Support

Collecting GPS Locations

Last Updated: Jul 10, 2015 07:50AM EDT

Location coordinates can be collected easily in all forms with the 'GPS' response type. The interviewer will be asked to press a button in the form after which the device will attempt to find the current location in the form of latitude and longitude coordinates. 

To collect a GPS* coordinate during the data collection process simply add a GPS question to your form. During data entry the enumerator will see a button on their device to register their current location. If their device doesn't have a GPS sensor or GPS is disabled, a location might be determined using other means, which might not be as accurate. 

Location services are controlled by the device, and not all devices are equipped with a GPS sensor. GPS may also be turned off, or the device may be set to use WiFi and cellular networks to establish a location rather than using satellite navigation systems.

The time it takes for a device to determine its GPS coordinates varies strongly and may depend on:

  • The quality of the GPS sensor
  • The last time since the device had last determined its GPS location
  • Cloud cover 
  • Buildings or other structures obstructing view of the sky

To obtain a GPS signal you should be outdoors with good visibility of the sky. To get a strong GPS signal:

  • Stand as far from buildings, trees, or other structures as possible
  • Make sure your body isn't obstructing view of the sky
  • Get an initial GPS location at the beginning of the day before starting to collect points in the field
  • Enable A-GPS (data-network assisted) on your device

*GPS in this context does not exclusively refer to the Global Positioning System but also to other satellite navigation systems used by mobile devices, such as GLONASS.

Troubleshooting

If you are unable to get a GPS location with the GPS response type, please check these options:

  • Check the location settings on your device to ensure GPS is enabled
  • Install a free app that uses GPS to see if you can get a GPS location that way (e.g. GPS Status for Android or GPS Status for iPhones)
  • Check your phone settings/manufacturer manual to see if the device has GPS available

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