I am the manager of seven water systems. What I am trying to do is map out every meter and valve on to a map and then my workers can have the maps on their iPhones so when they have to go fix a water leak or something they can just look on their map and know where the meter and the valve is.

I've plotted a few meters on my phone and then got the longitude/latitude and transferred that into Google Earth, but there are a few problems with that:

  1. My phone is usually 10 or so yards off on my "current location". I need to be within a few feet to plot water meters.
  2. It takes forever to take the points that I have plotted on my phone and key them into Google Earth.
  3. Once they are on Google Earth my workers still do not have them on their phones so it does them no good while they are on the job.

So does anyone know of a much easier way to do this? I just need to plot the points very accurately and then be able to access the points from different iPhones and computers.

  • Are you ok with the data being stored on a 3rd party cloud server (e.g ArcGIS Online, Mangomap, etc...), or do you want to host it? Also, for collection what level of accuracy do you need (e.g. sub-foot, sub meter, ...etc)?
    – artwork21
    Commented May 21, 2014 at 23:03
  • @artwork21, "within a few feet" sounds like sub-meter to me.
    – blah238
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 0:02
  • 1
    @Evan, I edited your title to better reflect your goal -- you'll note that your question is really more like two questions -- "what sub-meter geolocation solutions exist" and "how can I integrate them". In the spirit of this site's Q&A format, I would suggest tackling the former in one question and the latter in a subsequent one, although it may be that a solution that can "do it all" exists (I doubt it's cheap, though!). What is your budget?
    – blah238
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 0:04
  • 1
    +1 to blah238 on the split question - getting the data is one issue, serving it is a whole other. In my opinion the data collection issue at that level of accuracy is pretty much going to require survey grade GPS equipment. Even dedicated GPS consumer grade units with WAAS will only get you within 1-3m under ideal conditions. As blah238 said, there are existing solution systems out there but they've got price tags. How large an area/number of points are we talking about?
    – Chris W
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 1:13
  • 1
    Have you thought about DGPS? What about the soloshot (google it) technology
    – user80757
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


This is not an endorsement but I've been kind of keen on the Kickstarter backed Piksi. Ruggedised, centimetre accurate GPS.

There are other commercial units that do centimetre accurate GPS but they are very expensive and require two stations (one you leave stationary and the other you carry). They also have large aerials.

As for plotting points Stamen Field Papers looks to be very useful.

  • 2
    Note the "relative accuracy" qualifier. They really mean "precision" when they say this, not absolute accuracy.
    – blah238
    Commented May 23, 2014 at 3:35

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