Tag Archives: Data Collection

Fulcrum Mobile Data Collection

2 Apr

I recently posted on Mapping a Graveyard with Field Assets App. In this post, I am going to show how I collect GIS data in the field using my iPhone and the free Fulcrum App.

I created a free account on the Fulcrum website. After creating the account I started a new project and created a form.

Use the tools available on the left to create any type of form. Load the form in to your project and it’s ready to use.


Now I have a project and a form to capture my field data.

Using TileMill – a tool for creating maps and exporting as mbtiles – I added some data – Census Blocks for Albuquerque – and exported the map as a mbtile.

Next, upload the map to Fulcrum.

With the map loaded, you now have a project,  a form, and a map – so let’s get started.


Open up the iPhone App and select your project. You will see your project and current location in a basemap.

Click the maps button on the bottom of the screen, you will see which basemap you are using and an option to upload your own. Upload your own and select your mbtile map.

My tile is not the best, I just loaded up a very small file with almost no zoom. You should, and can, do much better.

Now that I have my Census Blocks in an mbtile, I can collect data using my own basemap. What I like even more than having my own basemap is that I can download it and use it without having internet access.

now you can add a data point.






And, see the accuracy of the point by swiping the top of the screen.

I have been told that you will be able to manually place points – instead of using current location – in future updates of the App.

What I like about this App is the ability to customize my data collection forms with ease, add my own basemaps, and use my maps offline. Also, with the free version I can export my data as CSV and KML – without photos.

Yes, Spatial Networks sells a monthly service with this app. for $9 a month you get 20 forms for a single user and CSV and KML export with photos. For $20 a month you get unlimited forms and users and you can export to CSV, KML, SHP, and GeoJSON. — all with photos.

There are an increasing number of GIS services becoming available online but I am sticking to the ones that allow me to export my data out in the formats I need. Fulcrum lets you export out as GeoJson – I think this is cool for being able to incorporate my data in to my Leaflet.js maps and other applications I build myself.If you use JavaScript, then JSON is an easy way to transfer data.






Mapping a Graveyard with Field Assets For iPhone

19 Mar

There are two old graveyards I pass almost daily in Albuquerque. Through Google, I was able to find an attempt by someone to create a list of all the people buried in these sites. It appears there was a grant at some point to do this work, but over time, without upkeep, many stones have been weathered and the names gone. There are also many small crosses and stones that appear to be marking graves, but there are no names or indications as to who was buried there — if anyone. This would be a great GIS project. At a minimum, I think a point on a map with a popup showing an image of the individual grave or tombstone, and the name if possible.

I have an app on my iPhone – Field Assets – to collect data (another great app for this, especially if you had your own tileserver would be  Fulcrum). I walked over to the graveyard and just took two points as a test of accuracy and to give me something to work with on building a web map.

In the app, I setup an asset type called grave with no attributes other than the default name, image, location, sound clip. Then I added a grave by starting with use current location and fine tuned the actual location. Finally I took a photo of each grave.

The images show the graves on a map – within the app – and a photo of a grave. I can export from the app to a SHP file, CSV, SQL, HTML – this is awesome! The app will export out webpages of your asset that you can modify.

I need more work on this – mostly more time. Once I have all the images and points in the app, I would then create a Leaflet.js map in a website that embeds the images in the popup – an puts the points on an aerial image. The data collection could be done quite quickly and then fine tuned in QGIS at home. The point is that Field Assets or Fulcrum are effective data capture apps for most mapping needs. If you need hardcore accuracy then a cell phone is not going to cut it, but for most of us, it puts GIS data collection capabilities, that were not too long ago way out of reach, in our hands.