How to Find Old Bridge Inspection Data Faster [Including Step by Step Tutorial]

Updated: Sep 12

One of the most common problem for bridge inspection engineers is finding older information such as a report completed years ago or a specific defect picture captured some time ago. With most reports being paper based, finding the information you need is like navigating through a maze.


We have a few suggestions on finding old bridge inspection data faster.


Step 1: Brainstorm the type of information you might need.

Find a copy of any inspection report and highlight the information that you believe you might need to check in the future. We’ve included an example below:



Step 2: Create an excel spreadsheet with the column headers being the information highlighted in Step 1.


The example below shows a simple excel spreadsheet created with the column headers matching the information highlighted in step 1.


Step 3: Download your excel spreadsheet on your tablet and use it when collecting data in-field.

Moving forward you can use this sheet to log your inspection data using your computer at the office or tablet on the field. This methodis becoming more and more popular in the bridge inspection world and is called electronic data collection.

Step 4: Search your spreadsheet for the information you need.

After using your excel spreadsheet to collect data for a couple of inspections you willhave created a Database that can be easily:

  • Searched

  • Filtered

  • Sorted

Find any piece of information just by typing a relevant keyword using the “Control+F” functionality.

While using excel spreadsheets is a decent solution for faster data search, there are a few faults involved with this method such as:

  • There’s no easy way to add images to your data collected on excel

  • Setting up excel spreadsheets could rapidly become complex and time-consuming

  • Writing with excel in the field can slow you down

  • Data inconsistency

For all these reasons we created Data Recon, a software tailored for bridge inspections that enables you to electronically capture pictures and notes in-field without the need for internet access. Data Recon eliminates the hassle of manually setting up your data collection processes as it already has easily customizable templates built in. It also makes data collection in-field efficient with drop down menus and check boxes while ensuring data consistency.



Added to that Data Recon enables you to track inspectors’ activity, inspection progress, create customized reports automatically, sign-off on reports, manipulate & analyzed inspection data and integrate with 3rd party solutions.

Finally, choosing between Data Recon and other off-the-shelf alternatives depends on the volume of data you capture, the degree of automation you desire, and the complexity of your data collection processes.

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