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TDCx Frequently Asked Questions: Purchasing



What is TDCx?

TDCx is a new ARM add-in that includes Tablet Data Collector features for:
  • An activated ARM license serial number – TDCx installs onto the same computer as ARM
  • That is installed only once on a touch-enabled Windows tablet or a laptop computer of your choice.
The "x" in TDCx indicates that you:
  1. Purchase a touch-enabled Windows tablet or laptop computer of your choice, then
  2. Install and activate your ARM license on this computer – either:
    1. Transfer your current ARM license to this computer and purchase the TDCx add-in, or
    2. Purchase an ARM Field license bundle, which consists of an ARM Technician license plus TDCx add-in.
Advantages of TDCx include:
  • Hardware options. Choose your own hardware for TDCx. (See Recommended Minimum Hardware Requirements)
  • Annual maintenance protects against hardware failure. If something happens to your current TDCx unit, simply deactivate the license from that computer and install your ARM + TDCx license on the replacement.
  • Continuous support. When purchasing an TDCx license, the price includes the first year of maintenance (support plus enhancements), keeping your data collector tool always up-to-date with the latest features.

What hardware features are needed for TDCx?

GDM recommends the following for the minimal requirements to use TDCx. Hardware that does not meet these recommendations may not perform as intended:
  • Windows 10 or newer
  • 64+ GB internal storage
  • 4+ GB RAM
  • Touch screen
  • Sunlight-readable display/screen protector
  • Stylus or digitizer pen
In addition, core TDCx functions require certain hardware features. The following are required in order to support the feature listed in parentheses:
  • SD card or low-profile flash drive (backing up data and pictures)
  • Rear-facing camera, 6+ megapixel (taking plot pictures)
  • Integrated GPS or third-party GPS receiver (capturing GPS coordinates at plot or trial level)

Other hardware features to consider

There are many other features that computer manufacturers have to offer, and the list is ever-changing. Based on conversations we have had with clients, there are other features that may be beneficial for your data collector. These are not required for TDCx to function properly, and may or may not be worth the additional expense, but are simply offered as additional items to consider.
  • Ruggedized units can withstand the heat and rough conditions of a field much better than commercial-grade units.
    • This term usually also implies a sunlight-readable display, and can handle extreme temperatures and direct sunlight.
  • Screen size is a factor if planning to use the unit for more than just data collection. A 7-inch screen is often just too small to do much outside of taking ratings, unless an external monitor is connected when in the office.
  • The processor is another important factor when using the unit for more just data collection. More powerful processors prevent the unit from being sluggish when running more than one program at a time.
  • Battery life is a factor if required to use the unit across a full day.
  • Screen glare can render a unit worthless in direct sunlight. An anti-glare screen or screen protector is a must for viewing the screen in direct sunlight, even if it looks nice with in-store lighting.
  • Digitizer pens provide additional functionality that stylus pens do not, such as ability to hover like a traditional mouse.

Are there any hardware units that GDM recommends?

The following are GDM's top picks for ruggedized tablets that fit the guidelines for TDCx, based on conversations with clients and our own testing:
See our TDCx recommended hardware comparison (pdf) for specifications for these units, pros and cons (in green and red respectively), and a link to a comprehensive review of each tablet.

Does TDCx require an additional license?

The TDCx add-in is linked to a computer that an ARM license is activated on. To use TDCx on a second computer in addition to your current ARM computer, a second ARM license is required. Options include:
  • ARM Field license bundle –ARM Technician license plus TDCx add-in. A Field/Technician license simplifies the ARM interface with functions for setting up trials in the field and doing assessments. See ARM License Comparison (pdf) for details.
  • ARM Full license + TDCx package – includes all ARM features plus TDCx add-in.
Alternatively, TDCx can be added to your existing ARM license. This installs TDC features to your current ARM computer. If your current computer is not suitable for data collection, ARM can be deactivated and transferred to a new computer as needed.

What can TDCx do that ARM alone or Excel Rating Shell cannot do?

Feature TDCx ARM alone Excel Rating Shell
Run on choice of Windows-based hardware

Data entry features

Integrated, re-sizable touch number keypad for data entry    
One-touch shortcut keys to enter 100, 0, mark missing data, or
duplicate the previous assessment value
Single key press for 1-digit assessment scale values (0-9)    
Ensure typed assessment values are in a valid range, such as 0-100%
Wizard to set cursor order to next logical assessment cell
Zoom editor for improved visibility  
Simplified assessment header and plot description  
"Blind assessment" option to hide treatment numbers    
Offer full ARM dictionaries so valid data entry codes are used

Data collection features

Store GPS coordinates at trial and plot level
Capture current GPS coordinates at trial and plot level
Document damaged plots, to exclude from analysis
Enter textual comment for each plot
Collect and update all supported trial information at trial site
Automatically saves assessment data at end of each plot
Automatically copies trial to SD backup card at trial close

Plot pictures

Take pictures with built-in camera
Automatically link picture to the associated plot
Rename attached picture to associate with trial, treatment, plot, and assessment date
Automatically launch and align Windows camera app with ARM

Perform data quality checks immediately after data entry

Treatment Mean

Standard Deviation

AOV Means Table

Outlier tool

Box-whisker graph

Assessment Map

Heterogeneity & normality checks

TDCx = ARM Tablet Data Collector ("TDC") software running on the Windows hardware of your choice ("x").
ARM Alone = Standard ARM Full license without the TDCx add-in.
Excel Rating Shell = Standard Excel spreadsheet created by ARM using "Push to Excel Rating Shell" feature. Click here for more information.

Will the Tablet Data Collector be offered for Apple or Android tablets?

Tablet Data Collector (TDC) software is based on ARM, which is developed using programming tools that are only supported on Windows computers. Thus, only computers that run Windows operating system can run Tablet Data Collector software.


TDC and ARM development to Apple or Android operating system would take many person-years. With the number of clients who have currently expressed interest, an Apple or Android version of TDC would cost at least 10 times more than a Windows version.

What is 'Mobile broadband' and how does it relate to TDCx?

'Mobile broadband' is an optional hardware feature that allows the unit to connect to the Internet from any location where cellular service is available, similar to a smartphone. Click here for more information about mobile broadband from Microsoft's website. Please note that this requires a mobile broadband subscription from a provider such as AT&T or Verizon.
A TDCx computer that has this feature is able to connect to the internet while out in the field (assuming there is adequate cellular service). This allows the researcher to use a browser at the trial site to find information about making a certain type of assessment, or to identify a target pest or crop stage. After making the assessments, the researcher can also immediately upload the trial and pictures to cloud storage (such as Dropbox), or email the updated trial and pictures back to their office.
It can also work to use a smartphone that offers "Hotspot" capability, instead of purchasing a unit with mobile broadband equipped. The TDCx unit can be connected to the smartphone via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or a USB cable to access the internet.

How do I order TDCx?

Request a price list from your GDM Representative using our Write to Us form.
Use our Order Form to order Tablet Data Collector (TDCx).