Our natural resources are essential to the survival of our planet. With all of the environmental concerns surrounding this election cycle, the news stories that fill our screens about shortages and disasters on a global level and even more localized crises that have come to light about pollutants in the domestic water supply, your natural resource department or environmental organization is probably being pushed to the brink.
Trying to stay ahead of potential issues before they occur, or before devastating consequences take place is not only your professional responsibility, it’s also likely a cause that’s close to your heart; it’s why you do what you do in the first place.
How many days do you feel like you just can’t stay ahead? How many times do you wish you had more time, or a better tool to accomplish what you believe needs to be done?
Mobile data collection technology has certainly improved
If you’ve been in the field for awhile, you know that some technology has improved. By running a quick search, you’ll see that the options for mobile field data collection apps have exploded. The reason is simple: people know that something needs to be done, and mobile data collection is certainly a start.
But, it’s often not the “total solution.”
Generally, even with mobile data collection options, there’s still a lengthy paper trail followed by tedious reporting requirements. This means that the manpower hours that go into “getting the job done,” make it hard to be effective, let alone to stay ahead of the game.
What if you could do more?
A recent Iowa State University study set out to look at what the future of mobile field data collecting and reporting could look like. The first thing it found was that the technology is out there, but that environmental agencies are so stuck in the “paper trail” method of reporting, that even when they’re implemented, they’re still falling short.
It’s a cycle that repeats itself over and over again. There’s important data to collect. So, teams are sent out into the field where, at worst, all information is collected on paper then brought back to the base for analyzing and reporting, or, at best, the information is collected on paper, then entered into a mobile device.
From there, the data is reported and analyzed by way of traditional technology – spreadsheets and other software programs that require manual sorting and sifting. Then, when patterns start to become apparent, they’re reported, often after most of the negative consequences have already taken hold.
Where’s the proactivity? Where’s the chance to prevent a problem before it takes place, or before it becomes a problem in the first place?
This is where the gap between field data collection and reporting becomes apparent. The good news? This gap can be closed with ease.
Bridging the gap
While environmental firms and service providers have started to move in the right direction, the answer is still out there. It’s possible to save time and to become more efficient than ever before in both the collection of field data and its reporting.
The answer is in technology, in the right data collection platform and data management system.
When the right platform and management system is in place, data that’s collected in the field – through a mobile data collection app – can be instantly reported. It doesn’t need to be a two-step process; it really can be that simple and the paper trail can actually be eliminated. Think about the manpower time savings and potential benefits!
Once data is reported, the centralized data management system can be programmed with appropriate algorithms to analyze the data that has been collected – in real time – to highlight potential patterns and to allow for decision-making based on time-sensitive information.
The technology exists; it’s what we’re passionate about and what we’ve created entire platforms and systems around. Using the technology we’ve created, we can harness the power of the field data you collect to make real impacts in the natural resource industry, which in turn benefits society as a whole.