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Advancing mobile data collection

Joe Segretto,
OBG's Mobile Data Platform

As GIS (geographic information systems) services have already become the expectation of many clients in the industry for largescale data collection efforts, OBG has taken this technology to a new level by creating a web application that is advancing how the company collects and shares data.

Developed through OBG’s innovation program, which funds employee ideas through a gating process, OBG’s new Mobile Data Platform transforms data collection from pen and paper notes to a robust system of information integrated directly into the project. The platform combines the power of GIS and centralized data, and puts it at the hands of anyone with a mobile device—delivering high-quality data, while reducing data management costs. 

Instant data availability 

For many engineering projects, large amounts of data must be collected and quickly turned into information. This combination of complexity and time sensitivity is creating challenges for companies looking for ways to more efficiently transform collected data.

Traditionally, field data has been collected on paper forms, using handwritten notes that are later transcribed into a digital form. Photos taken on cameras also are downloaded and matched up to existing data. Turning manual data into reports has included various steps, often starting with deciphering notes and typing them into tables. Once in digital form, the information is then loaded into different applications for analysis and reporting. This time-consuming process often results in inconsistent data that is difficult to analyze and report.


OBG’s Mobile Data Platform has streamlined the field data collection process using mobile devices, centralized data, and automated workflows, all of which improve efficiency.

OBG’s new platform allows field teams to electronically send data to a centralized database, where it is immediately available for analysis. Project teams receive instant feedback and can begin to draw conclusions instead of waiting for new data (which could have taken weeks). Using automated workflows, when new data are automatically loaded into a central system, reports can be automated, allowing project managers to focus on decision making instead of the details of data and reporting. As soon as new results are entered, pre-formatted reports, maps, diagrams, and charts are easily accessed.

How can the platform help you?

OBG works with clients to identify their specific data collection need and develops a custom application using infrastructure already in place to not only collect, but also store, analyze, report, and share. Project teams use a free mobile app, which hosts the platform and offers flexibility for personal data collection preferences.


What makes OBG’s Mobile Data Platform unique is its use of ArcGIS to create automated workflows that can be applied to a wide variety of projects—from environmental field sampling, site decommissioning, and energy audits to facilities management and construction.

Case studies

Collecting hazardous material samples for major decommissioning project. OBG’s Mobile Data Platform was used for a global chemical manufacturer’s site decommissioning project through documenting locations for potential hazardous material samples. As sample locations were collected, online maps updated in real time, allowing the field team to view buildings and areas that had already been inspected, while the rest of the project team could monitor progress from the office.

Surveying equipment specifications and utility demands for relocation project. A manufacturer of residential and commercial building products was considering the relocation of process equipment from a decommissioned to an operational facility and engaged OBG to develop a budget and schedule for the potential relocation. Using OBG’s Mobile Data Platform greatly improved efficiency as the team could move directly to developing the estimate and schedule following each site visit.

Investigating more than 500 inactive landfills across New York State. OBG is working with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to investigate more than 500 inactive landfills—nearly 60 each week—throughout the state. The evaluations include a preliminary assessment and GIS mapping; sampling activities and hydrogeologic investigations; and preparation of a site investigation report. Using OBG’s Mobile Data Platform, data is seen in real time, right as each feature is collected in the field, successfully streamlining project workflows and simplifying how the team keeps statistics and tracks progress.

Collecting samples for more than 30 lead remediation projects across New York State. OBG’s Mobile Data Platform has supported multiple phases of lead remediation projects at more than 30 facilities throughout New York. Using OBG’s platform, field teams collected data at each sample location providing real-time progress updates to the project team and later, as laboratory data came back, automated workflows made printing lab reports fast and efficient. The platform was applied further to perform lead risk assessments that were used to create remedial designs for each facility. Overall, the efficiency of OBG’s platform saved the client thousands of dollars.

About Joe Segretto, GISP
Joe, GIS Applications Manager at OBG, has more than 18 years of experience working with GIS. He applies his technical expertise in GIS, GPS, and data management to help OBG deliver innovative solutions to clients. Joe holds a master’s degree in geography from Ohio University and is an ESRI Certified Enterprise System Design Associate. Joe can be contacted at: Joe.Segretto@obg.com.

About Logan Reid
Logan, a project scientist at OBG, has more than 11 years of experience working as an environmental professional with GIS, focused on using GIS for site investigations and remedial programs. He holds a bachelor’s degree in geography from SUNY Geneseo. Logan can be contacted at: Logan.Reid@obg.com



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