Industry articles, Software

Best practices for collecting Water Quality data

Innovative approaches to solving very real problems are providing the agility that resource companies require to be more competitive. Companies are able to simply add a mobility layer that compliments existing systems and processes to improve data quality and productivity of field staff.

There are fundamental requirements when collecting environment and water quality field data

  • The data must be accurate
  • Any changes to data must be auditable/trackable
  • The data must be able to provide actionable insights
  • This true source of data must be available to anyone who needs it in a timely manner (be they within a company or external)
  • The system must be flexible and expandable when new employees or equipment is deployed to the field
  • The system might be required to share data with other applications

For any company in the mining, oil and gas industries, these fundamentals can be the difference between a timely project start or a costly delay. Environmental Field Data is essential in producing the report that will secure a government compliance license and permission to begin operations.

We have seen improvements in digital transformation, however we still find companies using a number of ways to collect their field Data.

  • Hand written log books. This is a two-step process. This field-captured ‘pen & paper’ process requires an additional step of being transcribed and manually entered into analysis
  • Form tools or Excel-type spreadsheet. This is also a two-step process. It requires a step of inputting the information captured to the systems that can generate insights/reports.
  • Specific software solution. Specially designed to capture data in the field sent electronically direct to the systems that can generate the reports.

Clearly, any method that streamlines the process of having actionable data will be of great value. The ‘time-lag’ of two-step processes will manifest itself in costly delays. Often with these large Resource projects, just a day or two delay can literally cost hundreds of thousands dollars in lost opportunity.

When examining ways on how you can improve on your current process for environmental data capture, you might want to consider the following:-

Look into what your team requires. If they need to capture data on devices while they are outside of network range, then they require mobile solutions that can be used while devices are online or offline.

  • Look into industry-standard applications that can work across all mobile devices. Flexibility is the key criteria here. Custom-coded apps remain expensive to build, difficult to manage, and time-consuming to adapt as workflows and forms change.
  • Ensure that the application adopted is intuitive and easy-to-use. Change is always difficult. A new system adoption will go much more smoothly if teams can be shown how the applications can drastically save their time and effort without them having to learn a new system
  • Further, the application should map directly on to existing processes rather than force the users to adopt a new one. This can create stress and even result in resistance.
  • Just as you do not want to create a new process, you will also want the application to seamlessly integrate with existing IT systems that help analyse the captured date and provide meaningful insights and reports.
  • The application should enhance collaboration so that data can be accessible wherever and by whoever needs it. Cloud-based applications are ideal in providing a central-source of data. It provides the repository for the ‘true-source’ which is easily accessible and is subject to rigorous audit

Mobile devices provide the opportunity to transform data capture in the field. Tablets and smart-phones have the potential to streamline many parts of the Oil & Gas data capture process. However, don’t take for granted the harsh and variable field environments that your teams may operate in. When selecting tablets for field use, consider things like:  device protection, battery life, visibility in sunlight or rain, weight, and durability.

Innovative approaches to solving very real problems are providing the agility that Resource companies require to be more competitive. Companies are able to simply add a mobility layer that compliments existing systems and processes to drive productivity of field staff. Follow Obzervr on our LinkedIn page to stay in touch.

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