Site Characterization, GPS, and Saving Data

Step 2:  Characterizing Your Site & Plots—Getting Started with LabQuest2


  • LabQuest2
  • Temperature Probe
  • Relative Humidity Probe
  • Anemometer Sensor
  • Digital Camera

After you have created your first plot, you are ready to begin collecting observations and data you will use to describe your site and individual plots.

--Step into the center of your plot with the equipment listed above.

--Turn on your LabQuest2 Unit.  The power button is located at the top left of the unit.

Methods:  Determining Your Geographic Location and Creating Your Data Collection Table.

The LabQuest2 unit comes with a built-in GPS—Global Positioning System.  Once the GPS sensor is activated, the unit will receive radio signals from GPS satellites ( and determine the geographic location of your first plot.

The unit can record coordinates in 3 forms: decimal degrees, UTM, and degree minutes.  You can change the units by tapping on the latitude box, but you will be reporting your plot coordinates in decimal degrees (the default units).  When you present your coordinates in your report, use the conventional format: 43.2293ON 74.17640OW (where the first number is latitude, degrees N or S of the equator, and the second number is longitude, degrees E or W of the Prime Meridian).


--Tap on the Home icon (bottom right of screen).  Tap on the LabQuest2 App icon.

--Tap on Sensors (top left) and highlight Sensor Setup.

--Tap the square next to GPS, and a check mark should appear in the box. 

--Tap OK (bottom right).


The LQ2 unit will begin reading the geographic position of your plot.  Note that it can take several minutes for the latitude and longitude readings to appear (indoors, it can take up to 15 minutes).

--While you are waiting for the coordinates to appear, create your data collection table.

Note: If you are not using a LabQuest2 Unit (and even if you are), you will be able to get your GPS coordinates by inserting your map data point on the Japanese beetle map.

--Tap on the mode box (left column).  Tap on the dropdown arrow on the right side of the mode window. 

--Highlight Data Matrix (bottom of the list).  Enter “Plot” in “Name for Rows” box and the date on which you are collecting your data (e.g. 6/16/12) in the “Name for Runs” box.  When you click on the box containing the default names, a keypad will pop up and you can edit the names.

--Tap “Done” and “Ok” to save the new names.

--When the latitude and longitude values appear on the screen, tap the green collection arrow (bottom left of screen).

--At this time, a new screen will appear which will allow you to add additional rows for additional plots to your table.  After your plots have been added, this screen will also be the screen you use to change the plot you are working on.

--Tap on “Add Plot” 2 times so that the number 3 appears in the Plot window (for your 3 plots).

--Use the dropdown arrow next to the plot number window and select number 1 (since you are collecting data from Plot 1).

--Tap on Continue (bottom right) and you will be taken to the GPS sensor screen.  Once the latitude, longitude, and altitude values stabilize, tap on the colored latitude box and tap the stop button (bottom left of screen).

--To view your recorded data, tap on the table icon (x|y) at the top of the screen.

--Return to the sensor screen by tapping the meter icon (upper left of screen).

Tip: If you need to retake any readings, simply tap on the readings box (following the steps above).  The most recent reading will be saved in the table.


Saving Your Data File and Completing Your Characterization

Before taking any additional readings, save your data.

Tap on “File” (top of screen), highlight “Save,” and tap on the title window (untitled highlighted in gray).  A keypad will pop up and you can title your file: firstinitiallastnamesiteinfo (e.g. ljonessiteinfo).  Tap on “Done” and “Save.”

After saving your file, create a notes page in which you describe the general characteristics of your site and plots.

Tap on the Notes icon (upper right).  Include the following:

Location: Site address
Date: Sampling date
Time: Time of Sampling
ENV Conditions:  weather conditions, wind direction, general habitat/ vegetation/land use, dry? Wet?

Plot 1:  characteristics specific to Plot 1
Plot 2:  characteristics specific to Plot 2 (add this information to your notes page when you get to plot 2)
Plot 3: characteristics specific to Plot 3 (add this information to your notes page when you get to plot 3)

Save your file.  Tap on “File,” “Save,” highlight your file name, tap “Save,” and tap “Overwrite.”  Tap on “File,” and “Quit” to exit your site characteristic file.

Tip:  You can save your file as often as you like to ensure that you don’t lose any data you collect.  Each time you save, highlight your file name, tap “Save” and  “Overwrite.”  That way, you only have one version of a file saved to the LabQuest2.

Take photographs of your site and plots.  Include these as figures in your report.