Smart phone data field collection

​One of the features of Apple’s iPhone™, is the ability to set GPS
coordinates to any picture taken with the device. This option can be
activated in the phone’s privacy settings. This option allows photos
that are uploaded to sites such as Google Maps, to be placed in its
geographic location. A secondary aspect of this feature is that the GPS
coordinates from the photos can be uploaded into a GIS program using
the same concept of providing a point representing the image. The
Village of Wheeling Capital Projects Department is interested in using
the iPhone to tag pictures of various projects out in the field, and
then import the photo locations into GIS to then create maps of the
locations.

The GIS Department and a few members of the Capital Projects
department went to a neighborhood in the village to begin testing out
the GPS photo tagging functionality. Various pictures were taken of a
sidewalk project. The pictures were then taken back to the office and
uploaded onto the village computer system. A script was then run to
extract the GPS coordinates from each photo and place them into a
spreadsheet that could be then mapped using GIS. The results showed the
photo locations to be +/- 10’ from its exact location, giving them a
close, but not an exact accuracy level. The level of geographic
precision on the iPhone™ is usually lower due to its normal functions,
but the level works for the projects the Village plans on using the
device for. By using the GPS coordinates in the iPhone™, the Village is
able to map out photo locations and then display them online for
village staff.