Mobile technology and software advances in GPS data, GIS, digital photography and wireless networks (as well as others) have converged to enable powerful mobile platforms to provide significant capabilities in the field. The decreasing costs of iPads, Androids and Windows 8 tablets have made it possible to equip engineers in the field with the tablets in a cost-efficient manner.
Another significant factor driving the use of new mobile technologies is the accelerating rate of change in business. Change in the corporate world is happening at an increasingly rapid pace in part due to new customer demands and project requirements. Project requirements continue to push the envelope on what is expected to be delivered and how quickly it is to be delivered.
Traditional methods of using paper reference materials such as drawing sets, paper-based data collection forms, GPS survey equipment and cameras to gather data in the field are quickly becoming extinct. Data gathered on paper-based forms must later be entered into a computer and manually combined with data from GPS survey equipment and digital photos. The resulting process is very labor intensive, error prone and yields inferior results.