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South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Synopsis
SD1991-12


Title: Field Applications of Notebook and Voice Computers
Project Researcher: Jon Becker, South Dakota Department of Transportation
Project Manager: Blair Lunde
Research Period: 11/1/1990 - 1/1/1995
Status:
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement:The South Dakota Department of Transportation collects and manages data for numerous operations. SDDOT maintains a Roadway Environment System (RES), construction management system, pavement management system, bridge inventory, bridge inspection, sign inventory, and performs various laboratory tests for materials certification. In addition to these common uses of data collection, the SDDOT Office of Research collects data for various research projects.

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.

Findings:
Title: Field Applications of Notebook and Voice Computers
Project Researcher: Jon Becker, DOT
Project Manager: Blair Lunde
Research Period: 11/1/1990 - 1/1/1995
Status:
Cost: $0.00

Problem Statement:The South Dakota Department of Transportation collects and manages data for numerous operations. SDDOT maintains a Roadway Environment System (RES), construction management system, pavement management system, bridge inventory, bridge inspection, sign inventory, and performs various laboratory tests for materials certification. In addition to these common uses of data collection, the SDDOT Office of Research collects data for various research projects.

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.

Findings:

Research Objectives:
1  To identify opportunities for effective use of notebook and voice recognition computers.
2  To develop demonstration applications of the GRiDPad notebook computer, at least one for construction project management and at least one other for a data collection task.
3  To develop demonstration applications of the voice recognition system, at least one for construction project management and at least one other for a data collection task.
4  To develop recommendations regarding acquisition and application of the notebook and the voice recognition computers.

Research Tasks:
1  Literature Review.
2  Review Idaho DOT's non-state trunk inventory method.
3  Select construction project management forms to use with the GRiDPad and with the voice recognition computer.
4  Select a data collection task to use with the GRiDPad and with the voice recognition computer.
5  Develop software for selected applications.
6  Set up trial period for use of software and computer system.
7  Interview field personnel for their comments on the use of the computers.
8  Evaluate effectiveness of computers for field use.
9  Write a final report and make recommendations on continued use of these computers.

Documents Available:

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