IN THE PALM OF YOUR HAND: DIGITAL ASSISTANTS AID IN DATA COLLECTION

Inspection data have traditionally been recorded on paper forms, sometimes referred to as inspector's daily reports (IDRs), and kept on file along with field office records. When the field information is needed, the owner must search for the records mannually. A first attempt to solve this problem was to transfer the information from the paper IDR by entering it into a personal computer database. This, however, required double manipulation of the data. To solve the redundancy and time consumption problems, minimum criteria were developed for research and testing and were incorporated in Florida by the Miami-Dade Transit Agency. These criteria were as follows: minimize duplicate data entry, utilize existing hardware and software technology, minimize software-programming effort, facilitate data entry, allow for easy data sorting and retrieval, be relatively inexpensive, and be readily accepted by field personnel. The Palm III personal digital assistant was chosen as the solution for eliminating data redundancy because of price, size, simplicity, efficiency, effective handwriting recognition, reliable synchronization, and unmatched third-party software support. Other features of the Palm III that make it well suited to the work of field inspectors are a personal information manager, which offers programs for storing addresses and to-do lists, and third-party software calculator programs with conversion capabilities. During field tests, the most difficult problem encountered was the learning curve for the handwriting recognition program. More development work needs to be done on designing forms that minimize text entry. It is hoped that in the not too distant future, speech recognition will eliminate this text entry problem.

Language

  • English

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00766143
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 8 1999 12:00AM