We will be conducting point counts this spring and summer, and would like to move away from paper data entry forms (yeah, I know). I have spent a little time exploring ArcPad (10), there are significant bugs (using "Find" to get to a point doesn't work, data transfer is unreliable, etc).

At each point, we will need to capture a GPS location (one record in a table of points), then will record observations for birds at the associated point (one record per bird in a table of observations). The once nice thing about ArcPad is that it's easy to set up the one-to-many relationship between points and observations, and enter as many observations as needed. But I'm just too nervous sending crews out to collect a few weeks' worth of data without feeling 100% confident we'll get the data back. Also, the Trimble units are too expensive, and the screens are just too small for easy data entry.

I was wondering whether anyone had explored options using Android tablets, or something similar, for data collection in the field...? In the past, I used a Trimble data collection unit with Pocket Excel. This kind of system would work, but the one-to-many link depends upon the user entering a point ID correctly in both the point table and the observation table. I like the idea of a cheap Android tablet with 3 or 4g connectivity running an app that allows data collection in this manner, and would be fine sending crews out with a separate handheld GPS, if accuracy is too poor with a tablet.

Would really appreciate any ideas or suggestions for data collection.

1 Answer 1


You might consider EpiCollect. I don't have much experience with it, so I cannot strongly recommend it, but it might meet your needs. Some of it's advantages are:

  • it's free
  • allows you to build customized data entry forms
  • runs on Android
  • and it appears you can customize the interface to collect data with a one-to-many relationship.

Hope that helps.


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