The secret to faster reports is better data collection. The more organized and the clearer your data is, the faster it will be to piece it together and create your report. We will be presenting below 3 tips that will help you improve your data collection processes:
1. Take Notes Electronically
2. Photo log your images by following patterns
3. Be consistent with naming your defect types and structure components
Tip 1 - Take Notes Electronically
As we cover in details in this blog capturing your data electronically not only helps you better organize it but find it faster in the future. Taking notes electronically should not be an intimidating exercise, it can be done using a tablet and a spreadsheet to start with. Your columns should include the data you need to capture such as “defect name”, “defect location”, “defect description”, etc.
On the same excel spreadsheet you can also create on a different sheet a checklist of the components and subcomponents that need to be examined during your inspection. This ensures that you collected data about all the bridge and didn’t forget to go over any part. An example of such checklist can be found below:
Tip 2 - Follow patterns to photo log your pictures efficiently
With thousands of pictures captured per inspection, photo logging can be considered as one of the most time-consuming tasks, however it’s vital when looking for a more efficient data collection process. There are several strategies to photo log your images more effectively, depending on the type of photo logging. For instance, if you need to photo log by location, you can simply capture pictures in the same order of the checklist you built in Tip 1 and every time you move to a new location take a black picture. This black picture will act as a delimiter that will help you organize your pictures faster afterwards. An example is shown below:
To photo log defects check if your capturing device shows a specific code, number or any form of ID make sure to write this next to your notes to make linking pictures to notes easier at the office. If you are looking for something more automated, then check our bridge inspection software Data Recon where pictures and notes are linked automatically.
Tip 3 - Be consistent with your notes
One of the most time-wasting and frustrating things in data collection is using different names for the same defect type i.e. “crack”, “cracking”, “cracks”, etc. or for a structure component i.e. “stairs”, “stairway”, “staircase”, “stairways”.
This alone adds a considerable amount of time at the office when compiling a report. Moreover, any data manipulation such as filtering, sorting or querying will not be accurate if the data is not consistent.
Digitize instantly your data collection with Data Recon
As explained in this blog digitizing data collection with off-the-shelf solutions such as excel spreadsheets has multiple problems such as the inability to automatically link pictures with notes. Data Recon is a bridge inspection software that enables you to incorporate the 3 tips presented in this blog immediately. Notes are captured electronically using the field app, pictures are linked to the notes automatically and data consistency is ensured by creating pre-defined drop-down menus that inspectors must use when capturing data.
Learn more about Data Recon here.