Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Fieldwork Fun!

Hello Everyone!

For my weekly update, I wanted to let everyone know that I have conducted fieldwork for the application!

Example of some of the Inspection Questions
I have been testing out the application and configuring the tables and required questions for the app. What has been tricky is that Collector does not currently have a functionality where you can set fields as required. This has become a bit of an annoyance as there are certain fields in the table that we would like to be required and others that are not. We have tried to combat this by making the "required" fields not allow Nulls, but each time we have tried to do this we get an error message. For now, our workaround for this issue is that I have renamed the field aliases for the required fields so that they say (Req.) at the end. While this renaming will not enforce these fields as required, it will show the inspectors that these are the fields that they need to be most concerned about when doing an inspection. If we see that these edits have not been made, we will send the inspector back out to collect the information.

But I have successfully tested the application in the field! We have decided to use the Collector App in a connected setting (for now...might change later). It really is a fairly straightforward application to use, I have written up a tutorial on how to use the application for Pad Mount Transformer Inspections in both a connected environment and in a disconnected environment. To be sure that we wanted to use the Collector solely in a connected mode, I was sent out to the western parts of town where the cell phone service can be spotty. I had no trouble getting cell service for the IPad but I did have trouble finding Pad Mount Transformers as I had never been to that part of town before. I should have looked at my map before I went out to do fieldwork but I thought that I would just be able to find transformers on the roads that I was sent too...nope. The Pad Mount Transformers were all on side streets in housing developments....I didn't know that before going out. But I had fun exploring.

In total, I field tested about 30 Pad Mount Transformers. While I was out on my own testing the application, I was just visually inspecting the transformer from the outside. However, I was able to go out to the field with one of the inspectors and see first hand how the actual inspection would go. I was able to see inside both a single phase transformer (supplying houses) and a three phase transformer (supplying a business). It was nice to finally be able to see what I have been customizing the application for. The inspector told me that he'll take me into the substation at one point to see what that is like, should be cool!

  The green triangles represent the transformers that I field tested

Hopefully I will be able to train the inspectors on how to use the application soon and then we will see how well the application does in their hands!

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