Mobile Data Collection Application using Android

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Challenge

A Bay Area city needed to develop a comprehensive and accurate storm drain geodatabase and geometric network to support the City’s stormwater infrastructure planning, operations, maintenance, and environmental impact assessment. Crews required a simple, intuitive and efficient solution for collecting detailed information about the more than 12000 storm drain features including high accuracy GPS data (2-5m) and digital photography while in the field. Managers in the office wanted to be able to visually track progress of the effort in real-time.

Solution

Farallon developed a workflow-driven mobile data collection application to streamline the process of data collection and synchronization with the projects central database. The application was developed on the Open Source Android mobile platform, allowing it to run on a wide range of devices including modern, high performance smartphones as well as rugged enterprise-class mobile computers with high accuracy GPS receivers. The application supports live synchronization with enterprise geodatabases and is capable of operating in both network connected (via 3G or Wi-Fi) and disconnected environments.
Each unit was equipped with all of the basemap data that field crews needed to accurately locate each storm drain feature including the county’s high resolution aerial imagery, OpenStreetMap streets data, and custom map grids developed in ArcGIS. Locations of known storm drain features are displayed on the map as thematically rendered icons, and can be updated in real time to reflect the most current state of the data collection effort. With the application, field crews are able to collect data for existing storm drain features,remove incorrect ones from the database, and add new features.

To collect data for a single feature, the user either touches a feature icon on the map or creates a new feature which then brings them to a form consisting of a series of questions. Questions may be multiple choice, require the entry of text or a number, or handle the capture of images or GPS coordinates. In order to ensure the quality of data, each question has validation rules which will inform the user of data entry errors to be corrected before progressing to the next question. The application also includes an interface for reviewing and editing data before uploading it to the central database.

For managers in the office, Farallon developed streaming KML services using FME server. As soon as data from field crews is synchronized with the central database, managers are able to review it in an easy to use Google Earth interface. Clicking on a point in Google Earth will open a popup displaying images captured in the field as well as all attribute information. This interface allows managers to track progress, identify errors or inconsistencies, and provide feedback to field crews in real time.

This mobile application has reduced field data collection time by over 50% while its validation features significantly reduce errors providing more accurate and complete data. It is easy to use and requires minimal training.

Screenshots & Videos

Select Mobile application options including data entry, updating, notes, GPS and more

Select Mobile application options including data entry, updating, notes, GPS and more

The application was developed on the Open Source Android mobile platform, allowing it to run on a wide range of devices including modern, high performance smartphones as well as rugged enterprise-class mobile computers with high accuracy GPS receivers

The application was developed on the Open Source Android mobile platform, allowing it to run on a wide range of devices including modern, high performance smartphones as well as rugged enterprise-class mobile computers with high accuracy GPS receivers

For managers in the office, Farallon developed streaming KML services using FME server. As soon as data from field crews is synchronized with the central database, managers are able to review it in an easy to use Google Earth interface.

For managers in the office, Farallon developed streaming KML services using FME server. As soon as data from field crews is synchronized with the central database, managers are able to review it in an easy to use Google Earth interface.