Looking for ways to simplify simple data collection

In some mandates, some recording protocols require a very intensive collection of geolocated observations of single specific objects (species) usually are very frequent, so you need to do a lot records.

From Smart mobile, when you open a project (e.g. a patrol) and after enter the metadata, then you click (1) to do a record, then select the category and the attributes of the record (2), you validate (3), save & geolocating (4). To make a new registration; you have to repeat the whole process from step 1. When the records are widely spaced it is not a problem, but when many records have to be taken in a short time (space) it can slow down the data collection sampling.
Is there a way to simplify data collection by reducing the number of clicks?. Would there be any possibility to do like the classic GPS, to record your position with a single click?
I will give a fictitious example to help understand the context. Imagine you want to record where there are tobacco butts in a city. You just want to know where there is presence, without the need to incorporate other attributes. Would it be possible with a single click to make the registration geolocalized (any available shortcuts?).

I would be delighted to know if any of you have encountered this problem and solved it adequately.

Thank you for your time.

José A Blanco


Hi José - you can try several things to minimize time here. 1) Make the config model REALLY simple, eg, have it so cigarette butt is a top level item, so one would just press make observation, cigarette butt, and save. 2) Change the GPS settings to take instantaneous GPS point (this will be taken in the background as soon as you start recording an observation. 3) Limit the GPS accuracy, so you don’t need as many satellite fixes before you can take a point. If you need a general GPS point, but it doesn’t need to be very accurate, this will save a lot of time (e.g., just 1 fix, instead of 5 or 10).


you may want to check the option to create hierarchical records, where the species is an attribute within a category and the sub-attribute is a record of the species. This will save you from opening the Category every single time. the subattribute could be an animal ID (1,2,3,4,5 etc). However, I don’t know if the instantaneous GPS would work for each record or it will provide a single coordinate for the Species attribute.


We do already support 3 experiences for data collection on SMART Mobile: Patrol, Independent Incident and Collect. Having an optimized version for some use cases is definitely something that could be built.

Is what you need within the context of a patrol or are the observations independent incidents?


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Thanks, all these options could be useful to increase data collection speed.

  1. Ok, but only if not attribute is incorporated
    2)instantaneous GPS point, sound great
  2. We will try to use and assess if we can assume some loss of accuracy

Thanks for the reply, It should be in the context of a survey (or patrol)…
Would it be possible to skip the initial “make an observation” window and start with a category?, this could be useful to reduce steps.
Thanks again,

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There are quite a number of clicks associated with an observation, so I would hesitate to make a change to just eliminate one. Let’s chat offline so I can get a better understanding of your requirements…

Hi Jose,

Another option is to create default values in the configurable model, assuming that you don’t’ need to enter different options every time you see a cigarette butt. For example, if you had a Data model that looked like this:
Human activity>Sign of human activity>Rubbish>attribute:Type of rubbish (options are butt, paper, plastic); attribute: Number

You could just add the Rubbish category directly to your configurable model (rather than including the two higher level categories), along with the two attributes Type of Rubbish and Number. You then rename Rubbish to “Cigarette butt” and set default values for Type and number to “cigarette butt” and “1”, then change the Enabled property to Never. By doing this your data entry steps will be Make observation>Cigarette butt>Save, but SMART Mobile will record Human Activity>Sign of Human Activity>Rubbish>attribute:Type of rubbish=Cigarette butt; attribute: Number=1

Hope this helps.


did you check the Cluey Data Collection and Tracking app?