Collecting Road Improvement Information in the Field

The City of Lake Forest, IL Engineering Department manages reported potholes on an annual basis. After the winter months, the streets become damaged from freezing and thawing and regular snow plowing efforts, resulting in potholes and other road repair issues. Historically, engineering staff would field survey reported pothole locations and pothole measurement and condition assessments would be made.  Those assessments would then be put into a spreadsheet with an associated address and that spreadsheet would be given to a village Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist to map the pothole locations. These methods proved to be inefficient and commonly resulted in data lose. To help streamline this process and remove some of the steps involved, the pothole inventory is now performed using a mobile application called Collector.

With the use of the Collector application, staff can now perform their pothole assessments using just a tablet or smartphone in the field. This method eliminates the need to hand write pothole details and have a GIS Specialist manually plot the potholes locations. Using Collector, staff can create a point at a desired location, define attributes associated to that point, and capture a related photo. The captured pothole data is then extracted from the tablet or phone onto the engineering workstations. The data can now be exported in a spreadsheet form and the locations captured in the field are ready to be mapped.

The process introduced by using the Collector application 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 and reduces the need to have multiple people working on one project. The ability to capture the inventory without having to manually plot the location later provides the city with the flexibility to replicate the process for collecting other asset information in the future.