May 17, 2022

Data Collection with Global Mapper Mobile and Bad Elf

Written by: Mackenzie Mills


The Global Mapper suite of products includes desktop software and Global Mapper Mobile, an iOS and Android app allowing users to take data into the field and use GPS-enabled data collection methods. Pro versions of Global Mapper and Global Mapper Mobile unlock the additional ability to connect an external GNSS receiver to the program and use RTK correction to improve the accuracy of data collection. While the desktop software Global Mapper Pro can perform these functions, the use of Global Mapper Mobile Pro on a smaller smartphone or tablet device streamlines field data collection with a more focused tool for the job.

When collecting data, the accuracy of the features being created is a primary concern. Bad Elf, a maker of cutting-edge GNSS receivers, offers models that satisfy GIS users’ accuracy requirements from mapping down to survey-grade. When paired with Global Mapper Mobile Pro, a Bad Elf receiver completes the package allowing users to easily collect high-accuracy data.  

Bad Elf Flex

The Bad Elf Flex GNSS receiver is a top-of-the-line, affordable positioning unit that is capable of high-level positional accuracy. With an integrated RTK network available from Bad Elf through a subscription, the Bad Elf Flex makes it easy to boost the accuracy of collected data to survey-grade using its dynamic token system. As an easily portable receiver, the Bad Elf Flex can be used as a handheld unit or easily mounted on a pole depending on your individual data collection method. Bad Elf Flex is compatible with Windows, iOS, and Android devices, making it a perfect data collection partner for Global Mapper and Global Mapper Mobile Pro. Providing additional control over the settings and options used in data collection, the Bad Elf Flex screen can display settings, accuracy readings, and satellite constellation info, so you can be sure the data being collected meets the needed accuracy requirements.

Data Collection with Bad Elf and Global Mapper

Data collection via Global Mapper Mobile often begins with the configuration of reference data and feature template layers in the desktop software. Bringing reference street map, imagery, terrain, and vector data into a workspace, these layers can all be shared with Global Mapper Mobile and used in the field to provide context when collecting new data points, lines, and polygons. A Feature Template created in Global Mapper is a plan for data collection to ensure that needed attribute data is entered as features are created in Global Mapper Mobile. Using the convenient Mobile Data Management tool, a map package can be shared with a nearby mobile device running Global Mapper Mobile.

Map data shared to a mobile device is stored locally and can be opened in the Global Mapper Mobile app without any network connection. The Pro version of the app allows users to connect to external GNSS receivers via Bluetooth in order to enhance positional accuracy for display and data collection. Without setting up this advanced GPS connection, the internal location services of the device will be used to display the GPS position on the map and collect data. 

A Bluetooth-connected GNSS receiver can be selected and used in Global Mapper Mobile Pro through the Advanced GPS options.

Through Global Mapper Mobile Pro’s built-in NTRIP client, an RTK correction source can be accessed and applied to the advanced GPS position and any GPS data collection completed with an RTK compatible GNSS receiver like the Bad Elf Flex. With a receiver connected to the mobile device and an RTK connection configured, the NMEA stream, position accuracy information, and the detected satellite constellation can be viewed in Global Mapper Mobile Pro. 

Global Mapper Mobile’s built-in NTRIP client allows users to log in and use any RTK correction source.

After setting up the GNSS receiver and RTK connection, the GPS position display will be enabled with on-screen information showing the coordinate location and current position accuracy. Using a GPS-enabled digitizing mode in Global Mapper Mobile, points, lines, and polygons can be created using automatic tracklogs based on time or distance intervals, and manual taps on the touch screen.

Raw NMEA data can be viewed and recorded as the GPS position is displayed on the reference map data and used for data collection.

Vector features generated in Global Mapper Mobile can be assigned to a new, existing, or feature template layer in the map, and attributes can be added to enhance the data features being collected. Once data collection is complete, the map can be saved on the mobile device and used later, or exported as a map package and shared to a Global Mapper desktop installation for GIS editing and analysis. 

The Global Mapper software suite and Bad Elf GNSS receivers pair seamlessly to provide all the needed GIS tools to individual users and organizations looking to collect high-accuracy field data. To see Global Mapper Mobile in action with Bad Elf Flex, check out this recent webinar.

If you would like to explore data collection in Global Mapper Mobile, download the mobile app from the iOS App Store or Google Play Store, and get your 14-free trial of Global Mapper Pro today. More information on the Bad Elf Flex and other receivers and tools from Bad Elf can be explored here on their website. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us!

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