Terrasync: Trials and Tribulations

This afternoon I spent some time with Terrasync, getting a data dictionary together for Hesperostipa seed collection. What does this mean?

This means I can take the GPS out, throw down a tag, collect some seed, then, while taking GPS points, put the various bits of information about the seed that I want directly into the Trimble. Geospatially referenced data with little effort!

Making sure that the GPS Pathfinder Office’s transfer utility is pointed at the right device (GPS Logger on Windows CE, in this case), you click “Send”, “Add” a data dictionary and browse to the file and Transfer All. You did create your data dictionary, right? No?

Well, take a step back and click on Data Dictionary Editor in the Utilities menu. From here, it’s pretty straightforward to create your very own data dictionary. Add the Features you want (features being the kinds of points you want. I added one for Stipa individual). From there, you add Attributes. These are the fields you want to take data on: whatever would be on your paper data sheet. Annoyingly, text fields are limited to a mere 100 characters, so keep that in mind for your comments fields (always have one; you never know!). Useful ones for me were Numeric (tip! if you want to widen the number entry field from the measly default of 2 characters wide, put some large number as your maximum value; you won’t be able to go above that, but that’s not a problem for my tag and envelope number fields. Certainly nothing will be above 1000000), Text, and Date. After getting your dictionary squared away, save it somewhere and transfer it to the Trimble.

At this point you should take the new data dictionary for a test run. Restart the Terrasync software on the Trimble and start anew. Create a new file and start taking a point. See if the dictionary suits your needs. If not, go back, fix your dictionary and retransfer, overwriting the old one. Now you’re collecting with style!

For the collection dictionary, I selected the following fields:
Tag Number (text)
Envelope Number (text)
# Seeds Collected (numeric)
Location (text)
Notes (text)
Notes2 (text; text is limited to 100 characters which may not be quite enough)
Current Date (date; autogenerated)
Collected By (text)


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