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The value of location-based data for field organizations

October 26, 2020

When you call 911, what’s the first question they ask you? What is your location?‍ Knowing where you are — and being able to share that information quickly — is crucial to getting the help you need in a timely manner.  Location matters. Not just in emergency situations, but in nearly all aspects of our personal and professional lives, from the most mundane decisions (which route should I take to work?) to the most pivotal (where should I buy a house?). 

And when it comes to mobile data collection, knowing where things are can be every bit as important as knowing how they are.

The importance of location in mobile data collection

Location-based data is fundamental to making informed business decisions, big and small, whether you’re choosing where to build your facilities or conducting regular maintenance processes that keep your operations humming. 

Say, for example, you’re in the electric utilities sector: How often should your crews conduct vegetation management? 

It depends on where they’re located.

Are they situated in a dense forest, where frequent pruning is needed? Or are they in a tidy and arid urban center, where trimming is only occasionally necessary? 

Knowing the geography of your utility poles enables you to schedule maintenance at appropriate intervals to prevent trees from growing into or falling onto your transmission lines, which can cause power outages — or worse, wildfires — and cost your company millions (or billions) in fines. 

And in the moment — when your team is already in the field — the ability to access location-based data quickly is critical. 

Say a service interruption does occur. How can you dispatch the right crews to restore power in a timely manner if you don’t know where they are? 

If you collect data with pen and paper or use fillable PDFs in the field, tracking your teams’ locations in real time is impossible.

Graphic representation of points on a map - The value of location-based data for field organizations

In Fulcrum, every record is automatically geo-tagged, allowing you to monitor your teams’ location and progress from any location.

Record location automatically with Fulcrum

Fulcrum’s platform integrates location information into all tasks, enhancing workflow and data collection. Every record logged in Fulcrum receives automatic geolocation. Thus, you can easily view on a map where your crews have worked, what remains, and their latest job sites.

This system allows for quick assessment of team locations and progress. It helps identify if some teams are behind schedule. Additionally, it shows if others are available and close enough to assist.

Your crews can instantly generate and send inspection reports from the field. These reports detail equipment locations, include photos, and provide other relevant details. Alternatively, you can set up dynamic workflows. These workflows automatically notify stakeholders of specific events, including their locations. For instance, a hazardous situation discovered during an inspection can trigger an automated email or SMS. This message alerts a supervisor that immediate action is required.

Additionally, you have the option to upload custom map layers into Fulcrum. This feature ensures that essential information, like property or municipal boundaries, is readily available. It remains accessible even in areas without WiFi or cellular service.

In emergencies or during regular operations, having immediate access to location information is crucial. It allows for faster response times. This capability not only saves time and money but can also save lives.