How Innovative Field Data Collection is Driving Enterprise-Wide Benefits

Remember when field-based workforces used paper-based methods to record data, before driving back to the office and entering it into their GIS? It reminds me of when I used to go to the local video store to rent a film. And that was back in the day. Thankfully, not only do I now have Netflix but field based workforces have the capability to get accurate and timely information in and out of the field. Increased accuracy of data collection ultimately improves the value of an enterprise GIS, while empowering a more productive workforce, streamlining workflows and reducing operating costs. 

In this year’s Customer Success Awards we shortlisted three of our customers who are demonstrating real innovation in Field Data Collection.  

The Environment Agency has improved situational awareness in incident rooms by using Esri technology to collect, analyse and share live data on major incidents across the country.  During Storm Angus in 2016 and the East Coast surge, images and videos of flood extents and the state of defences were collected in the field using tablets and smartphones and disseminated to stakeholders to improve decision making and coordinate responses with partners. You can read more about how real time data intelligence is transforming the UK’s response to flooding, in this recent article in


Our second shortlisted customer in this category, Atkins, was tasked by the Kenyan Government with undertaking a door-to-door survey as part of its renewable energy assessment programme. The task seemed pretty much impossible with Atkins having to survey 44 of the 47 counties in Kenya, in only nine weeks. Imagine trying to contemplate such a task with pen and paper.  Instead, they used Survey 123 to collect the information they needed. The result?  With only 20 staff they finished the survey on time, on budget, and managed to collect 10,500 high quality assessment surveys with 1.1million attributable entries which they were able to upload daily, for further analysis.

However this year’s worthy winner of our Field Data Collection award was TEAM 2100. Thames Estuary Asset Management is an integrated team from the Environment Agency and CH2MHill, responsible for the UK’s largest flood defence programme which includes the Thames Barrier and 350km of other defences. The team needs to conduct regular surveys of the defences to assess their condition and plan maintenance work and by moving from paper driven approaches to the use of Collector, they have reduced the time taken to do this by half.   They can now quickly, and safely, collect photos, videos and other information which is immediately accessible to everyone once uploaded. And they have created a spatially-enabled video survey video library allowing users to quickly reference a video frame on a map and “go” to that place in the video, in a web-based player. So, not only dramatically enhancing field-to-office workflows but sharing the benefits with numerous stakeholders.

Does your GIS work compare? If you want to share your best-in-class use of GIS, watch out for an announcement in October that will give you the chance to enter yourselves to be considered for the 2018 Customer Success Awards.   Or if you think you have a story for us before then, simply drop us an email on We look forward to hearing from you.