It’s already difficult to imagine doing it any other way.
At Aspect, we collect data. Lots and lots of data. We collect notes, measurements, GPS coordinates, photos, field observations, asset inventories, and on and on. All of the information we collect is almost always tied to some sort of spot on the earth: a well, a catch basin, a stream gage, a geotechnical boring. All the projects and people and paper and files and handwriting – it’s a lot to manage. Doing things the “old-fashioned way” means compiling and collating paper forms, JPEGs, and data files. It means entering notes from the field into a computer back in the office. It means playing a game of “telephone” with our data. It means time (and money!) for our clients.
We’ve installed Fulcrum software on mobile phones and a stable of tablets to help manage, organize, and execute our large, complex sampling and field data collection efforts. It enables us to create interactive, spatially-aware forms that help expedite projects and contribute to accurate, clean, and professional work-products. We’re ensuring that the data we collect is consistent and that photos, coordinates, and information we gather stays connected. As simple as that sounds, it means incredible gains for our projects and measurable benefits for our clients.
Here are a few of the features that we love:
- At the click of a button, in real-time, field data can be downloaded in the office – enabling office staff to develop maps and analyze data as it is being collected.
- Data can be downloaded in many file formats to support the specific needs of an individual project (Excel, CSV, GIS Shapefiles, Google Earth KML, etc.).
- Data requirements and dropdown menus can be established for any or all fields on the form – ensuring consistent, site-specific information is collected.
- Forms can be built to evolve as data is entered – improving the usability for field staff.
- Data can be checked and validated on-the-fly – giving field teams real-time feedback and guidance on the collected data.
- Calculations are built-in and automatic – which saves time and prevents calculation error.
- Photos, videos, and audio can be collected as a part of each form – intrinsically linking those files with the locations which they document.
- Locations and any known data can be pre-loaded to the forms – which means field staff can figure out where they need to go and what they need to know in one place.
With Fulcrum, since mobile field data collection is finally flexible and feature-rich, easy to deploy, and easy to use, we’re recommending it for use in many of our new and existing projects.
See how it looks in the gallery below.