Table of Contents
- How are field data collected for use with SMART?
There are two broad categories of data collection: manual data collection, involving filling in of paper forms together with a GPS device, and automated data collection, involving use of handheld electronic devices such as PDAs, tablets and smartphones (Fig. 3). Both are designed to help rangers collect information in a standardised way. This allows information collected over time, or by different observers, to be comparable, which is a critical factor in studies employing many field rangers or field staff. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages that need to be evaluated when considering which particular method to employ in a conservation area. For the purposes of this handbook, we will focus instruction on automated data collection using SMART Mobile. (For further information about manual data collection using SMART please see: SMART Technical Training Manual: Module 3: Patrols).
Fig. 3. Field data collection methods using SMART
Handheld devices such as PDAs, tablets and smartphones may further simplify and speed up the process of data collection and transfer when used in conjunction with SMART Mobile or CyberTracker Classic, an application for the collection and visualization of field data. SMART Mobile and CyberTracker currently run off of the Android Operating System (OS), with plans for an Apple iOS version in the near future. CyberTracker Classic remains available on Windows Mobile.
Important: The desktop application of CyberTracker is only available for the Windows OS, meaning that the import or export of Patrol/Survey Configurable Models or data collected from the field cannot be currently done on a Mac OS or Apple computer not running Windows.
SMART Mobile/CyberTracker are used to record observations based on a configured version of your SMART data model (see: SMART Technical Training Manual: Module 9: CyberTracker Plug-In and Smart Mobile). GPS waypoint and tracklog and observation data are collected simultaneously and uploaded to SMART in a semi-automated process (see details below).
SMART Mobile is powered by CyberTracker (CT), offering functionality and user experience enhancements specifically requested by the SMART user community, as well as much tighter integration with the SMART desktop software and SMART Connect. SMART Mobile uses a GPS-enabled mobile device to collect both observations (text and/or icon-based data entry and digital images) and GPS data in a single unit. Patrols and observations can then be transferred directly into SMART desktop by connecting the device, or remotely through SMART Connect (see: SMART Technical Training Manual: Module 13: Connect Plug-in) in semi-automated processes.
Modern easy to use user interface SMART Mobile has a modern easy to use user interface:
|Fig. 4a. The user interface includes smooth scrolling, easy to use lists and high-resolution icons.|
Support for more environments
|Fig. 4b. Dark mode, multi-language support and large fonts.|
Modern state of the art mapping The state-of-the-art mapping in SMART Mobile, includes the ability to complement online base maps with offline maps generated directly from SMART desktop:
|Fig. 5. Pinch-zoom, map rotation and navigation.|
Navigation to previous observations Includes detailed sighting history views. This feature turns SMART mobile into a functional navigation device:
|Fig. 6. View your sighting history in the field, individual sightings can be edited without disrupting patrols/surveys & supports users to navigate to previously visited locations.|
Other mapping features
- Sightings, Incidents, Tracks are visible
- Offline maps overlaid on base map
- 10 online base maps: OpenStreetMap, National Geographic, Satellite, Oceans, etc.
- Offline mode where no basemap is required
- Layers can be turned on and off
- Navigation with realtime pointer
- Detailed data
- Satellite view
- Smooth panning, pinch-zoom and rotation
- Rotate to north at top button
- Zoom in, zoom out buttons
- Follow modes: user, follow, navigation
- Co-ordinates in decimal degrees, degrees minutes seconds, degrees decimal minutes and UTM
Multi-leg patrols Patrol type can now be changed while the patrol is in progress. Also, patrols can now be easily paused and resumed. When paused the track timer is disconnected, ensuring that SMART delivers an even more accurate measure of effort:
|Fig. 7. New functionality for multi-leg patrols allows changes to patrol metadata on the fly.|
Desktop demo version for training SMART Mobile also has a desktop demo version for Windows which works exactly the same as the mobile version that can be used for training. The GPS simulation can be customized for your location as part of the training.
Robust kiosk mode SMART Mobile supports a robust kiosk mode that locks the device for use only by SMART Mobile. Kiosk mode can be exited with a preconfigured pin.
Simple, Customizable, Themes Ability to customize the look and appearance of SMART Mobile from within SMART selecting theme colors and your own project icon.
Independent incidents during patrols/surveys During or outside of a patrol or survey, observations can be recorded independently from a patrol or survey. These observations are recorded as independent incidents in SMART:
|Fig. 8. If you are collecting ecological records data on a mission but have a protocol of recording human-wildlife conflict or poaching signs independently, b) you can now easily record these as independent incidents without interrupting your overall data collection|