The objective of RELIEF is to bring together people from industry, government, and academic institutions to field test hardware, software, and ideas to experiment with interoperability needs for disaster relief requirements. For last week’s RELIEF 13-3 event, the focus was on the needs of FEMA and DHS as the anchor point for collaboration on improving:
- DRC (disaster recovery center) operations - making the assistance experience for affected people more “survivor-centric”
- Mobile operations - field work conducted by DSATs (disaster survivor assistance teams), direct interaction with affected communities
- Network, data, material management - covering hardware and connectivity, such as mobile networking
- Structure and process - advancing the workflows for information capture and management
With Fulcrum, we actively participated and collaborated on all levels, primarily on mobile and DRC operations. Data collection is an instrumental component of FEMA’s entire process, from initial triage of disaster damage all the way through to survivor registration and relief distribution.read full post >>
Fulcrum has enjoyed considerable growth in the past six months and we’re excited about that, considering that we are just getting started and many more innovative features are on the roadmap for 2013 and beyond. What we didn’t anticipate or predict a year ago was the growth of our international user base, especially on the Android OS. A large majority of our current user base resides outside of the United States and English is not their first or even second language, and in some cases, English is not spoken or understood at all. We recognized this at the outset when we started building fulcrum in the cloud for a global audience, we needed to enable any language on any device, based on user-driven requirements and we needed to make it simple, elegant and effective.
We continue to work through many underlying engineering issues to improve the multi-lingual capabilities in fulcrum, but the ability to design, deploy and use fulcrum apps in any language is a reality today. Here’s a short example of how to achieve this under the current architecture. As we improve these capabilities, we’ll update the FAQ and support documentation.
First, we’ll build the app in English as we would want it, including all conditional fields, choice lists, classification sets, visibility and requirement rules. This is a simple illustration showing two sections of a commercial building survey app we’ve built for commercial customers. I’ve shown choice fields with complex visibility rules in the following graphics to provide an example of the versatility of using different languages throughout the app design and implementation.read full post >>
The offline capabilities, efficient team collaboration, and flexibility of Fulcrum can be easily leveraged for Hurricane preparation, response, and relief efforts. Hurricane preparation requires plenty of data collection, and Fulcrum is a great, cost efficient alternative to other GPS equipment. Just as the Uganda Red Cross deployed Fulcrum to take surveys for disaster preparation, Fulcrum can easily be used for similar, hurricane specific preparation surveys. In addition, Fulcrum can be used for collecting infrastructure information, documenting homes for insurance purposes before a storm, shelter assessment, and so much more.read full post >>
Humanitarian aid and assistance agencies are working all over the world to help developing nations prepare for and respond to disasters. We are proud to share that Fulcrum is actively being used by such organizations.
Recently, the Ugandan Red Cross Society has been hard at work in eastern Uganda conducting field surveys to get a better understanding of civil readiness in the event of a disaster. In Uganda, Fulcrum was brought in as a data collection and mapping toolset, and a group of volunteers was trained to use it. This team administered baseline surveys in order to catalog the current situation on the ground. The volunteers, using Fulcrum on Android devices, traveled through villages in eastern Uganda, interviewing heads of household. The group used rigorous surveying methodologies to measure levels of disaster preparedness. These volunteers had no prior experience with data collection, but after some training, were able to efficiently utilize the application to collect data.read full post >>
When we first released Fulcrum for Android nearly a year ago, we had no idea that it would quickly become the primary platform for our users. It became clear that our Android client needed to be the best it could in order to enable our users to collect data easily and efficiently. Since its initial debut on July 31st of 2012, we have released 32 updates to the client, adding new features and increasing performance and stability. Today marks a big milestone in that trend.
Introducing Version 2.0
The first thing you may notice in our latest release is that the colors look a little different. In an attempt to unify the Fulcrum experience across all platforms, the Android client has been redesigned to match our new web experience. Additionally, the workflow has been improved to make it easier to collect data across forms and projects.
Selecting an App
Previously, you would select which app to use from the initial list of apps when Fulcrum launched. We have merged the two steps into one, making a more responsive and flexible experience.
Simply tap the current app name in the top left corner to get a drop down of all the apps available on the local device. Select a new app and you’re ready to go.read full post >>
Fulcrum is an extremely powerful tool for mobile data collection, especially since you do not need to have any knowledge of or experience with GIS or data collection to be able to effectively use it. It is very easy to learn how to use Fulcrum, but with the limitless customization possibilities, we understand it may be overwhelming for a new user. We advise everyone, especially new users, to check out the new user walkthrough and manual. In the mean time, here are a few quick tips and tricks.
1. Think about the presentation of the app
Especially if you are building an app that field surveyors or inspectors will be using, you will want to be sure that the app you create is well organized, streamlined, and that directions are included so that others understand exactly what needs to be done. Using many of the elements mentioned below will help insure that your app is formatted efficiently. Organized, well thought out apps bring in the most complete data.
2. Incorporate sections to control the mobile workflow
Sections are essential for creating a well organized app, especially when the app is going to be extensive. Just as data fields are grouped into relevant sections on any paper form, your Fulcrum fields should be grouped into sections. Breaking your app into sections limits the scrolling a surveyor will have to do on the mobile device, especially when using drill-down sections, the data collector will only have to focus on one section at a time.read full post >>
Harmful algae blooms have become an increasingly public issue along the entire Gulf Coast. Each year Florida’s open coastal waters and estuaries are blighted by these microscopic plant-like cells in seawater, brackish water, and also freshwater. Most notably is the red tide, causing massive population kills in fish, invertebrates, shellfish, and birds. Not only does red tide impact our natural resources, coastal economies, but also public health. Human respiratory problems and the consumption of contaminated seafood brought on by red tide pose human health risks.read full post >>
We love hearing feedback from our users and were very pleased to see Brandon Freeman’s excitement about Fulcrum when he reached out on Twitter. Brandon is a Civil Engineer with TREKK Design Group, and has been using Fulcrum for multiple projects.
Brandon has been utilizing Fulcrum for a while on his own, mainly to manage marketing contacts. Using Fulcrum as a cheap CRM system has been very usefully, since in his two months of working at TREKK Design Group, Brandon has visited 38 cities! With Fulcrum, he is able to keep track of whom he talked to in each city, what project(s) they have going on, who has been sent proposals, and more.
At TREKK Design Group, a majority of business revenue comes from inspection services for wastewater collection systems, and the company believes that their quality, field-collected data sets them apart from the competition. Brandon has more recently started using Fulcrum for internal projects and with clients.
One way Brandon has used Fulcrum at TREKK Design Group has been to prepare for a Sewer System Camera Inspection project that the company is bidding on. Using an app to simply tag a picture with the sewer system manhole ID and any relevant comments, Brandon was able to gather data on a Friday afternoon and instantly send it off to Kansas City before going home for the weekend. The very next morning, those colleagues were looking at the data and making decisions on TREKK Design’s bid.read full post >>
In our latest round of updates, we introduced the ability for administrators to assign records to users within their organization. When a record is assigned to a user, only that user will be able to download and modify the record on their mobile device. This can be useful for ensuring that each team member is doing their job, divide work between users, or to ensure that confidential data is only seen by qualified users.
For this tutorial, I will show you how to assign records within an existing dataset outside of Fulcrum, and then import that data to create a new app. Keep in mind that you can also use this method to update existing Fulcrum datasets, simply by exporting your data from Fulcrum, editing it, and then reimporting it into that existing app.
Prepare your data
Once you have obtained or cleaned up an existing dataset, add a new column,
Over the past month you have probably noticed a few updates to Fulcrum. Our dev team has been working hard to bring you new features and improved functionality to make Fulcrum an even more powerful toolkit for mobile data collection. Check out what’s new…
Import and Merge Data
Many users have existing tools for editing or tweaking their data, whether it be Excel, Microsoft Access, or even plain text. So we’ve added the ability to get data into exported formats, make some updates with the tool of your choice, then import the updated data back into Fulcrum. If you export your data including unique IDs, then the import will automatically detect and merge modified records when pulling the data back in. Check out a full in-depth overview in our online manual.
Some field data requirements need users to only have access to work they’ve been assigned. Now account admins can assign specific records to users in their organization, then only that user will be able to download and modify the record on their mobile device. This enables powerful workflow and process management not possible with most field applications. Check out some more information about it here.read full post >>