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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

Esri’s new Survey123 for ArcGIS Includes Spike Laser Measurement Integration

March 29th, 2018 by Susan Smith

Esri recently introduced its new software release of Survey123 for ArcGIS mobile application with Spike, a laser measurement solution offered by ikeGPS. Field data capture and asset inspection activities just got easier with the integration of Spike into Survey123. Spike allows users to measure hard-to-reach physical objects from a distance simply by taking a photo with their smartphone or tablet. Survey123 with Spike runs on Apple iOS and Google Android smartphones and tablets.

Users can then capture real-time measurements from that image, including areas, elevations, distances between two points, and GPS/GNSS location. With just a single mobile device, fieldworkers can locate the correct asset, record measurement data, and report accurate data directly back to the office using this low-cost application.

Roberto Avila , Ph.D. GIS Applications & Data Services Unit Manager with Colorado Department of Transportation, spoke with GISCafe Voice about the integration and how the DOT is making use of the technology.

Avila said that he had used Spike and realized that it would be a vast improvement over using specialized measurement equipment and paper maps to measure and collect dimensions for all kinds of surveying, asset and facilities management, field asset inventories and inspections and damage assessment, plus disaster response operations. He felt that the DOT would be more likely to use Spike if it was integrated into the Survey123 release rather than being used separately from that application.

The Colorado Department of Transportation manages and maintains a great number of physical assets along Colorado roadways, and has already benefited from beta testing of this solution. “We have been beta testing it since November or December and developing applications groups who are using it,” said Avila. “These are engineering, environmental and other groups who see its potential. We’re using it in facilities, for areas and volume, to measure the rough length of culverts and bridges, and how much damage is caused by natural events.”

Avila said they were already using Esri’s Survey123 forms to conduct field assets data collection on signs, curb ramps, outfalls, bridge asbestos inspection, cattle guards and other assets. The ability to collect sign panel dimensions (height and width) as well as the height of the sign post through the use of Spike has been a game changer.  The CDOT is now able to incorporate Spike measurement capabilities into some of the current apps like sign, facilities, and rip-rap providing a tremendous increase in efficiency, monetary savings, and a safe data collection environment for CDOT workers.

While Avila has no trackable knowledge of savings yet, he knows this integration will save a lot of time as the DOT will be able to measure, inspect and quantify damages quickly.

Training in Spike is fairly easy, according to Avila. There is a little bit of setting up and learning how to align the photos. Users will need to spend a small amount of time training.

As far as a wish list, Avila says that he would like to have the photos taken align automatically. “What if I click on a frame and it automatically aligns?” This would make tasks easier.

In terms of accuracy, Avila says the DOT recommends using a GPS receiver to boost accuracy for the tablet. Collector and Survey123 incorporate the GPS receiver metadata into the application and this works well with the tablet.

The Spike laser device mounts to smartphones and tablets and connects via Bluetooth. This makes for an extremely easy workflow, and anyone can engage in field data collection activities. The ability to capture accurate measurements in the field is particularly useful when working in areas that don’t lend themselves to hands-on or close-up measurement.

“With a snap of the phone, you can measure in real time, height, weight, area, length, target location,” said Avila. “Being able to record dimensions on the spot and share a photo with measurements makes it ideal for estimates for commercial and real estate projects, as well as facilities or assets.”

Spike’s laser can be used in ranges from 6 to 650 feet, with the option to select units of measurement in inches, feet, meters, or centimeters. I asked if this laser distance may be extended in future releases, as some areas may be dangerous to get into. Avila agreed this would be a good thing to have because they work with a lot of overhead signage where their professionals cannot get close enough with the laser.

To find out more about how Survey123 for ArcGIS with Spike visit

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