Collecting Asset Inventories Using Mobile Applications

 

The City of Lake Forest, IL Engineering Department collects a sidewalk condition inventory every five years. This inventory is used to spatially plan annual capital improvement projects. Historically, Engineering staff field survey sidewalk conditions with a laptop and desktop Geographic Information System (GIS) software to identify areas of concerns. The sidewalk inventory information is then exported to spreadsheets and populated with construction dates which coordinate with the rest of the City’s Capital Improvement plan. To help streamline this process and remove some of the steps involved, the sidewalk survey is now performed using a mobile application called Collector provided by a company named Esri.

With the use of the free Collector application, staff can now perform the sidewalk inventory using just a tablet or smartphone. This method eliminates the need for using a laptop to conduct this inventory. Using Collector, users create a point at a desired location, define attributes associated to that point, and capture a related photo. The captured sidewalk survey data is then extracted from the tablet onto the Engineering workstations. The data can now be exported in a spreadsheet form and used for capital improvement planning and biddings.

The above process can be replicated to field capture any location inventory. Utilizing a tablet or smartphone is a more convenient platform for use in the field. The intuitive functionality of the mobile application reduces training time compared to advanced GIS software. The ability to capture the inventory without requiring desktop GIS software saves money in licensing fees and provides the city with the flexibility to replicate the process for collecting other asset information in the future.