Data Collection in the Cloud
Droplet is a field data collection system, designed to allow data collection wherever you are. The system consists of a Mobile App built for iOS and Android, a Web Interface, and a Server Application.
The different systems allow you to choose the best tool for the job. Sometimes, this will be using a mobile app to capture data and images in the fild. Others, it may be back in the office reviewing, cleaning up, and importing/exporting data.
Data collection excercises are rarely performed by an individual. Droplet allows multiple people to collaborate in the data collection process. Each application coordinates with the server so that all record changes and additions can be accessed in the final dataset. If two people go out and collect data on the same item, the record for that item can be either, or a combination of both surveys.
The mobile app is designed for ease of use out in the field. It features a form based data entry, including fields that can collect data directly from the device's peripherals. As well as image or GPS data, we can configure fields to collect data from the device's compass, accellerometer, or potentially even an unknown component attached via bluetooth.
Additionally, the mobile application can operate either in "online" or "offline" modes, allowing you to capture and edit data whether you have an internet connection or not. This is particularly important in places where there may be no signal avaialable. The app simply stores the data and performs a synchronization with the server whenever the connection is avaialble.
The web interface is used to manipluate data as a table, allowing bulk entry and editing, as well as data exports.
The server is a cloud based back-end that handles the incoming and outgoing data updates. It operates quietly in the background making sure that everything keeps going.
Schemas are somewhat like document templates, specifying the structure of what you want to collect. To start collecting data, you would first build a schema for your data collection.
Sometimes, in the middle of a project, you may find that you want an extra field, change something to a drop list, or perhaps collect a whole extra table of data. Droplet allows you to simply modify the schema, and continue working with the changes.
Most mobile devices come with GPS inbuilt, and Droplet utilises this technology to it's fullest extent. In addition to standard GPS Coordinate coordinate colleciton, we can also collect paths as you walk or drive.
The map editors allow you to add and edit locations, paths, or areas against records, so you don't need to have a perfect gps signal, or even be on-site to make changes to a location.
Once we have your records located, we can map them in a variety of ways. The GPS coordinates can be projected onto a Google / Apple Maps background, or directly on to your own high-resolution georectified aerial photo or drawing. Droplet can also accomodate orthognal projections, allowing you to locate an record against a standard floor plan.
To accomodate data transfers between Droplet and your GIS, we can translate data to or from various projections including Web Mercator (used by many online mapping systems), UTM (Commercial GIS applictions), WGS84(standard Lat/Lon)
Droplet is designed as a marshalling area for collecting new data for other systems. As such, data import and export is a key priority. There are several ways to get data in and out of the system:
Droplet includes some basic reports, formatted to get the most out of your data. There are two basic report types; table report, and card reports. Table reports are simple readouts of table data, while Card reports are formatted to encapsulate smaller amouts of information along with an image. Each report can be printed to a PDF format, and it's table data can be exported to CSV for use in other applications.