Monday, November 1, 2010

Blind To Site, Part III

Back in the day... Site work used to be so much... work.

Trudging around, filling out a site questionnaire longhand that would only need to be transferred to a computer later. Then, brought step by step into a spreadsheet, a database.

Then finally into desktop GIS, ultimately to be integrated with the existing network.

Fumbling for a camera to take photos. Mumbling voice notes into a hand-held voice recorder.  Scrambling on the cellphone to relay resultsWorst of all, dropping the notebook PC you brought out with you, ostensibly to save a little time.

No more.  Now we do it all on the Samsung Ultra Mobile PC.  On one tablet device, I can do it all - photos, voice, full Excel spreadsheet, even ArcGIS.

Suddenly, what used to take forever and was no fun at all is now made quick, easy, fast.  Work has become a pleasure again.  I can collect all the rich data I need in every way I need literally in the palm of my hand.

And integrate my field work with the network in real time.

Not to mention that tablet computing is a blast, and definitely the next Big Thing (witness the IPad).  
However - unlike the IPad, this Samsung has an integrated QWERTY keyboard - and more importantly, a full blown OS (Windows XP SP3), a powerful mobile CPU, and fully 2GB of RAM.  And if you are not quite as literate texting as your kids are, you can write longhand right onto the PC using a stylus and an input area, and the handwriting recognition kicks in.

What a joy it is to gather the info digitally, once,
into an Excel spreadsheet...
then pull that into ArcGIS...
integrate it with the existing network...
analyze the impact on that network...
compare it with other site options... and
distribute the information throughout the organization and to partners before I even get back into the car to drive to the next site.

We've been using these Samsung UMPCs for over three years now, and we love them.  More so, we're in love with tablet computing.  

So much so, we just bought one of Samsung's new 40 inch touchscreens.

Now, I just have to find a way to mount it into my vehicle.

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