connectivity than a phone with contemporary features. They are much more efficient in form factor (size, shape, weight, etc.), chip type, internal storage capacity, battery lifetime and operating system compared to desktop computers. Along with hardware development, the …