The recent proliferation of mobile devices and tablets has given today’s surveyors, GIS practitioners and engineers more options than ever when it comes to sharing data between the office and the field. However, real-time collaboration often remains challenging due to hardware and software limitations. For many firms, the traditional workflow of collecting the data and then returning to the office or a base location each day to upload it remains standard practice.

With the new Supervisor+ GPS Tablet, Carlson Software seeks to create a new paradigm. Officially launched at World of Concrete on Jan. 23, the Supervisor+ GPS tablet—or SuperG for short—opens a broad range of capabilities for firms that are seeking to increase their productivity and remove data access limitations. “You can essentially take your whole office into the field with this new tablet,” said William (Butch) Herter, director of hardware development for Carlson Software. “You can give keyboard/mouse control over to someone in the office; they can calculate whatever you need live on-the-fly and have you set the position while the crew is still in the field. It’s going to be a change in the way firms work.”

The rugged tablet features a Microsoft Windows 7.0 Ultimate operating system, an Intel ultra-low-power yet super-fast 1.6GHz processor, a massive 64GB solid-state hard drive and a 7-inch widescreen, 1024x600-resolution, sunlight-readable, resistive touchscreen display. The SuperG also incorporates the new Novatel 615 GNSS receiver, which is capable of receiving GPS, Glonass, Compass, Galileo signals and can be configured to provide dual-frequency RTK GNSS. Connectivity is provided through Bluetooth, WiFi and cellular (CDMA and GSM) as well as USB, 9-pin serial, and Ethernet ports. A 2MP camera with streaming video capabilities and extended-life hot-swappable batteries that provide up to 12 hours of runtime round out the package. The Supervisor+ GPS tablet comes loaded with Carlson’s popular SurvPC software.

While the features are impressive, it’s the real-time connectivity aspect of the new device that Herter is most enthusiastic about. “Because you have full Windows capabilities on this system, you can use programs like GoToMeeting and GoToMyPC to get access to your office computer and run those programs anywhere you can get connectivity, or you can share files and data with your team in the office,” he said. “If the file you’re working on gets to be too large for your tablet, you simply connect to the office and keep working on it from there. And if you want access to apps that you use in the field, you can download the GoToMeeting app on your mobile device, which will allow your tablet to access your device and make use of those apps. It’s complete, real-time remote access.”

The tablet can operate natively on dxf, dwg, dxf, dgn file formats as well as Esri files. According to Herter, having access to the full suite of Esri tools combined with the tablet’s GNSS capabilities gives surveyors a specific advantage. “It coins a new phrase: P-GIS—precision GIS,” he said. “Everyone is demanding more precise information in their GIS data, and this tablet will allow surveyors to meet that need by providing P-GIS.”

Herter believes the tablet is the future of data collection. “There are no more limitations when you’re out in the field,” he said. “The Supervisor+ GPS increases productivity tremendously. And the integrated GNSS makes it invaluable.”

Have you seen the new tablet? What do you think?