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How Mobile GIS Data Collection Improves the Bottom Line

Maintenance Crews Need Mobile GIS I focused on how field crews benefit from mobile GIS. 3 Reasons the Back Office Needs Mobile GIS  looked  at how the organization – management, IT, and back office processes – benefits from mobile GIS.

Data continuity between the field and the back office has become standard for work order management in the last several years. Geographic data has lagged somewhat behind in that respect, but technology and usability-related barriers have been overcome.  Esri’s ArcGIS is truly a Platform for GIS allowing GIS professionals to create and maintain location data for corporate assets, and also providing a platform for enterprise-wide distribution, collaboration and analysis of the data. When GIS is integrated with mobile work management tools, data continuity can extend not only from field to office but between enterprise information silos.

The impact of the benefits of mobile GIS integration with work order management explored in 3 Reasons the Back Office Needs Mobile GIS increase dramatically when field crews leverage a GIS to send data to the backoffice rather than just consuming data.

  • Field sketching simplified, enhanced AND accelerated.  Your backoffice team processing field sketches gets out of the interpretation business and into the quality assurance and detail business. Mobile GIS like Critigen Lemur™ can also provide field crews with a no-training intuitive interface to quickly draw the specific type of thing they installed, repaired, or noted was out of place.  They’re creating actual GIS features in the field and adding attribute information directly.  All that’s left for the backoffice team is to ensure the new features are connected properly and merged into GIS system of record – no more reliance on legible handwriting for labels; no more hoping field crews remember the right symbols; no more piles of paper to be moved, stored and interpreted.
  • Capture more and meaningful corporate data. GIS data continuity allows the crew not only to consume but also to also capture things like meter serial numbers and other data that will help the backoffice operate track and manage the assets more profitably.
  • Incorporate field updates in days not months. One customer told us that the mobile GIS we implemented sped the time it took for new infrastructure to be ‘known’ to the company by 6 months!  That resulted in meaningful improvement to their bottom line because of their ability to accelerate depreciation in addition to abilities to plan and execute maintenance more efficiently on new assets.

Finally, avoiding expensive digitization, correction, or survey initiatives with a self-healing data system based on field GIS can become a significant savings. The term self-healing data, coined by Jaime Crawford, refers to minor system and process enhancements to established business processes that facilitate correction or improvement of data with little to no additional burden on the established business process. Critigen is deploying self-healing data systems with a number of customers.  Focusing on usability and simplicity of the geospatial tasks, we’ve made it just as simple for field users to annotate the corporate GIS as it is for them to make pencil/paper annotations on a service card, but with the effect of making the improved data available digitally across the enterprise.

Additional ways mobile GIS benefits the organization?  Share your experiences in the comments please!

Ty van den Akker is a leader in product strategy and manages Critigen’s Lemur product that delivers mobile integration between GIS and EAM field service apps. 

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