Normally, when collecting data for any need, paper forms are developed and used. This was true for the data collected for the 1990 Portland Cement Concrete Pavement Task Force. Engineers inspected PCC pavements throughout the state and filled out paper forms performing a condition survey. A large volume of paper had to be filled out. It was clumsy to carry, prone to being damp and soiled, and prone to errors during keypunching into an electronic spreadsheet.
This study was initiated to explore two new technologies which may show promise for increasing efficiency and reducing work load during data collection activities. A GRiDPad handwriting recognition computer was purchased and software developed for it, utilizing electronic forms. A voice recognition system was also purchased, and software developed. Neither of these systems made it into field testing, because the manufacturers no longer support these products. Since 1991 when the study started, there have been two or three generations of products developed, voice recognition saw significant improvements however, handwriting recognition saw only minimal improvements.
Because the systems can no longer be purchased, the investigators recommend this study be terminated, and other options be considered, such as simple notebook computers. Putting these in the field could be helpful, because there are many field engineers that have no type of computer, and enter all their data in paper notebooks.