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Tech Spotlight: Enabling Field Mobility with Workforce for ArcGIS

Workforce for ArcGIS helps you use the power of location to achieve improved coordination and operational efficiencies in field workforce activities. They reduce your reliance on paper and ensure everyone, in the field and the office, uses the same authoritative data, reducing errors, boosting productivity, and saving money.

If you’re an asset manager, you need to know where your organization’s assets are and what’s happening to them – ideally in real time. You’ll also want your crews to be able to upload information directly from the field because current data is critical to making effective decisions. Among the many field mobility apps that Esri offers, Workforce for ArcGIS is excellent for coordinating your office and field workers effectively. It fosters teamwork and better results by allowing your field workers to report progress back to the office or call for assistance, so that additional resources can be dispatched appropriately, and work can be completed much more quickly.

This mobile solution supports asset management in many ways. Whether it’s asset inspections or repairs, or creating paperless planning and implementation workflows, Workforce’s web and mobile apps offer agility to your team. The solution helps you quickly adapt as field work priorities change, and get the right worker to the right place with the right tools to do the right job.

You can access Workforce if you’re a member of an ArcGIS organization (ArcGIS Online or ArcGIS Enterprise) based on the privileges set up by your project owner. If you’re a project manager, you can use the app to monitor your field crews’ activities right from your office; and your field crews can update their status (e.g. working or on break, location and more) and the work status in real time.

And with the new version released in February 2018, you now have these capabilities.

  • Add multiple field workers to your project by uploading a CSV file with the field workers’ names and their details.
  • Field workers require access to maps when they are at the location of a work assignment. Now, they can access Explorer for ArcGIS within the App Integration screen on the Advanced tab centred on their location. Explorer can be integrated both at Project or Assignment type level.
  • When you’re working with Collector or Survey123 for ArcGIS, you can not only pass the ID and Location Description fields from the Assignment to the feature you create but also the GlobalID. If you’re the project owner, you will be required to specify this functionality when configuring the project.
  • If your organization is configured to use Esri vector basemaps in supported ArcGIS apps, both Dispatcher and Worker maps will be created with the Navigation vector basemap. This crisp, responsive basemap will improve your maps.
  • If you need to use Workforce in languages other than English, you can now access updated fonts for better communications.

As of December 2017, when version 17.0.1 of the mobile apps for Android and iOS was released, field workers can now attach photos and videos to provide additional information about the status of an asset or its repair. This capability to add visuals of an asset is a great addition to Workforce. Field crews can use it right from the location of the asset to provide proof of work completion, document issues that require additional attention or create a visual inventory of the assets.

To further maximize the efficiency of your field staff, you could integrate other ArcGIS apps and Esri partner solutions with Workforce. For example, you can leverage Cityworks, which combines your authoritative asset inventory in a geodatabase, with business process applications to help you save time and money while optimizing communication and improving operational efficiencies in the field. For utilities, Schneider Electric’s ArcFM Suite, a powerful extension of the ArcGIS platform, provides a visual, data-rich context for field assets. It supports map-centric, intuitive modelling; design, maintenance and management of facilities and land base information for utilities and telecommunications providers.

Regardless of the industry you’re in, there’s a broad range of Esri technology and partner solutions available that can help your organization enhance your field operations and connectivity, towards better asset management.

This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of ArcNorth News.