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Handhelds Hardware

Integrated Pocket PC, GPS and Laser Range Finder 169

Posted by michael
from the you'll-put-your-eye-out dept.
freitasm writes "Geekzone is reporting on Ike, made by Surveylab. Ike is a handheld data capture device that integrates GPS, an electronic compass, a laser distance meter, an inclinometer, a digital camera, and a Pocket PC 2003 handheld in a single unit, ideal for GIS and other surveys."
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Integrated Pocket PC, GPS and Laser Range Finder

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  • Detail level (Score:2, Informative)

    by savagedome (742194) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @02:52PM (#8241006)
    and the built-in digital camera captures images of up to 1280 x 1024 pixels

    Thats only a little higher that 1MP. Don't the GIS surveys need more detail than that?

  • by plcurechax (247883) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @02:54PM (#8241023) Homepage
    GPS, Differential GPS, and WAAS isn't accurate enough for high quality survey work. All of these of limited accuracy of more 1 meter, whereas any decent survey should measure error hopefully less than 10 millimeters.

  • by CrankyFool (680025) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:01PM (#8241092)
    Hand-held optical devices that measure distance have been around for a while -- I have the Bushnell Yardage Pro 500 which lets me get a distance reading up to about 1000 yds. Hell, Bushnell makes range finders specifically for golfers.

    The only problem with these that I've found is that you need some decent flat surface perpendicular to the laser to reflect it -- so trying to laze, say, a building works pretty well, but trying to laze the flag on the green would be problematic (and I've had issues trying to laze some mammals and such at longer distances when trying to set my sights).
  • Its not new (Score:2, Informative)

    by fozzylyon (696418) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:03PM (#8241111)
    It sounds like the old P40ES system that county and state surveyors have been using for over a decade. A co-worker was even involved in the P40's developement and said that it was a simple task of relaying the opt signal to the three receivers (compass, inclinometer, ld meter). The only NEW developement I see here is the "digitality" of the compass and the addition of the digital camera. Besides that though, I doubt that its worth the retraining of a personnel who are adept at working with the previous equipment. If there had been a need for this device, SURE. But our tax dollars shouldn't be spent on the latest and greatest if it isn't an improvement.
  • by addie (470476) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:07PM (#8241169)
    Perhaps for engineering survey work, but for geological mapping, this tool would be a god-send. 1 meter accuracy is more than enough to get a general idea of the lay of a formation. A notebook would still be necessary to take down strike/dip measurements, but those could then be easily correlated to the GIS info back at the camp. The digital camera could also be useful for keeping track of variations in color, consolidation, weathering features, etc on samples in a formation.
  • by JGski (537049) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:07PM (#8241170) Journal
    $12K a pop! That won't be on my Christmas list for a while. I'm sure people will whip up an open-source clone project. Interestingly this a lot like something I "invented" as a teen (on paper anyway, I still have the drawings in my garage)! I won't give away my age, except to say that was more than one patent life ago. :-)

    BTW, the secret to finding prices on a web site for products that "don't list price" is to check the press releases - reporters tend to ignore press leads that don't have an estimated price. It would not look good with readers to present rave article for a product none of them can afford or budget for.

  • by Jaywalk (94910) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:14PM (#8241233) Homepage
    There are several devices for this, from the $20 monocular to a $300 laser rangefinder.
    Yeah, but this thing checks the incline as well. It's a lot different hitting to a green that's a few feet above you to one that's a few feet below. On the down side, the site says the range of the laser is only 100 meters, so its current form would be pretty useless for golf.
  • by Hartree (191324) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:15PM (#8241242)
    I think that's NZ dollars, so it's about $8400 US. Still pretty pricey.
  • by mr_lithic (563105) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:17PM (#8241264) Homepage Journal
    This would be perfect for real estate agents who need to combine their pda's and electronic distance measurers but it seems a little imprecise and lightweight for real survey work.

    The title of top survey data collector is still the HP-48GX [johann-sandra.com].

    When we ran survey we would try to grab the tripod with the HP-48 bracketed on it. This little data collector would make our lives easier, reduce the overall time for the survey and increase the time in the pub. All very good things.

    HP-48GX - Good data bucket and a good deal cheaper than the grand that Topcon and such want for their Data Collection handhelds.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:19PM (#8241286)
    any decent survey should measure error hopefully less than 10 millimeters.

    Wow, that's really an uninformed statement.

    There are plenty of apps where low-res is appropriate.

    In my line (wildlife biology/gis), it is rare to require anything higher than 1 m resolution. And really, the datasets we use most commonly are 28.5 m res.
  • by io-waiter (745875) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:30PM (#8241391)
    Well yes and no, depending of type of surveying you are doing. I think that its impossible to find one handheld today that is an useful tool for all type of survey work. Most surveying use aerial photos as a base, unless they are corrections or add-ons to old maps, or based on magnetical, sonar, radar or other obscure methods. So photos taken by the survey man himselfs are often of interesting details, but 1024x768 seems low (even if it has good optics)
    Geological surveying
    -Soil, large screen needed, can be done from cars, editing directly onto map.
    -Bedrock or any large boulders what youre after you want good GPS accuray, easy data input (text) and a nice camera.
    -Chemical/water surveying, data input device with nice GPS.
    Economical
    -dGPS or better is needed.
    General factors
    -Precision, dGPS is an bonus in many cases but a must in few, good GPS reception will do in most cases ( few handheld/gps combos has that)
    -Price, most heavy duty, waterproof super handheld thingies cost 6x an ipaq with GPS...
    -Another tool

    /IO-waiter
  • Re:Detail level (Score:3, Informative)

    by theMerovingian (722983) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:40PM (#8241508) Journal
    There are 2 kinds of GPS equipment - mapping grade and survey grade. Survey grade has accuracy down to about 1cm, and mapping grade is generally in the range of 1-10 meter accuracy.

    This thing is mapping grade, but of dubious quality. The world leader (also in New Zealand), is Trimble [trimble.com]. They will run you about 6k for a submeter accurate unit, that is rugged and comes with a good warranty.
  • by mr_lithic (563105) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @03:46PM (#8241586) Homepage Journal
    Best thing for golfers these days is the incredibly expensive (but nice) Suunto G9 [suuntousa.com]. Roughly 800 bucks for a watch . . hem hem sorry - Wristop Computer.

    Uses GPS to work out where you are and then calculates how far you are hitting the ball. Supposely there are a number of popular golf courses available for download so you can tell hole distance etc.

    Must make sense for people who play this silly game. .

  • The $6 version (Score:2, Informative)

    by eggmit (685782) on Tuesday February 10, 2004 @08:07PM (#8244266)

    http://zedev.com/software/rangefinder/ [zedev.com]

    It's an optical rangefinder program for the Pocket PC. The program has a database of images (person, tree, car, etc) of known heights. You hold the Pocket PC at arm's length and resize the image on the screen until it's the same height as the distant image. Based on all that, it calculates the distance to the image.

    You can also specify values like the height of your Pocket PC screen, the length of your arm, or the height of the thing you're measuring (if you want to find the distance to Yao Ming, for instance).

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