How to create Smart Field Surveys with clever software solutions

If you think about field survey methods or the different types of field surveys in existence, chances are, civil engineering surveying and archeological surveys might come to mind. But where would you end up if you took the definition of field survey one step further? 

Marketing is another field that has been conducting surveys since its inception. And where there is a field survey, there is bound to be a survey method and survey data collection. In the good (!) old days, that would have almost certainly been synonymous with paper questionnaires, unreadable scribbles and tireless hours spent compiling all the information collected into some sort of actionable report. In the age of software, things can, thankfully, be processed in a very different way.

3 essential elements in field surveying

Starting from the beginning, any field survey will, by its very definition, need field workers, who will adhere to a specific survey design in order to collect field data. Examples of survey methodology in the market research sector would typically include a questionnaire of form to be filled out by the worker. While we wait for drones to become omnipresent, there is definitely a role to be played by clever software that can make field surveys more agile.

In good field operations management fashion, software can play a key role in connecting people, processes and technology.

Basic requirements for field surveys: reliability and flexibility

Over the last few months we’ve had the chance to build a tailored solution for a client looking to optimise their field surveys. Our client’s tactical division have a team of field users that they need to dispatch to locations across Ireland, in order to capture survey data on behalf of their clients. They needed a solution to tackle vast amounts of data from the field in a safe and reliable way.

Their primary requirement was for a smart data capture tool that could validate data on entry to avoid mistakes and reduce the need for manual data cleansing back at the office. They were also aware that any software solution they might choose could not be overly rigid: while they conduct numerous surveys on behalf of their own client’s, requirements are updated and changed on a regular basis.

Connecting field workers and office managers through mobile technology 

Using the GeoPal mobile App, we were able to fulfil our client’s complex data capture requirements, which in turn enabled them to pass high quality data to their clients in a timely manner. Due to GeoPal’s inherent flexibility, our client could rollout a different mobile survey template for each client in a speedy manner.

Many of the surveys carried out by our client are based on a specific mandated call file. Our client sends a rep to a specific location in order to survey pre-selected outlets in that area. Having this framework in mind, our client needed a tool that allowed their reps to manage surveys efficiently on mobile, while providing each team manager oversight of progress back at the office. GeoPal allows the team managers to upload a call file and allocate each area to the appropriate field rep. With the GeoPal mobile App, the field reps can see their allocated stores and keep track of what outstanding work to perform on a daily basis. Back at the office, the completed surveys change colour on the map, allowing the team manager to keep track of and report upon progress.

GeoStack for Mobile Field Surveys

In case you’re not overly familiar with our chosen technology tools, our customized software solutions have the GeoPal mobile app sending information from the field, which is stored on the cloud platform and seamlessly integrated with our client’s ERP system. The last step in this journey are the actionable reports that allow office managers to gain real insights into the work performed by field workers in any given project, at any given time.

While our core tech is around our Mobile Stack, Cloud Platform, ERP integration and reports, there are additional customisable layers that can be incorporate onto client’s projects whenever needed: Internet of Things sensors and asset management systems, APIsscriptable steps and customised Web and Mobile modules.

Conclusion

Smart Field Surveys can be achieved to the benefit of both field workers and office managers and will in all likelihood become an industry standard, as the sheer volume of data collected is only expected to increase until 2020 and beyond.

Looking to get ahead of the competition? Drop us a line and let's design a Smart Field Survey solution worth remembering. 

Share This