gINT Mobile - iPad or tablet

Is there a mobile (iPad) application planned for gINT in a near future? 

  • I can't speak to what Bentley plans to develop. I hear about a lot of people using gINT Logs on a Rugged tablet PC, consider the following for a successful implementation:
    * Hide fields and tables you don't need for field logging. The DGD Tool has a Hide Scenario function that programmatically hides groups/tables/fields you don't want to see based on selection from a field on the Project table.
    * Use graphical data input, and see the log report as you enter data
    * Use a component description - description broken up into many fields, mostly with lookup lists
    * At the end of each day zip the gpj and email it to your office
    * By working in the same software you want the data to ultimately reside in data transfer problems are minimized
    PDF log reports while in the field
    * When using field devices one must consider automatic backup of data. There are 3rd party apps that can upload automatic backups of gpj files to a webserver.

    Phil Wade
    Bentley Channel Partner and Developer Partner
    E: | T: +61 2 8202 8600 & +65 6631 9780

    Get the most out of gINT with Datgel Tools.

  • If you are looking for a fully functional version of gINT for iOS or android I can not speak to that and you can stop reading right now.

    If you are looking for a means of inputting data electronically in the field that can be used in gINT to produce final logs and fences using gINT in the office, the following may be a way to go.

    For the last 10 years we have used carefully constructed excel spreadsheets to facilitate direct input of field information in the field and eliminated recording of field information on paper logs or in field notebooks. This greatly speeds and streamlines the process of producing finished logs. It also promotes consistency and completeness in the finished product regardless of the individual completing the log. It works as follows:

    1. The excel spreadsheet includes just the tables and fields that are required to be completed in the field for a single boring. No project information, no lab test information. If your data structure does not include component descriptions this can be built into the spreadsheet so that you are completing the component description in the spreadsheet and the spreadsheet assembles the final single description to pass to gINT. The spreadsheet uses excel data validation lists to create drop down pick lists for each field that are simply selected by field personel; limiting the amount of keyboard entry required in the field and making use of the touch interface on portable devices.
    2. A single excel spreadsheet is completed for each boring and saved on the field device. It can then be emailed to the office from the field device or downloaded to a PC with gINT installed.
    3. The excel file is imported into the project using a correspondence file that matches the fields in the excel file to the appropriate fields in gINT. If you make sure the fields in excel are named the same as in gINT then this correspondence file is quite simple. Exporting your current gINT data structure to excel to start building your field input workbook is a good way to insure this.
    4. The gINT project file resides in the office or on a single PC located on the project.

    This set up has the following advantages:
    1. It employs a one file per boring strategy. This allows multiple field personnel to input borings in the field and send them to a central person for import when each is completed. Partially completed borings can be passed to other loggers to be completed in the same way you would treat a paper log. There are no concerns about merging project files from multiple sources and keeping field versions of the project files in sync with office versions.
    2. The pull down pick lists can be made "smart" in excel. They can be ordered so that more common choices appear first (rather than alphabetically in gINT). The top depth pull down can present the last bottom depth as a choice (the next logical entry). The bottom depth can provide choices of the last top depth plus common sampler lengths. Date time fields can provide the current date and time as a choice. Items displayed as choices can be dependent on other choices made in the spread sheet...for example you can have a cell to choose between cohesive soils and granular soils or various rock types. Subsequent pick lists will then only display choices appropriate for that selection promoting consistency and appropriate descriptions. Completeness checks can be built in to make sure all required information is collected and input in the field. Some fields can be automated using excel lookup tables...for example selecting "sandstone" as a primary material can automatically select the graphic symbol name used in your gINT library for sandstone. You can incorporate the complete boring tabulation for the project into the spreadsheet so that if you select the boring number from the tabulation list the location information (Lat. and Long. Station and offset, coordinates and elevation) associated with that boring is automatically looked up and presented as a choice to enter. Standard notes (such as "Top of rock at 6.1 ft.") can be automatically assembled and presented as a choice. You get the picture, lots of possibilities depending on your familiarity and skill with excel.
    3. You can always make custom entries when the items in the pick lists do not provide an appropriate choice. This requires use of a pop up soft key board provided as an integral part of most mobile operating systems but does not limit the field personnel to predefined choices.
    4. By working in excel you have cross platform compatibility built in. We started using this system on windows mobile 5 PDA's but can now use it on android tablets or phones, windows tablets, and probably iPADs (haven't tried that yet as the iPAD is not particularly suitable for use in a rugged environment but there is no reason why it shouldn't work with office 365 now available for iPAD). It can also be used on any desktop or laptop PC or apple computer that runs Microsoft office so you do not need gINT installed to input a log.
    5. Additional reference information that is frequently referred to in the field can be built in to additional tabs in the excel file so that it is always available in the field. This can include definitions of descriptive terms such as "stiff" or "medium dense" or "sub angular" or sampler code abbreviations, etc.
    6. The pick lists help ensure consistent entries. For example the logger is not entered as "Joe Logger" on one log "J. Logger" on another and "Joeseph P. Logger" on another. This helps make searches and filtering of your project data more productive and accurate.
    7. If you are really ambitious, you can build automatic classification routines into the spread sheet so that the field logger simply inputs the results of field tests and observations (such as % gravel, % sand, % fines) and the spreadsheet automatically selects the appropriate description.

    I realize the above does not provide you a detailed "how to" for building the spreadsheet and correspondence file. Such a discussion is way beyond what I can present in a forum such as this. It is meant to get you thinking about what is possible.
  • We used to run pocket SI (from Keynetix) on a Trimble Nomad.  This was a great product running on an almost perfect device for field use (bombproof, small enough to fit in a pocket, resistive screen so worked in the rain, all-day battery life, near perfect handwriting recognition and reasonably affordable).  It spits out AGS3 format data which we pulled into gINT.  However, Keynetix has retired Pocket SI, which has left us in a bit of a fix as we're moving over to AGS4.  So, we've recently bought a bunch of so-called fully rugged Panasonic ToughPad tablets (I say so-called because they have capacitive screens which don't work when it rains so are only really any good on dry days and the Wacom digitizer pens are junk plastic).  However, setting aside these issues, if you have a suitable tablet with Windows 10 installed, my experience is that you can input the data directly into gINT in the field.  In my opinion, you do need to be running Windows 10 as the handwriting mode of data input (which was hopeless with Windows 7 and 8) has been brought back to something approaching what it was like on the Trimble Nomad which ran Windows Mobile 6.  Keyboard input is also pretty good.  Both input modes have a predictive text option.  Which quickly learns the words and sequence of words commonly used, throwing up a dynamically changing pick-list - this makes for pretty fast data input.  I'm trialing Dragon Naturally Speaking for strata descriptions (which is where most of the input time is consumed).  This works well in the office environment.  Have yet to try it in the field - my guess, however, is that it'll be hopeless once there's any wind/plant noise.

    I'm also toying with the idea of writing a bit of code to translate free-form data input into AGS format data for subsequent import into gINT.  The basic idea being that data is entered in simple text format using standard pre-defined keywords to indicate what type of data is coming next (e.g. @stratum to indicate stratum descriptions).  The big advantage I see with this type of approach for field use is that you could use your favourite mobile device pretty much as you use a traditional paper notepad.  Any device could be used.  And data could be input either using an on-screen keyboard or by handwriting using a note taking app such as OneNote (on a Windows tablet) or GoodNotes (on an iPad/iPhone), both of which are able to translate handwritten text into typed text. I'd be interested to hear whether anyone thinks this would be a useable solution.

    It's a long-standing frustration that none of the major players in the business appear to recognise that field data input is the biggest single area where real commercial advantage can be gained and, setting aside Keynetix now retired Pocket SI and Dataforensics PLog (which didn't work for us), haven't focussed any major development effort in this area.  If it could be cracked and made acessible on a wide range of platforms and devices I suspect the uptake would be high as it'd save masses of time copy typing logs from handwritten field notebooks into whatever database/log producing software you use and would surely be a no-brainer purchase for any SI company.  At the end of the day we can now produce good looking logs, sections, etc. with a host of products including gINT, Holebase and Golden Software's Strater 4 (which is a great product at a fraction of the cost of gINT and Holebase, but unfortunately doesn't yet do AGS format).  The challenge now must surely be to come up with an effective way of cutting out the time wasted in duplicating the task of field data entry.  Whilst so-called rugged Windows tablets do work and might be a way forward (at least in some circumstances) they are far from ideal and suffer from the disadvantages of being very expensive to buy, are generally too big for easy field use and most have capacitive screens so only work when it's not raining.

    Not sure where Bentley is going in this area (if anywhere), but would be interested to hear.

  • Hi,

    Very interesting posts.

    What I can answer to the initial question for now is that we are actually working on the data entry workflow and are not limiting ourselves to building a field application.

    We are at the stage we are going to decide how many components we build for this workflow.

    More news in the coming months