Many engineering firms document field work using paper. However, using computer tablets improves communication and quality, and cuts cost. As with everything on the Internet, this requires a top 10 list. Here are our top 10 reasons to take a tablet into the field.
1. Fewer Hours Charged to the Client
When an employee saves time by using a tablet, that time can be allocated to other tasks or eliminated altogether.
2. Better Integration of GIS Capabilities
Taking a GPS point, geotagging a photo, and describing field conditions with a single device is more efficient than using several devices.
3. Consistent Data Entry
When staff handwrite field notes on standard forms, headings and other information must be rewritten on each page. Not so with electronic forms, which can be easily copied forward.
4. Richer, More Informative Field Reports
With a tablet, we can add geodata, attach photos, and include other information with ease.
5. Ability to Stream Site Video
Using video capabilities, a field representative with a question can show the site to project engineers no matter where the engineer is. This is more informative than a phone call. Plus, work can progress with minimal delay.
6. Quality Assurance
We can require fields in electronic forms to be filled in and time stamps automatically applied. Drop-down lists can limit potential input errors.
7. Access to Information in the Field
Tablets allow a new plan set to be sent to the field rep in real time–at a size that can be reasonably viewed.
8. Real Time Data Delivery
Our projects are often under a tight schedule. Getting data from the field as it’s collected allows us to better direct the field representatives, and begin making our designs and recommendations sooner.
9. Fewer Trips Back to the Office
Returning to the office at rush hour to get that piece of paper back to the office can add cost to the project. Plus, after a long day of work in the field, it’s nice that an employee can go directly home.
10. Automatic Backups
Automatic backups make sure that information isn’t lost if a tablet is damaged. However, we don’t expect much damage, because our tablets are dressed in invisible rain gear and they wear nearly as much armor as this guy.