UK Caving

TECHNICAL FORUMS => Surveying => Topic started by: Duncan S on May 12, 2016, 09:08:33 am

Title: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Duncan S on May 12, 2016, 09:08:33 am
Having now sorted out getting a DistoX2 (see other thread), it is time to start thinking about getting a suitable PDA.
I located several old threads on the subject, but things move rapidly in the hand held device market. I've seen that some of the best enclosures are no longer available, so the answer may not prove straightforward.

Please can you recommend a suitable PDA and enclosure for use with the DistoX2.
Cheers!
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: SamT on May 12, 2016, 09:15:06 am
I was out surveying last week and Rob was using Topodroid on a small android device.  I'm sure he'll be able to tell you more about it, but it looked good. 

I've always just had an old PDA that is clunky to operate and has no end of connectivity issues.  I guess with a small (old) android phone/tablet, they are cheap as chips and probably much more reliable, plus you can take little snap shots of the survey stations on the phone camera.
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Rob on May 12, 2016, 09:23:54 am
PDA's are old technology IMO. Android "phones" running TopoDroid are significantly more capable.

I use a Z6 off ebay which retails now for £60-70. It is waterproof, bash proof and with excellent battery life (~2 weeks standby). I know some people who even use them as their main phone as well, although it's a little heavier than what i'm used to. http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271870779537 (http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/271870779537)

You could easily spend more and get a better device, something with a bigger screen and that uses a proper stylus may be useful to some for drawing more detailed surveys, but they are more money and typically need another case (making them much bigger).
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Duncan S on May 12, 2016, 11:55:41 am
That's exactly the sort of info I've been after - cheers!
Please keep the suggestions coming  :beer2:
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: 2xw on May 12, 2016, 12:56:50 pm
I agree with using an android device with PocketTopo. I put mine im an otterbox.

The pdas are old, out of date, have low battery life and are a faff.

The android phones last longer, can take pictures of stations, you can get GPS apps for them and if its your main phone I've been able to email Rob .svx files whilst sat outside the cave in Stoney Middleton.
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Topimo on May 12, 2016, 01:11:43 pm
After borrowing Rob's Z6 the other week I have to agree it's a great all in one solution, photos of stations, internet connectivity, GPS, TopoDroid etc etc. Allegedly it's IP68 (a very high waterproof/dustproofing level) although a little paranoia would be healthy here. And cheap enough that if it does break, it's not the end of the world to replace. Small too!

2xw - I've just been talking with our kit officer about getting one of these before exped.
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Spike on May 12, 2016, 02:18:34 pm
I use a Sony Z1 Compact which I already had lying around inside one of these rugged cases (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01AP5R0P2). Admittedly it's for a Z5, but they're the same size - just some buttons are in different places and I need to rig up a way of charging it in the case. The phone itself is waterproof, and the case adds a sizeable layer of ruggedness.

Works well, but capacitive styli are a pain for accurate drawing. I've looked to see if I can get hold of a high resolution, 5 inchish resistive touch screen to cobble my own unit together, but thus far have drawn a blank. If anyone knows where I can get one...
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: cavermark on May 12, 2016, 03:56:15 pm
I agree with using an android device with PocketTopo. I put mine im an otterbox.



do you mean Topodroid?

Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Rob on May 12, 2016, 04:00:36 pm
...Works well, but capacitive styli are a pain for accurate drawing. I've looked to see if I can get hold of a high resolution, 5 inchish resistive touch screen to cobble my own unit together, but thus far have drawn a blank. If anyone knows where I can get one...
A Samsung Note 2 or 3 may be a good option. ~£150 with a 5.5" screen with pointy stylus, and you can get IP67 cases for ~£25.
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: 2xw on May 12, 2016, 04:32:16 pm
Yes i do Mark

We're using what we alresdy have tommy
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: maxf on May 12, 2016, 06:48:27 pm
I just use my android phone in a runners case from eBay. The type that goes on your upper arm. Works well for data xollecting but not so well for drawing
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: andrewmc on October 11, 2016, 12:07:12 am
I know this thread hasn't been posted to in a while but the surveying forum isn't particularly busy so seemed better to resurrect it rather than clog up the forum...

Any other comments about good Android tablets or phones for surveying? I guess there isn't some quite perfect yet?
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Topimo on October 11, 2016, 02:18:02 am
I know this thread hasn't been posted to in a while but the surveying forum isn't particularly busy so seemed better to resurrect it rather than clog up the forum...

Any other comments about good Android tablets or phones for surveying? I guess there isn't some quite perfect yet?

The 'IP68' Z6 on ebay or Amazon is used by a few people (Jeep Phone).

Otterboxes on sale from SUSS/ULSA to protect that phone or any other is an option too.
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Rob on October 11, 2016, 08:55:11 am
...Any other comments about good Android tablets or phones for surveying?...
Are Note7's cheap enough yet!?!
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Vulcan on October 11, 2016, 09:21:08 am
...Any other comments about good Android tablets or phones for surveying?...
Are Note7's cheap enough yet!?!

There particularly good if you get cold as you can create your own fire to warm up with.
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: andrewmc on October 11, 2016, 09:59:52 am
Anybody tried using a Note 10.1? (Looks like one if the only Android devices with decent drawing?)
Obviously would need a robust case...
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Duncan S on October 11, 2016, 10:18:14 am
I've been plucking up the courage to take my old Nexus 7 underground.
Compared to the Jeep Phone, the larger screen works extremely well with the pointing gadget as the screen has less parallax.
I bought a cheap waterproof housing off Amazon, but I'm not convinced it is right for caving.
I don't use my Nexus 7 any more, so haven't got much to lose trying...
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Rob on October 11, 2016, 11:08:45 am
For drawing surveys up in caves, there's no beating a big screen and proper stylus (not those blunt rubber ended ones). Unfortunately it seems it's only the Samsung Notes that have a pointy stylus option. Does anyone know of any others?

Or has anyone tried one of these:
(https://regmedia.co.uk/2012/04/20/jp_3.jpg)
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Duncan S on October 11, 2016, 05:07:49 pm
For drawing surveys up in caves, there's no beating a big screen and proper stylus (not those blunt rubber ended ones). Unfortunately it seems it's only the Samsung Notes that have a pointy stylus option. Does anyone know of any others?

Or has anyone tried one of these:
(https://regmedia.co.uk/2012/04/20/jp_3.jpg)
My stylus looks very similar and works extremely well.
It was passed around the surveying workshop at EuroSpeleo to great interest and quite a few of them tried it out on their screens.
Mine has a screw top lid which keeps it dust and mud free until use, at which point it screws onto the other end for safe keeping.

There is quite a bit of parallax on the Jeep Phone as the display is quite a long way from the fron of the screen. It is usable, but works far better on my Nexus 7.
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: Rob on October 11, 2016, 07:47:50 pm
Duncan, thanks for the response. Shame i missed you EuroSpeleo workshop as would have liked to have tried it on my "Jeep" phone. But for a few £ on eBay i've just bought one, so I'll see...

In hunting for a proper stylus based phone, i see LG do a few as well. However your looking for +£100 second hand for an unrugged solution, so certainly not ideal...
Title: Re: Recommend a PDA for the DistoX2
Post by: thenax on May 19, 2018, 09:10:18 am
How about resistive touch screen alternatives besides Samsung Note?
I have Samsung Note 2 but in the last versions I cannot hide splay