Geospatial Data Analysis, Point Cloud Processing and GIS Mapping Software for Drones and UAV

Using External GNSS Devices with Global Mapper Mobile Pro

Feature Article by Mackenzie Mills
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Mackenzie Mills from Blue Marble Geographics explains how to use external GNSS devices with Global Mapper Mobile Pro.

Global Mapper Mobile is an iOS and Android mobile app for field data reference and collection. The Pro subscription unlocks various advanced features beneficial to users across many industries. One of the most prominent features of the Pro subscription is the Advanced GPS toolset in Global Mapper Mobile which allows users to wirelessly connect to external GNSS positioning devices to improve the accuracy of field positioning and collected data.  

While the market for GNSS units is wide-ranging, the teams at Blue Marble do their best to test the Global Mapper Mobile Pro Advanced GPS options with just about any external GNSS unit they can. Since each device manufacturer is slightly different, requirements for your specific unit may vary. However, many popular GNSS devices can be connected and utilized with Global Mapper Mobile through a Bluetooth or TCP/IP port connection.

GNSS Devices with Global Mapper Mobile Pro

With a GNSS unit connected to Global Mapper Mobile Pro, additional location info, including the raw NMEA stream can be viewed, and higher-accuracy data collection can be achieved.

Bluetooth Connection

Often the easiest way to connect modern devices, smartphones, tablets, and many external GNSS units support Bluetooth connection to each other. Once a GNSS positioning unit is connected to a mobile phone or tablet, the location information can be utilized in Global Mapper Mobile Pro through the Advanced GPS tools. 

With some equipment, a Bluetooth connection between the GNSS unit and mobile device is all that is needed, like with the Bad Elf Flex, Emlid Reach RX (Android), Juniper Geode, and many other easy-to-use positioning units. Once a connection between the hardware is established, use the Advanced GPS > Connect to Device option in Global Mapper Mobile Pro to select the Bluetooth-connected device and begin using the higher-accuracy position and additional Advanced GPS tools for reference and data collection in the mobile app. 

IP Port Connection

The option to set up a wireless IP-configured connection is useful with some GNSS units. Depending on your GNSS unit, the process for setting up this type of connection may vary. A few things to keep in mind are that Global Mapper Mobile Pro supports TCP, UDP, and UDP (multicast) protocols for the configuration, and the app reads and processes NMEA format position data. 

The options for configuring an IP port connection in Global Mapper Mobile Pro can be found in the Advanced GPS option in the Main Menu. Using the option for IP Configuration, the settings for a new GNSS unit can be added. The required information is a device name, protocol type, and host IP (or hostname). Once configured, the device setup will be remembered in Global Mapper Mobile Pro, and the Connect to Device option can be used to begin streaming and utilizing position information from the external device in the mobile app. Some user-tested devices that can connect via the IP configuration method are Javad Triumph units and the Emlid Reach RS2+. 

Companion Apps

Many GNSS hardware manufacturers create mobile apps to work directly with their devices. These apps, such as EOS Tools Pro or Trimble Mobile Manager, are designed to work with their specific devices and make connecting the GNSS equipment to a smartphone or tablet easier. The availability of a companion app for your GNSS unit does not mean that it will not work with the Advanced GPS tools in Global Mapper Mobile Pro; in fact, many of these companion apps make the process easier. 

When working with some GNSS units, the companion app is only needed to initially establish the wireless connection. After a connection has been established and position information can move from the external unit to your mobile device, the companion app can be closed, and the connection can be activated in Global Mapper Mobile Pro. In other cases, like with Trimble devices, the companion app needs to remain running on your mobile device, and in Global Mapper Mobile Pro, the Advanced GPS device to connect to will be the Trimble Mobile Manager app. 

Using external GNSS devices with global mapper mobile pro

The steps for connecting Global Mapper Mobile Pro to a Trimble device involve a Bluetooth connection and the Trimble Mobile Manager companion app.

Regardless of the connection method you are using for your external GNSS unit, the visualization and feature creation tools in Global Mapper Mobile Pro can help enhance your workflows, field reference, and data collection options. For more information about the Advanced GPS tools available in Global Mapper Mobile Pro, see the help files available for iOS or Android devices.

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