Matthew Stayner, FounderState and Federal government agencies require local municipalities and utility entities, by regulation, to accurately track and document their field inspections and maintenance activities. Many organizations—even cities that are as large as Austin, Texas, are still using paper forms to track their field activities. Field crews are wasting hours manually filling out paper forms, taking and uploading photos, and then finishing the paperwork at the office. UtiliSync, a Utah based company, designed a GIS-based field app to solve the document management problem for utility management. The company’s solution enables field crews to complete forms, attach photos, and collect signatures on the job site using their smartphones and tablets. All the work is completed in the field, totally eliminating the need for office time to complete paperwork.
“We feel that cities can really benefit from UtiliSync by providing their field crews with access to their GIS data, and being able to complete inspection forms and maintenance logs based on the GIS layers of their utilities,” explains Matt Stayner, Founder of UtiliSync. With UtiliSync, electronic forms can be customized for organizations to match the information that was previously collected using paper forms. It is also easy to take photos and collect signatures with the app. When the form is submitted as final, a PDF record of the form is generated that looks like the original paper form (header, footer, body format, etc.), and the photos and signatures are inserted into the PDF record. The PDF record is automatically emailed to a dynamic distribution list and saved to the UtiliSync platform for easy access in the future and audit compliance. “UtiliSync eliminates time-consuming paperwork and automates document management,” says Stayner.
Salt Lake County, Utah, has been struggling for years to document their storm water inspections to comply with EPA and State regulations. They were trying to document everything manually using paper forms, and it was not working. The County was audited and assessed a $280,000 fine. Russ Wall, director of Public Works for Salt Lake County, said most of the deficiencies identified by the state and by the EPA were related to the recordkeeping.
UtiliSync eliminates timeconsuming paperwork, and automates document management
“We had been complying,” says Wall. “But we had not been documenting everything we were doing, so there was no proof of what we had been doing.” Now, Salt Lake County is using UtiliSync to document all of their storm water inspections, so they will be ready for their next audit.
Stayner indicated that there are other use cases for UtiliSync beyond storm water, including:
• Manhole Inspections
• Construction Management
• Fire Hydrant Testing
• Street Sign Maintenance
• Permit Compliance
• Sanitary Sewer Overflow
• Wetlands Delineation
• Material Testing
• Condition Assessment
“What makes us unique is that we do not focus just on making it easy to complete a field inspection or maintenance log, but we manage the entire document lifecycle, and it is all GIS based,” says Stayner. The UtiliSync app is now in the ArcGIS Marketplace where users can sign up for a free, 30-day trial. While the app has only been available for a short time, it is gaining traction and already has been downloaded by users from three different continents. In September, UtiliSync will be releasing an installed version of the app that will be available in all the major apps stores, and will allow for offline/ disconnected use.