Collage of mobile GIS uses in the field.

Mobile GIS

The BLM relies heavily on geospatial information to manage public lands for a wide variety of uses. Data collected in the field is critical to making land management decisions and is integral to a ground-up approach. On a daily basis, staff throughout the Bureau collect geospatial data and synchronize it with BLM enterprise GIS databases using Mobile GIS. Mobile GIS provides a hardware/software framework for integration of field data collection and GIS.

Nationally, BLM has adopted advanced, user-friendly, mobile data collection applications and techniques that streamline field data collection. ‘Smart’ data entry allows for reduction of manual and duplicate data entry, pick lists for more accurate data entry, overall improvement in data quality, and seamless integration of field-collected data into national datasets. All this results in a huge cost savings to the BLM by reducing labor hours and increasing overall data quality.

To collect and view enterprise GIS data in the field, BLM uses a suite of Esri-based, multi-platform mobile applications including, Collector for ArcGIS, Survey123, and the further customized S1 Mobile Mapper1. When connected to a network these mobile applications are able to synchronize with enterprise GIS databases via BLM ArcGIS Online, which is a cloud-based ESRI GIS services solution. Once GIS data is downloaded to a mobile device, staff can collect field data without a network connection and sync it back upon reconnection.

The BLM’s Mobile GIS strategy is a collaborative effort throughout the organizational levels. It provides hardware and software recommendations for field data collection to ensure that procurement and associated policies will meet the needs of field staff. Mobile devices are tested for spatial accuracy, battery life, and screen visibility annually. Cost, ruggedization, and storage options are also considered.

BLM recognizes the value of geospatial information and is committed to utilizing the latest technology, applications, and security protocols to achieve successful data collection as an integral part of BLM’s geospatial strategy.

1 S1 Mobile Mapper is a BLM/USFS built, Android-only, application that is built off of the ESRI ArcGIS Runtime SDK for Android and can be downloaded via Google Play.