How mobile technology improves inspections?

The offer in the field of mobile data collection technologies is increasingly diverse to meet growing demand from the inspection industry. This business sector covers several areas such as:

  • Construction,
  • Infrastructure,
  • Street furniture,
  • Roads, 
  • Public works, etc.

More and more companies specializing in field inspections are migrating to digital technology to increase their productivity and reduce their costs.

We’re here today to introduce you to the concept of using mobile apps to improve data collection methods when it comes to field surveying.

How do mobile apps improve inspections?

Mobile apps can improve inspections in several ways:

  • Elimination of redundant tasks
  • Digitization of forms
  • Transcription and data processing
  • Geolocation of data
  • Access to inspection history
  • Real-time data and operations planning
  • Better communication within an organization
  • Quality report

Digitization of forms

Firstly, digital migration is notably reflected in the abandonment of paper forms in favor of digital forms found in field data collection applications.

Transcription and data processing

Going digital for your fieldwork and data collection eliminates the re-transcription of data from the paper form into a database and of the manual management of photos taken with a camera in the field. The mobile app automatically replaces these tedious and time-consuming steps.

Elimination of redundant tasks

Mobile apps can improve inspections by eliminating redundant tasks like manually creating reports  and databases. Using an app allows you to create digital forms and export the form completed in the format that is most convenient for you.

Geolocation of data

Another significant benefit is the geolocation of data. Exact coordinates are available through the app and phone GPS system, which can save many steps when it comes to charting the data locations.

Indeed, when carrying out inspections it is especially important to take the geographical position of the surveys. With the traditional paper form method, field staff typically use a GPS device to obtain lat-long coordinates during the inspection. The mobile application automatically captures this information and links it to the statement.

Access to inspection history

Mobile technology allows the inspector to have access to data from previous inspections directly on their mobile devices. Thus, they can see the evolution of the condition of the inspected equipment and update the survey in the database directly in the field.

The data collection tool allows for better communication between the members of your inspection team and prevents lapses of information because everything they need to know is  available right in the app.

Real-time data and operations planning

Another benefit of using mobile apps for data collection is in the inspection route planning tasks. It is a laborious task when done in the traditional way as the schedule of daily inspections to be performed has to be manually entered on a list or map.

The data collection application displays real-time inspections that have been performed and are accessible to all team members. Managers save precious time to optimally plan routes while minimizing the risk of error.

Better communication within an organization

Mobile data collection apps allow for better communication between inspection and repair (maintenance) services. These apps facilitate the sharing of information in real-time, so there is no administrative lag.

Let’s take standpipes, for example.

With the traditional method, the inspection team must manually forward the position of the fire hydrant to be repaired to the repair team. This process of sharing information is laborious and can lead to errors and delays.

The field data mobile application tells the repair team in real-time which standpipes to repair. Thus, maintenance teams can find their way easily and directly access georeferenced surveys.

When the repair has been carried out, the information is automatically entered into the database. It also becomes accessible in real-time to project managers.

Quality report

Finally, there are some huge benefits to using a mobile app here, including automated report creation (preventing further administrative lags). The mobile application also helps prevent errors when handling data. It can instantly create a PDF or Excel report seconds after the end of the operation. The visual interfaces often help both surveyors and clients to make better decisions more quickly.

The quality of this report and the speed with which it is provided to the client represents an advantage for the inspection company over the competition.  Indeed, this may promote better customer retention and, even, an increase in the leads conversion rate.

Conclusion

Finally, depending on the mobile application you choose, you will have an integrated online map on which the inspection data you have collected in the field will be displayed.

You can use app properties like filtering and adding color codes to your various inspection reports and access visuals that will allow you to make better decisions faster.

When considering mobile data inspection tools, one of the most comprehensive solutions that come to mind is Coral Collect. 

Coral Collect is a solution that allows us to collect, save and share data in the field in a collaborative way. This solution encourages the involvement of all levels of the organization in the management of field data.

Users can use Coral Collect’s features to create digital forms with an online form builder, fill out forms in the field with the mobile application, and view/export data onto a dashboard for comprehensive reports accessible to the entire team. All levels of your team from technicians to analysts to managers will benefit from using Coral Collect.

To learn more about the benefits of using a field data collection app, please read Automation of Field Data Collection Processes: The Key to Being Effective

Automation of Field Data Collection Processes: The Key to Being Effective

You might think that in our current day and age, no one fills out forms in the field with pen and paper. However, many organizations are still working with these tools, and if you are reading this article, you are probably one of them! 

Using paper forms for field data collection operations can often be counterproductive and result in an overly manual workflow. These tasks can be redundant and time-consuming, and it creates an obstacle to the efficiency and effectiveness of your field data collection. 

The best way to automate this data collection process is to integrate a mobile application into the workflow! 

What is a Field Data Collection Application? 

A field data collection application is a software solution that allows you to create digital forms, to fill them out directly on a mobile device and automatically transfer the data into a secure database. 

The application automates the entire field data collection process and replaces pen and paper! 

Benefits of Process Automation 

There are many benefits to automating this process, including: 

  • Cost reduction, 
  • Improved productivity, 
  • Reliability,
  • Scalability. 

Cost Reduction 

Using paper forms can be an expensive process. However, how much does it cost you to collect and store data using pen and paper?

Typically, it is a much longer process and requires manual geotagging and transcribing. In fact, technicians must then transfer the data into a database and attach the corresponding photos. Field technicians are expensive, and you don’t want them spending their time filling out forms! 

A study done by Guillaume Nepveu, the CEO of Chaac Technologies, found that manual processing can cost almost $2 for every field observation.  This number was calculated based on his experience as a Field Data Manager and customer feedback. 

A field data collection application will significantly reduce this cost while eliminating these tedious steps!  

Improved Productivity 

Automating this process will also lead to improved productivity. Indeed, field technicians can spend more time accurately collecting data in the field rather than filling out forms. 

The application provides a single tool for them to complete the digital forms, take pictures, and orient themselves in the field. This will easily replace paper documents, a camera, and the GPS that would otherwise have to be carried to perform data collection. 

The application also transfers the data into an appropriate database in real-time, so managers and decision-makers can act more quickly. 

Reliability 

Manual data collection can often be unreliable because each field technician will do it differently. There are often errors and inconsistencies that can lead to incorrect decisions and sometimes data loss. 

Process automation improves the reliability of data and results found from field operations. 

Scalability 

Lastly, the time and money that you save by automating this process allow you to scale your business and take on larger projects – without needing to have a corresponding increase in staff! 

In other words, a smaller team can complete the work that would normally require more staff. 

Are There Any Downsides to Process Automation? 

Although there are many benefits to process automation, there are some downsides including initial cost and change management.  

Costs

Automating your processes will require an investment in a software solution. Even though these can sometimes be expensive and require some time to implement properly. Luckily, the software industry is competitive and the prices for many of these solutions are very affordable. 

Calculate your return on investment and you will usually find that the advantages far outweigh the costs at this level. 

Change Management 

Generally, all process changes require time, and it can take people time to get used to new methods if they have been doing it the same way for years. Some software can be difficult to use, so be sure to test different options with your team to find out what will be the best fit.  

Consequently, we recommend gradually phasing out old data collection methods to make this transition easier. 

How to Get Started 

Coral Collect is the best way to start automating your field data collection process. It is an easy solution to collect, store, and collaboratively share your field data. Moreover, all levels of your organization will be able to manage field data. With this platform, all technicians, analysts, and managers can work together to facilitate this process. 

To learn more about the benefits of a field data collection application, read the article: Top 5 Benefits of Using a Field Data Collection Application

Use Coral Collect for free!

Field Data Collection App: Top 5 Things to Consider

The days of noting down information in the field with a pen and paper are long gone. Today’s data collection apps make it possible to gather field data right from your smartphone, tablet, or iPad. Mobile collection platforms have not just simplified how we collect field data but have also made it easier to store, analyse and share information. If you’re looking for an application to fill out your forms in the field, here are 5 questions that will help you choose the right data collection tool.

Is an Internet connection available in the field?

As fieldwork often involves data collection in locations with unreliable or unavailable internet connection, it is imperative that your field survey app works offline. Field data collection software that doesn’t require an internet connection lets you backup your data and upload it once you are back online. Most applications for offline data collection save all forms on a mobile device. The app transfers them to a Cloud database once internet connection becomes available. 

What will your data collected in the field be used for?

If you are working in fields such as construction, environmental, and transportation, you will need to collect the specific GPS locations related to the data you just collected. If this is the case, make sure that your data collection forms app integrates geographic dimensions that will allow you to geolocate your data. A quality GIS application will allow you to automatically locate your data collection forms at your current position, or a desired location, either by clicking on a map or by specifying a civic address. In addition, look for an app that will let you obtain data in a variety of formats. These exports can be in Excel, PDF, and CSV. Some apps also offer formats that integrate geomatic dimensions including GeoJSON and shapefile.

Is the platform flexible?

Data collection needs can vary depending on industries, the nature of field operations and data collection methods. As such, look for a field data collection app that has all the features necessary to adapt to the way you manage your projects and user permissions, create forms, and choose the geometry of data. It is also important to consider the data visualization capabilities of your data collection platform. For example, having access to a map that allows you to view geolocated data and filter it according to different criteria will help you make fast and effective decisions. In addition, make sure that you can work on you data both on your smartphone and laptop. This should includes the ability to add, modify, and delete data efficiently. 

On what basis is the pricing established?

The cost of data collection apps is usually based on the number of users registered on the platform. However, it is worthwhile to look for alternative pricings. For instance, some solutions increase their price with the amount of data stored in the database. After all, the real value of a data collection app is in the data. It is not necessarily in the number of users within the platform.

What is the quality of the support and resources available around the application?

Transitioning from pen and paper to a mobile device and digital field forms requires new workflows. As such, it is vital that the software company you choose is committed to quality technical and customer support. Also make sure that they include the provision of training videos and guides for your team. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to contact the supplier directly. This way, you will find out if they are be able to meet your specific requirements.

Conclusion

The effectiveness and efficiency of data collection apps will take your business to the next level. We hope that this article has helped you select a mobile forms app that will meet your needs. Are you ready to choose your field data collection app? Start using Coral Collect for free today.

Top 5 Benefits of Using a Field Data Collection Application

The traditional way to collect data in the field is through paper forms. If this is what you’re using, know that there are much more efficient solutions available.

However, many organizations are hesitant to change their way processes work. You don’t need to fix something that’s not broken, right? Well, just because something has been done a certain way for years does not mean that there is not a better way to do it.

Moving away from paper forms will not only save you time and money, but it will also improve the efficiency of your operations.

Here are the top five reasons you should be using a field data collection application instead of traditional methods:

1.  It Saves Time – And Money!

Hiring field technicians is an expensive task. However, these specialists provide extensive value in the field. This means that you want to maximize the time that they spend in the field. You are not paying them to fill out paperwork!

When you use a field data collection application, your field teams will collect data directly on their mobile devices. The app shares this information instantly with other team members and office staff. This ensures that you get the most out of their time in the field.

Furthermore, it will also give you a competitive advantage over your competitors. Our research shows that you can save up to 40% in data processing time by using a data collection app!

2.  Accelerated Decision-Making Process

A data collection application allows the field manager to monitor the field data in real-time. This allows you to identify bottlenecks and other potential problem areas with your projects immediately so that you can make informed decisions and act on them as soon as possible.

3.  Improved Process Standardization

One of the biggest problems with traditional paper forms is that every field technician will fill them out differently. There are no required fields on a piece of paper, so they can fill them out however they’d like.

A data collection application allows you to standardize this process. It ensures that there is no variation in the data – regardless of who is doing the field observation. In addition, all collected data is automatically geolocated and transferred into a database.

Besides the fact that this eliminates errors or indecipherable information, it also ensures that no forms are damaged or lost. This will strengthen your data analysis abilities and allow you to better understand trends and patterns within your data.

4.  Access All Necessary Tools from One Place

Field data collection applications also allow your technicians to have every tool they need in one place. They no longer need to carry around cameras, GPS devices, pencil and paper, or even maps that help with field orientation.

Everything they need is available right in the app!

5.  Enhanced Customer Service

 Enhancing customer service is another benefit of using a field data collection application. You can provide your customers with quick access to quality reports by using the app. You can also avoid delays and errors in your deliverables that are caused because of issues with paper forms.

Moving Forward with a Field Data Collector

If you are ready to upgrade your process and move forward with a field data collection application, use Coral Collect for free!

Coral Collect provides an easy solution for data collection, storage, and sharing. This tool will help you use field data in collaborative ways and allows all levels of the organization to manage field data.

Benefits of an unlimited number of users for your Data Collection Tool

A data collection app is invaluable to any project that requires the use of field data. This tool not only collects the data but also analyses it to obtain meaningful information. The point of this is to enable the manager to create personalized digital forms, have accurate information on users, make informed decisions, and more.

None of these would be possible without the use of accurate data collection methods and proper tools. These tools which typically come in the form of Software as a service (SaaS) vary in the market. It’s best to use a platform with form builders on it that supports the use of mobile devices.  

Pricing depends on the features it offers and the number of users. 

What makes a great data collection app?

  • It should support offline data collection.
  •  It should automate your dataflow and support integration with a GIS app to best analyze data.
  •  It should support the use of an unlimited number of users.

On the subject of users, let’s review the benefits of having an unlimited number of users:

1. Unlimited collaboration

With a limited number of users within a data collection platform, there’d be limitations to the level of collaboration an organization’s teams have. However, providing an unlimited number of users ensures that all teams and managers have access to the necessary data.

2. License sharing is not necessary here

While license sharing can be beneficial to most companies, some issues could potentially arise from this. From the loss of control on your data and even the risk of misidentification of users.

This is opposed to when there’s an unlimited number of users who all have accounts, making it possible to identify who collected the data in the field .

A collaborative environment is invaluable in the success of any project. This includes the relationship between the management and the rest of the team, and even the clients. A solution with an unlimited number of users will help achieve this.

Not yet convinced?

Let’s look at a case study:

Compare companies A and B of different sizes. Company A has one employee who collects data daily, as opposed to Company B who has 10 employees that collect data two to three times each month. At the end of the month, chances are that both companies all have the same amount of data. However, B will be more likely to pay 10 times more for the use of the software.

That said, any data collection app with an unlimited number of users makes for an even better overall experience, better than a per-user licensing model.

For access to an all-in-one tool for field data collection, consider Coral Collect.

All plans on this platform offer an unlimited number of users. The added value for a company that collects data is related to the data and not to the number of users. However, the two are not mutually exclusive so, do not limit the number of users who can collect and share your data.

This solution saves you a lot of time. All you need to do is create a form, collect your data, and share this data in real-time in the field. You can access this data whenever you need it.

Get more information on sign up and pricing for Coral Collect.

References

1. 10 questions to help plan your field data collection. Chaac Technologies. https://chaac.tech/coralapp/10-questions-to-help-plan-your-field-data-collection/

2. A simple way to collect data efficiently. Coral Collect. Chaac Technologies. https://chaac.tech/coralapp/

3. Coral Collect.  https://chaac.tech/coralapp/pricing/.

9 common mistakes that could ruin your field data collection operation!

Organizing field data collection operations from scratch can be stressful and overwhelming. Typically, they involve a lot of people and occur in dynamic environments, where control is limited. Following the article 10 questions to help plan your field data collection, we want to continue to help you during the preparation of a data collection operation in the field, by telling you 9 common mistakes to avoid:

1 – Not planning ahead of time

Field data collection operations are complex and require careful preparation. Skipping the planning part is one of the most common pitfalls! Too often does this lead to having your teams realize they are unable to collect data properly once in the field. This will most likely delay their work and waste precious time. In the worst cases, your teams may even need to stop their operation and return to the office.

Make sure to build a list of all factors that could prevent your teams from conducting their field operation, and find ways to attenuate them. These factors may be:

  • Environmental
  • Operational
  • Legal
  • Etc.

Think ahead of anything that might go wrong because it probably will!

All your team members must know of these risks and be aware of the actions to take in their occurrence. Let’s look at the second most common mistake: Lack of training.

2 – Not training your teams enough

In many things, training is the key to success. This is especially true when speaking of field data collection operations! Properly trained personnel usually perform faster, better, and with more confidence. Not only should training help your teams collect data, but it should also instruct them to find the right data!

Having the right data increases confidence in data sets, which enables optimal quality analysis and reporting. In addition to data quality, proper training helps ensure your teams are all working on the same level.

Everyone sees the world differently. Consequently, when different people are collecting data, their perceptions likely vary. For example, a person might report a piece of equipment as dangerously damaged. Another person could find it to be functional. Calibrating your team’s processes reduces variations in data sets, which reinforces their validity.

Properly training your teams increases the quality of data they collect. Contrarily, sending them in the field without the right tools and equipment could compromise their work.

3 – Not using the right tools

Providing the appropriate equipment to your teams will improve their efficiency in the field and the accuracy of the data they collect. These tools come in various forms:

  • GPS receivers
  • Tablets with a data collection app
  • Measurement equipment
  • Drones
  • Etc.

The main expense in the field most likely will be your personnel, so investing in tools to improve their efficiency makes sense. Trying to save a few dollars on equipment may end up inflating the costs of your operation!

The right tools should boost your team’s potential in the field, as long as they know how to use them.

Image of two people using a data collection application in a field.

4 – Not practicing with your equipment

So, think you’ve found the perfect tool, one that promises to solve all of your problems? Great! Now please spare yourself from another costly mistake. Sending your teams in the field without a thorough knowledge of their equipment is a recipe for disaster! Any equipment or software requires a learning period. Even the simplest of tools take time to master.

How this new tool can integrate your workflows also deserves some of your consideration. Should you completely change the way you work to use this tool? Wouldn’t it be better if this tool was flexible enough to integrate your workflows easily?

Let’s move on to another common mistake in data collection operations regarding workload.

5 – Underestimating the data processing workload

Field data collection is hard work! Not only do your teams need to stay intellectually focused throughout the entire day, but they are also at the mercy of the environment: Rain, wind, sun, etc.

By the time your teams return to the office after a long day collecting data, they may be tired, even exhausted at times. How can you ensure that they process data properly and promptly? Things may be tougher if you’re still using paper forms or inappropriate tools. Sometimes, you may even need to copy complete datasets manually. The best way to avoid bottleneck situations in data processing is to assign enough people to the task. 

Here is something I’ve learned from working for more than 10 years as a field data manager in emergency response: You should assign an average of one person to process the data manually* collected by three field teams. Using a data management platform means analyzing the same given amount of data will require fewer people.

Now that you’re taking into consideration data processing, have you thought of how much data your operation requires?

6 – Collecting too much information

Have you ever heard of big data and its promise to revolutionize the world? For the benefit of your data collection operation, please steer clear from this concept! Instead, try to focus on collecting just the right amount of data. Try not to collect unnecessary data just in case ”it might eventually become of some importance in a vague and distant future”! Collect only what you need! Not only will over-collecting data decrease your team’s efficiency in the field, but it will also make data processing more complex.

7 – Collecting too few information

Collecting too little information will jeopardize your ability to meet your goals. You might think this is self-evident, believe me, I wish it was. The harsh truth is that you cannot create knowledge out of missing data. Let’s not get into details about this, but try to make sure to include all required fields in your form, to enable your data analysis team to work properly. How can you be certain it does? By confirming they have all the required data when you get your field team to practice with their equipment.

This covers most aspects of the data your field team will actively collect, now if only there would be some information to verify it! This brings us to another common data collection operation mistake…

8 – Not collecting metadata

Metadata represents data collected by your teams indirectly, which pursues what they’ve collected. At the bare minimum, your metadata should help you answer these three important questions:

  • Who collected each data
  • When was the data collected
  • Where was the data collected

Metadata is invaluable for quality assurance, quality control (QAQC), and to get information from data many years after its collection.

So, you think you’re all set? Wait, here comes the most common mistake that could ruin your field operation.

9 – Not focusing on your objectives

So far, we’ve touched base on how complex field data collection operations can be, and how many factors may threaten their outcome. Sending people in the field to collect data, bring it back and process it, is a challenging endeavor.

It’s easy to stray from the objectives that justify your field data collection in the first place, with all these steps necessary to ensure your operation’s success. When in doubt, step back and take some time to reflect on your objectives. Focusing on your goals will enable you to make the right decisions and better articulate what you expect from your teams in the field.

Now that you know of all these mistakes that may threaten your data collection, we hope you’ll be able to avoid them!  Don’t forget that your field operation’s success begins with thorough preparation.  If you’re looking for a way to make your field operation simpler,  we invite you to try Coral Collect for free.

*Writer’s note: Collecting data with paper forms, a GPS receiver and photographic camera.

10 questions to help plan your field data collection

Your organization has mandated you to organize a field data collection operation. Whether you are experienced in planning this type of operation or not, to think about it first is often a good idea! When it comes to field data collection operations, there are plenty of elements to consider. We’ve developed 10 questions to guide your reflections, to help you plan your field data collection as efficiently as possible.

1 – What is the purpose of this field data collection operation?

This question aims to establish the basis of your reflection. Understanding the purpose of your field data collection and knowing how the end-user will exploit it is important. You must also be aware of the format in which they are expecting your data:

  • A detailed report, in PDF format
  • An Excel datasheet
  • A geographic map
  • A data file compatible with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) (GeoJSON or Shapefile)

Keep your operation’s purpose in mind all through this reflection. The second question introduces time constraints concerning your operation.

2 – When would be the optimal moment to collect your data?

We invite you to reflect on the moment at which your field data collection should take place. For example, if you need to collect data found on the ground in a natural area. You might not be able to access it if snow covers the ground. If you’re collecting data on a seashore, you might only be able to access data at low tide. If your teams are collecting data door to door, they have more chances to meet people at home after regular business hours then during the daytime.

Depending on the type of data you need to collect, you must think of the optimal moment to collect it. Our next question introduces how time might affect the quality, even the validity of data.

3 – What is the lifespan of the data you’ll be collecting?

We’re asking you to reflect on the way time might affect your data. Should you analyze data based on a single field collection operation, or should you be observing your data’s evolution over time?

Let’s use a data collection on surface control on a road network. Temperature variations and the number of vehicles will directly impact the state of the road surface. In this situation, such as in many others, it would be better to observe data collected a few times during a year.

Following this reflection on the consequences of time over data, here is a fourth question, which might save you some time!

4 – Is there any existing data available?

Here’s a simple question that might save a lot of time during your data collection operation! Would your organization already have data that you could use? Is there any open source or public data that you could integrate into your data sets? If so, this could spare a considerable amount of time from your operation.

Let’s move on to where your data collection operation will take place, with a fifth question.

5 – In which environment will your data collection operation take place?

The environment of your data collection operation may have a direct impact on data accessibility. Some types of environments might enable your teams to collect data with ease. For example, if they need to collect data on grounds owned by your organization. Other settings might complicate their task. For example, if the data they need to collect is located on top of telecommunication towers, sitting on grounds requiring granted access. 

In some instances, you may even need to collect data where sending people would be unsafe. Thus, you might need to seek alternative solutions or technological tools, such as these different types of imagery:

  • Satellite
  • Aerial
  • Drones

This reflection on the environment in which your field data collection operation will take place leads us to a sixth question.

6 – How will your data be geographically positioned?

The nature of the data you will be collecting should determine how you should position it geographically.

A simple postal code might be sufficient to position data when collecting door to door. In other instances, latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates might better suit the needs of the end-user. For example, if collecting data on municipal infrastructures (street-lights, fire hydrants, street signalization, etc.). Depending on the nature of the data, you most likely will use one of the following means to position data:

  • The civic address if your operation is taking place in an urban environment
  • Noting coordinates taken with a GPS pointer
  • A software application on a mobile phone or tablet
  • Surveying equipment

The nature of the data required by the objective and the deliverables of your operation directly influence the choice of equipment. This seventh question is also concerning your data collection’s environment.

7 – How will your teams find their way and know where to collect data in the field?

Depending on where your data collection will take place, there might be an internet connection available or not. Regardless, your teams in the field should have proper orientation and know where to collect data. So now, think upon what you’ll be providing for them to know their whereabouts in the field. After all, many options are available:

  • Paper maps
  • Electronic maps downloaded on mobile
  • Cartographic software applications
  • A data collection application that includes a mapping interface

Following these reflections about your operations environment, our next question brings us back to data.

8 – Which data is essential to reach your collection’s goals?

We invite you to reflect upon the data necessary to reach your operation’s objective. It may be tempting to collect data that is superfluous, just because it is available. However, not only might this complicate data collection in the field, but also make its management more difficult.

Once you determine which data is primordial, you may start working on the form that your team will be using in the field.

When establishing data collection forms, one of the best practices consists of inserting multiple-choice questions to your form, as often as possible. This technique enables you to:

  • Reduce the amount of time you devote to collect data
  • Standardize the data 
  • Scale down on the amount of time your data management requires

Let’s move on with a question concerning data that will support the one collected in your field operation.

9 – How will you collect metadata?

Supporting the data you collect during your operation with metadata is a strong recommendation. Metadata allows you to keep track of who collects the data, where, and when. This most likely will be useful throughout your operation, and perhaps even after, in some cases. Metadata helps you:

  • Follow the evolution of your teams in the field
  • Check for data trends and anomalies effectively
  • Offer traceability to your data

For more information on the importance of metadata you can refer to the 8th error of the article: 9 common mistakes that could ruin your field data collection operation!

It is preferable to integrate the collection of metadata directly in the form your team will use in the field. Alternatively, you may choose to use tools that automate these steps in your processes. Which takes us to our last question:

Image of a person collecting data in a field with the help of an app on a tablet.

10 – Which equipment or technology might help you collect data most efficiently?

The purpose of this question is to help you determine which tools could optimize your field data collection operation, based on the expected results. Nowadays, data collection applications, such as Coral Collect, optimize the efficiency of field data collection operations. Coral Collect helps by:

  • Improving your team’s orientation in the field while enabling real-time data sharing
  • Implementing geographic coordinates to the data automatically at the moment of collection
  • Adding photos directly into your forms
  • Enabling the export of data into reports instantly 
  • Automating the transfer of data into the database, thus reducing the time allocated to data management by 40% in comparison to traditional methods.

Imagine the amount of time transcribing data manually onto paper forms requires! Data collection applications eliminate this type of manipulation in your process.

We sincerely hope that these questions will help guide your thinking so you may plan your field data collection efficiently. We invite you to try the Coral platform for free! You will be able to collect, save, and share data in the field in a collaborative way with everyone involved in your operation.