By Dan Golden 

HDR geospatial professionals have deployed a new mobile application to improve efficiency and save time for the multiple contractors working together in Alaska’s short construction season.

The custom designed mobile app facilitates the collection of inspection and monitoring records as well as site photos. Based on a model more commonly used for large construction projects, it allows inspectors to fill out their report, upload pictures, and compare it to previous reports. The information is immediately available for review and analysis in the web portal.

“This app enhanced our ability to respond quickly and allowed everyone to do their jobs much more efficiently,” HDR project manager Kristen Keifer said.

Quake Inspector App image. HDR

A magnitude-7.1 earthquake that shook south-central Alaska Nov. 30, 2018, inspired the development of what’s now called the Quake Inspector App. The app continues to be used regularly as the team works its way through $70 million of repairs. The work is targeted to be finished by 2022, with construction being completed in Alaska’s short May-September construction window.

“With the extent of damage, and the distance our department had to cover related to the earthquake damage, having an integrated application to report and document the damage and repair efforts has greatly enhanced our ability to respond to this disaster,” said Greg Shearer, construction project manager for the Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities. “The ability to view photos and share them between field and office staff improves our service to Alaskans.”

The lessons learned from this app are already being applied to other projects, including a large port construction project in South Carolina, moisture and density testing on road projects in Utah and freight rail right-of-way management in Colorado.

The mobile app for iOS was created with the ArcGIS Runtime SDK from ESRI. It interfaces with a web mapping dashboard integrated with Microsoft Teams. This facilitates seamless communication and data sharing among a cross-disciplined team from multiple companies and agencies. The web mapping dashboard was created in Microsoft .NET using the ESRI Javascript API, providing spatial context and access to site assessment and monitoring data, reports, and site photos.

“Our developers continue to build upon previous efforts, customizing and optimizing a core code base with each new project” said Matt Cooper, Software Infrastructure and Development Lead for HDR’s Advanced Technology Office. “We constantly strive to use technology to create new efficiencies for our clients.”

Dan Golden is senior editor/writer at HDR. See more stories about transportation design and construction industry technology and innovation in ARTBA’s “Smart Design & Construction” supplement.