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.
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.