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 and transfer 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, such as 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 add, filter, remove, and modify data using the mobile data collection solution both on your smartphone and laptop at the office.
On what basis is the pricing established?
The cost of data collection apps is usually based on the number of individuals who can use the tool within a single organization. However, it is worthwhile to look for a solution that is priced on the amount of data collected rather than the number of users registered on the platform. This is important because the added value for a company that collects information is related to the data and not to the number of users.
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, including the provision of training videos and guides for your team. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult the supplier to find out if they will be able to meet your specific requirements, and under what conditions and time frames.
The effectiveness and efficiency of data collection apps will take your business to the next level. We hope that this article has helped you in the process of selecting 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.