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Working remotely? No problem.

If you work in the geotechnical, environmental or any surveying, landscaping or engineering field, chances are you’ll spend much of your time gathering field data. And depending on where your ‘workshop’ is, you may be doing a lot of your work remotely. 

Surprisingly, many locations across New Zealand still don’t receive any (or very little) internet connection. Just 35km out of Auckland, in the Waikoukou Valley, sits one of the many mobile blackspots around the country. Parts of the Westcoast, Canterbury, Kerikeri and the Waikato also receive poor or non-existing connectivity in their remote regions. 

Relying on hot-spotting or mobile data is also costly in places without reliable public wi-fi access. This means spending a lot on company plans to stay connected while chewing through data. 

But what are you actually using that data for? 

Designing with users in mind

Currently, most people spend around 58% of their time communicating about work, chasing up information or switching between work apps — all tasks that rely on an internet connection and can be dramatically streamlined. For one, creating a seamless app which allows users to upload information, access each other’s work and develop reports reduces the amount of time and apps needed.

The actual work tasks themselves, in many cases, don’t rely on an active internet connection. With the proper templating, a lot of the necessary information can be captured and later uploaded with only one manual entry. 

We used this approach when designing the datanest gather and mapping features. The templates in gather are designed to work on and offline so that managers can create their reporting templates per job based on the expected results. Active users can also edit the template and add new features if they find on-site information that wasn’t anticipated or they’re unsure about. 

For example, a junior employee finds an unusual landmark or soil sample. They can tack on an additional ‘field’ that allows them to add photos, videos or notes, which will be automatically uploaded to the hub, the central communication network, when within mobile range. 

Essentially this allows two minds to work together seamlessly, each doing what they do best. With more junior team members out on-site gathering data, managers and office staff can review these findings, which are generated into a table from the app template. Hubs will even collect data from multiple app users and run the numbers together, creating a larger picture out of the entire team’s site data. 

With the analytical number-crunching and data input automated, more room is left for important interpretation skills that require management strategy. 

Evalu8 and geotechnical fields

This remote-based recording feature was the main driver behind one of our first applications, Evalu8. Coming from the Earth science and geotechnical fields, we were aware of the many national and international guidelines required for collecting water, soil and ground gas samples. Normally, searching for specific guidelines can take hours of one person’s time when a single application could easily complete the procedure. 

Evalu8 was created to collect samples on-site for analysis and collection, which the app can then check against relevant guidelines. Loading results will typically take a minute and provides users with a dashboard they can easily review. All of which makes the collection process, considering the physical components of sample collection, about as streamlined as possible. 

 

Adapting datanest to your workplace

There are many features within the datanest module suite which are multipurpose, even if you are next to a good router. The whole purpose of the application is its flexibility for recording, analysis and reporting — so, whatever your industry, taking notes for the whole team is easy. 

If you’d like to learn more about datanest, get in touch, or try it for free for 14 days.

Sources cited: 

  • Catherall, Sarah. “What it’s like living without a cellphone signal” on Stuff. Date Published: 14th September, 2017. Site link: https://bit.ly/39y7wQA
  • Liu, Jennifer. “People spend more than half their day doing busy work, according to survey of 10,000-plus workers” on make it. Date Published: 6th April, 2022. Site Link: https://cnb.cx/3tIJkBY
  • Sabin, Brook. “New Zealand travel: Where to escape wi-fi summer” on Stuff. Date Published: 29th November, 2019. Site Link: https://bit.ly/3OgTFwL
  • “What’s the best on-the-go WiFi connection?” on Wireless Nation. Date Updated: 15th March, 2022. Site Link: https://bit.ly/3aV0F3S.