Applied Geo Technologies, Inc. (AGT), the tribally-owned digital mapping service, and Leica Geosystems, a global leader in surveying and geomatics technology, are working with the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians (MBCI) to complete its 2002 Demographic Survey/Census. AGT is managing the collection, integration, and analysis of the data for MBCI. Leica Geosystems is supplying its GS5+ GPS receiver units to record location data for each household surveyed. The survey, which is conducted every ten years, is used to evaluate and pinpoint the proper allocation of resources throughout MBCI’s eight tribal communities in the state. The 2002 survey is the first to integrate GPS with other electronic collection technology. The data will be used to create a geospatial map of the MBCI lands.

“This initiative to utilize Leica Geosystems and other electronic collection technology will significantly reduce the financial and manpower costs of this important survey,” commented Allen Hines, president of AGT. “This has become the benchmark for the way the survey will be conducted in the future.”

AGT began the field surveys in late 2002. It expects to complete the survey in the Fall of 2003. The survey process includes an interview of each household within the eight communities. Previous surveys were conducted using paper survey forms. For the 2002 Demographic Survey, MBCI wanted a more powerful solution. It had already begun to develop an accurate tribe-wide GIS dataset that will be securely accessible to internal MBCI departments through the Internet. Therefore, it seized the opportunity to automate its 2002 census survey and significantly enhance the GIS database with valuable demographic and GPS data. The resulting solution was tying digital survey forms to a GPS point for every household. AGT used Panasonic Toughbook PDA’s containing ESRI’s ArcPad and Leica Geosystems’ GS5+ GPS equipment to assist data collection in the field. The collected data will then be integrated with existing vector and aerial data to develop a new GIS map of the area.

AGT chose Leica Geosystems’ GS5+ unit for its ease-of-use, durability, and most importantly, its accuracy. The GS5+ is an all-in-one GPS/GIS receiver system that provides highly accurate GPS input into field mapping packages, features two-channel beacon receiver, and offers one-meter accuracy in DGPS mode. The GS5+ is an extension of the Leica’s GS5 GPS/GIS smart antenna receiver systems.

“Leica Geosystems is pleased to work with AGT and MBCI,” commented Joshua Schechter, marketing manager of Leica Geosystems. “We are glad that our combination of high accuracy and simple setup in the GS5+ GPS systems made it possible for AGT to deploy the systems in the hands of field surveyors and get accurate and valuable GIS data from the project.”

AGT, Leica Geosystems, and MBCI are already looking at ways to utilize this collection process for field updates. Updates are typically performed every five years through traditional methods. However, by integrating this new technology, AGT expects to significantly reduce the costs and increase the speed of these updates.

Source: Leica Geosystems, Sept. 4, 2003