MobileMapper 6: A New Field Solution for Managing Pipeline Assets

Rugged handheld GPS/GIS receiver and camera collects pipeline data With 2-5 meter accuracy

The rugged and low-cost Magellan MobileMapper 6 professional handheld GPS/GIS receiver with integrated camera is winning acceptance among pipeline companies.  Its Windows Mobile 6 platform enables customizable software to meet virtually any pipeline mapping and asset management need.

One early-adopting company, Gatherco, Inc., an Ohio-based producer owned and operated pipeline company with 2,400 miles of pipeline and 4,000 producer and customer meters, runs two MobileMapper 6s with ArcPad and one with Mobile Mapping software and soon the company expects to also load meter reading software.  Gatherco switched to the MobileMapper 6s from consumer units they had been using. 

According to Mike Lawver, GIS Administrator, “the MobileMapper 6s are more rugged, run the software we want for full digital compatibility with our office systems, yet they’re comparably priced to the consumer units.”  Noting its accuracy, Lawver said, “The MobileMapper 6 gets us the 10-foot accuracy we need.  We’ve taken test points and overlaid it with an aerial image and the points hit right on.”

Gatherco has about 10 field personnel using the new units.  “Our personnel have a gas background and little if any computer experience, yet the MobileMapper 6 has been an easy technology to deploy.  At each meter location, field personnel enter 15 attributes and take four pictures — a picture of the meter reading itself, a picture of the unit showing any corrosion on the meter, a picture of the service line, if it is above ground, and a picture of the service line as it ties into the house.”

Commenting on the toughness of the units, Lawver likes their ruggedness noting that the units and been “dropped, dinged, submerged, and they continue to work well.”

MobileMapper 6
The MobileMapper 6 comes with Microsoft Windows Mobile version 6, along with a touch-screen and Bluetooth for wireless connectivity. In addition to the 2-megapixel camera, which can be tagged with the GPS location and used as a point description data, it also includes a built-in microphone to record and replay voice notes to enrich the collected data.The rugged design of the MobileMapper 6 is impact resistant and water- and dustproof for use in harsh and difficult field conditions.  It is able to withstand a one-meter drop to solid ground and water submergence.

Weighing less than 8 ounces (224 grams) and measuring approximately 5.7 in x 2.5 in x  1.1 in (14.6 cm x  6.4 cm x 2.9 cm), the MobileMapper 6 is lightweight and compact for easy, convenient use.  It provides excellent autonomy with up to 10 hours of operation on a set of two AA alkaline batteries, easily exchangeable in the field.

Data collection is enabled by 128 MB of non-volatile Flash data storage, and storage of large amounts of field date is made possible through a Secure Digital (SD) card slot that accepts SD cards with up to 4 GB of memory.

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