This Friday, Alex and I will be headed to Fort Worth, TX for the 78th Annual National Association of Counties (NACo) Conference and Exposition. We will be exhibiting in booth 728, so if you’re attending, be sure to stop by!
As I’m sure most NACo attendees understand, GIS and data collection play a very important role in county government. GIS can benefit almost every aspect of a county, from public works to elections to law enforcement. Using powerful GIS in your work saves time, money, and increases productivity. Many counties already consistently use Esri Software; but they could be getting so much more out of their GIS practices.
Along with GIS, there comes a need for creating and maintaining data sets; and Fulcrum has a lot to offer your county.
In my experience as an intern at a municipality, I spent a few weeks collecting data points of fire hydrants that were missing from the database. A Trimble GPS device had to be brought from the utilities campus to city hall for me to use since our department didn’t have one. With Fulcrum, every department in your county can have GPS equipment; people can use their own devices to collect data at any time. Fulcrum is also easier to use and more intuitive than a regular GPS device.
Having a Fulcrum organization plan allows for multiple people to collect data as a team, and since everything is stored in the cloud, data collectors don’t necessarily have to come back to the office to upload and combine separately collected data. A supervisor or administrator can be viewing the data from their desk in the office while data collectors are still in the field. Data is stored securely on our servers, and can easily be accessed by anyone given the appropriate permissions; much easier than giving database permissions on your own servers or emailing shapefiles.
Before I left my internship, I had to help prepare for a historic resources survey. I had to create tables in ArcCatalog for someone to fill out in the field using a laptop. Their plan was to use a GPS device to collect the location of each historic house, and then tie that to the table I created after returning to the office. Fulcrum does all of this at the same time. You build your data collection form (essentially the table in this example) using a simple drag and drop interface, deploy it to a mobile device, and proceed to collect GPS measurements while you fill out the rest of the data. There is also no post processing involved with Fulcrum. Just sync your data and then export it to csv, shp, kml, or geoJSON.
In addition to the fact that you can export the data as a shapefile, Fulcrum can be linked with ArcGIS. You can skip the export step, and import data directly into ArcMap. This can even be done while data collectors are still in the field. This is possible by incorporating Arc2Earth into your GIS toolset.
If you are going to be at the NACo Conference, be sure to stop by to learn more about Fulcrum. If you won’t be at the conference, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have.