Tablet-based surveys

Since the introduction of the Apple iPad, numerous alternative applications (apps) offering different methods of capturing building survey information digitally have been developed. In addition, a wide selection of alternative tablets has been produced, offering a plethora of choice for surveyors considering this method for capturing survey information. This has increasingly led to apps becoming highly evolved to deliver specific surveys, with onscreen interfaces reflecting output documents rather than generic spreadsheets of earlier apps.  

It is not the intention of this section to recommend any particular tablet or app, but rather to outline the key considerations when approaching the use of tablets to undertake building surveys.

The benefits often offered and marketed by companies developing apps principally focus on increasing overall productivity and providing more consistent quality control. While these are not in dispute and are readily achievable benefits, considerations regarding purchasing of hardwaretrainingapp development, app contract costs, data storage and data security need to be considered. The savings in time in overall report production have to balance the upfront investment in these areas. Focus should always be on how the data collected is to be eventually used and the inputting screen designed to reflect this.

This section is written by Richard Wadley from Atkins Ltd.