Softwares that can help during a field operation

The huge variety of softwares and apps that exist today allow us to optimize our performance in field operations of all types.
Operational efficiency is, without a doubt, one of the most important element of all production or service activities. In addition, precise control of field operations can be the difference between achieving goals and losing competitiveness.
Below is a list of the softwares that can help you with your company’s field operations at all levels.

Pix4D

Pix4D is a must for all your photogrammetry and drone flight configuration needs.
With Pix4D, you are in complete control of all aspects of your project and have access to:

  • Defining specific areas of interest
  • Selecting processing options.
  • Adding ground control points.
  • Editing point clouds.
  • DSMs.
  • Meshes.
  • Orthomosaics.

SimPRO Software: Project and inventory management

SimPRO is a powerful field service management software which was designed and created by trade contractors, for trade contractors.
If you’re struggling to come up with offers, manage multi-stage projects, manage inventory, connect the office to the field or any other area of your workflow, SimPRO provides a streamlined platform to meet all your most pressing needs while helping you increase your productivity and profits at the same time.

Coral Collect: Mobile data collection

Coral Collect is a solution for the collection and management of field data.
If you want to carry out inspections and readings or make checklists, this solution is ideal for you. In addition to being very easy to use, it allows you to automatically create databases and reports from data collected in the field.
In addition, all the information collected is georeferenced so that you can view it on an online map or other mapping software.
Coral Collect is without a doubt the best value for money in terms of solutions for data collection in the field. Coral Collect offers free plans and an unlimited number of users.

Slack: Communication first and foremost

Slack is one of the most widely used employee-to-employee communication platforms in companies today. You might think that only office workers use Slack, but it’s in fact an excellent tool for communication with field teams thanks to its linked mobile application.
In addition to being free, the application allows you to communicate with all the members of your organization and create specific channels for each team.

TOMTOM: Full control over your vehicle fleet

The TomTom software technology appears to be a very effective option for managing vehicle fleets in real time.
This solution has a simple and user-friendly interface with clear lines and no complexity. It instantly displays traffic information, providing more detailed visibility of the exact status and location of monitored vehicles.
With TomTom’s Dashboard function, it’s possible to:

  • View the status of fleets
  • Check the individual performance of each driver, as well as evaluate their equipment,
  • Obtain a full overview of all fleet members and equipment at your fingertips.
  • Get access to the most relevant information, so that the supervisor can detect (and even prevent) possible unforeseen events.

This means that users can make better strategic decisions relating to:

  • Adjustment of variables.
  • Choice or change of routes based on traffic conditions.
  • Sending of new instructions to drivers.
  • Warnings when too much fuel is being used, excessive acceleration is detected, or the brakes of a vehicle are performing poorly.
  • The app is a flexible tool and has mobile versions for iOS and Android systems too.

We hope this list of softwares that can be used during field survey work was useful. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding the Coral Collect app.

What are the end products that can be obtained from a field data collector?

Field data collection apps provide users with the ability to produce detailed data reports. Ideally, this is to be done as quickly as possible and with the minimum of manipulation on the user’s end.

To provide a practical illustration of their use, let’s discuss the problems of the following working professionals:

  • Michelle is a 43-year-old Field Operations Manager who oversees a team of field workers. She is always on the lookout for versatile ways to increase her team’s efficiency.
  • Jonathan is a 33-year-old maintenance technician who works in one of the world’s most complex water management systems. He sometimes feels that his technological tools do not completely suit his needs.
  • Greg is a 49-year-old VP of operations and technical metering. He is looking for tools that can increase the accuracy of his team’s reports on field infrastructure.

While their careers and level of seniority differ, these individuals all share problems caused by inefficient data collection methods. Each would benefit from the tools in Coral Collect’s mobile data collector, including:

  • The ability to organize and modify data in numerous ways.
  • Access to georeferenced surveys of all the locations one has visited.
  • A wide variety of export and data synchronization tools.

Organizational Tools

A highly customizable mobile forms app allows one to set parameters for data input and adjust as needed. One can view, sort, and modify their data in various ways via an online tabular format.

Another key point concerns the fact that in modern work environments, field forms often need to be digitized. Handwritten notes are often disposed of after they are inputted. Thus, our data collection app’s ability to automatically transcribe into a database various forms of data would reduce a workflow inefficiency.

Location Tracking and maps

The data collection teams have access, though the app, to their location in real time, which greatly facilitates their orientation in the field. In addition, users of the Coral Collect app will have access through the web, from anywhere, a map that displays all the georeferenced surveys that you have collected. A color code and filters also allow you to visualize this data on the map according to the desired themes. This eliminates the often-redundant task of tracking one’s location in addition to the corresponding data.

Create maps 

Coral Collect users, like Michelle, will be able, once the field data is collected, to create PDF reports automatically that will be shared with their supervisor and clients.

Exporting the Data

One of the biggest advantages of a data collector is the ability to integrate the collected data into Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Through an export in shapefile and GeoJSON, geomatics specialists will be able to export and use this data in their GIS software to rework them later.

In addition to GIS app support, Coral Collect is built to maximize ease of use, allowing workers to collect data offline and synchronize them at a later point. It also allows users to export data in Excel, CSV, and PDF formats.

Conclusion

Presently, not all data collectors offer the possibility of producing these final outputs. The value of a data collection solution for Greg, Michelle and Jonathan is assessed based on the results it can produce and the problems it can solved. Coral Collect is a tool that meets all the above criteria and will easily adapt to your workflow.

Curious? Start using Coral Collect for free.

Cloud Storage vs Local Storage in Data Collection

Cloud technology has continued to increase in popularity in recent years. This growth is driven by the fact that users can access stored documents, applications, and additional processing capacity without having to invest in their own software and hardware systems.

Most businesses have found that cloud storage is the right solution, but some organizations prefer to use local based software and databases. Some use cases, like a field data collection application, will only reach its full potential if utilized with a cloud-based solution. On the other hand, a simple word processing application may be able to function properly on local infrastructure.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both solutions, and this article will help you understand the pros and cons of each!

Understanding Cloud Storage Solutions

Cloud storage solutions refer to technology that allows to store information online rather than in a specific server and location. Typically, a third-party service provider manages the cloud storage platform, and you can access the information from anywhere.

Advantages of Cloud Storage

There are many advantages to cloud storage solutions, including the following:

  • Cost-Effectiveness
  • Improved Accessibility and Scaling
  • Enhanced Data Integrity and Recovery

Cost-Effectiveness

Cloud-based options are more cost-effective. You are generally paying based on your usage, so you will only be required to pay for what you use.

Local based solutions require physical infrastructure that costs the same to install and maintain whether you use 1% of its capacity or 100%!

Improved Accessibility and Scaling

A mobile forms app that integrates with cloud storage can allow your field inspectors to create digital forms and upload results directly to a database – which can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. The only requirement is an internet connection (unless your solution allows you to work offline, which is usually the case), and you can have a fully functional field data collection app in the palm of your hands!

The improved accessibility this provides also makes it easier to scale your operations. If your business experiences seasonal demand or unexpected increases, the service provider can increase your available storage capacity on the spot.

Enhanced Data Integrity and Recovery

Regardless of which data collection methods you use, keeping a history of changes and having the ability to recover data are essential. Field data collection software that uses cloud-based solutions lets you do just that!

All of the survey data collection that has occurred is duplicated in several places, ensuring the security and integrity of the data. You can roll back the system if an unwanted change is ever made, but those changes that are intentional will be automatically synced and updated across every device.

Disadvantages of Cloud Storage

While there are many benefits to cloud storage, not every solution is perfect. These are some of the disadvantages related to cloud solutions:

  • Reliance on a Third-Party
  • Added Security Risks

Reliance on a Third-Party

One of the few downsides to a cloud-based inspection app is that you are dependent on the company that developed the solution to access your data. In other words, you are relying on the supplier for performance.

Added Security Risks

If access to your field data depends on a cloud service provider, you are also trusting them to keep your data safe. Your organization does not have exclusive control over the security of your data, so you must trust them!

What about Local Storage Solutions?

A local storage system keeps digital data on physical devices like solid-state drives, hard disc drives, or other infrastructure. You can access the data stored on local storage solutions if you are connected to the local network or if you connect the device to your computer. 

Advantages of Local Storage

Local storage systems have some advantages like the following:

  • Fast Speeds
  • Enhanced Security

Fast Speeds

Since an external or internal hard drive does not need to upload to the cloud or download the data, you can access the information much quicker.

Enhanced Security

When you use physical devices to store field data collection forms, you have complete control over how the information is stored and who can access it. Your organization can design strict security protocols to ensure your data is kept safe.

Disadvantages of Local Storage

Here are some of the disadvantages of local storage:

  • Lack of Accessibility
  • Increased Costs
  • There is no Back-Up

Lack of Accessibility

The biggest drawback of local storage is that your data is not easily accessible. It can be complicated to share survey data with team members and clients if they’re not all connected to the local network. 

Increased Costs

A local solution can be more expensive because it requires investment for infrastructure, maintenance, and regular upgrading costs.

There is no Back-Up

If the server or hard drive that contains all of your survey data collection dies, the information dies with it! When you store information locally, you increase the risk of data loss due to fires, floods, or other issues.

Which Solution is Right for You?

Cloud storage solutions are the future. Local storage is the old way of working. However, many organizations continue to rely on it because they have misconceptions about data security and are resistant to change.

The advantages provided by cloud storage for field data collection far outweigh its disadvantages.

Looking for a cloud-based field data collector? Try Coral Collect for free!