The stormwater inspection process has historically been driven by the production of paper forms and hard copy reports. This paper-driven process costs stormwater site inspections valuable time at the inspection site and negatively impacts the quality and quantity of the collected data. With the use of mobile tablets on construction sites, a site inspector can efficiently collect data while reducing the amount of time spent at a given site. This allows the inspector to visit more sites and meet the needs of more customers. Mobile technology helps inspectors maintain this increased level of productivity. Automated workflows, electronic signatures and auto-populated forms, as well as the ability to send and receive weather data, site photos, and time-critical reports make environmental compliance easier than ever.
A number of tablets are available on the market that can be used by environmental inspectors. Some are better than others, and as you consider which tablet to buy for your inspection team, here are five criteria we used at CloudCompli to make our top three suggestions:
The size of the display is crucial when performing inspections. Smaller displays increase the number of screen swipes and clicks performed during a site walkthrough. Larger screen avoid this problem and they allow for better viewing. A display size of 8 inches or larger will ensure digital forms appear uncluttered, web pages display at their natural size and apps perform without visual constraints. Reading text and negotiating buttons on a larger touch screen is also more conductive for inspectors working in the field on construction sites.
It is impossible for a site inspector to capture all the necessary information without using digital photos as a form of documentation. Camera quality is another important element to consider when selecting a tablet. High quality photos will enhance the inspection process by aiding the notes taken and ultimately provide clients with better reports.
With cloud computing becoming the norm, storage is less of a problem for inspections working in the field. The recommended storage capacity for a tablet used by an environmental inspector is no less than 8GB. This will store nearly 2,000 12-megapixel photos and nearly 2,800 8-megapixel photos. The only time we recommend increasing your storage is when you plan to follow your latest shows and movies on your lunch break; in that case 16GB to 32GB is a safer choice.
The size of the processor determines how fast a device will run and the number of applications it can handle at one time. Devices should have at least a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor in order to meet the needs of an inspector. This minimum level of computing power will ensure the inspection software does not freeze or crash during site inspections.
The amount of time an inspector can use a device without having to stop and recharge it is also important, as it directly impacts the inspector’s efficiency and utilization. Inspections require attention to detail so charging a tablet in the middle of a site inspection is disruptive and could cause oversights. Because the battery life of a device drops dramatically with the use of GPS and Bluetooth, or if the devise is searching for a poor internet signal, it is important to invest in a tablet with sufficient battery life and inspection software with offline capabilities that will ensure maximum tablet battery life for your inspection team.