EXAMPLE USE CASES

for XForms Mobile

Treatment System Operations & Maintenance Checklists

If your environmental consulting firm is like most of the ones in existence today, chances are very high that your field techs populate a paper form with a bunch of analog instrument and maintenance information pertaining to operation and maintenance (O&M) of soil and groundwater treatment systems.  Things like blower runtime hours, totalizer readings, pump pressure, total vacuum in inches of mercury, high level switches condition, rotary claw pump temperature, and more.

And populating an Excel sheet or a fillable PDF in the field with treatment system O&M data is not a digital data collection system at all. It’s merely a small improvement over paper that can avoid double-entry of data and possible transcription errors.

A better solution is to use XForms for recording your treatment system O&M data. Form templates that are unique to a particular treatment system are easy to set up, you can separate out your O&M forms from your regular environmental field forms easily, and you can build an O&M field form for any kind of treatment system….literally.

Vivarium Daily Checks

In the adjacent picture, every single cage in each rack contains rodents. And each cage has to be tracked carefully because the animals in each cage are undergoing very specific drug tests. To ensure the validity of the animal tests, record-keeping has to be done daily for each room, rack and cage. 

Most animal checks in vivariums are documented manually, on paper forms, meaning that the data is not immediately available to others, handwriting is sometimes difficult to decipher, and the data is analog…you can’t really do anything with it.

By using a mobile digital data collection system such as XForms, you can eleminate these issues, providing data in near real-time, improving data completeness and correctness, and having the ability to further analyze the dataset, since its now digital data, not analog. 

Tailgate Safety Meeting Sign-in Sheets

Sometimes less is more.  As in…do you need to use (plus learn and pay for) a full-blown Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) compliance software platform if all you really need is a tailgate safety meeting form?

No, you don’t.  you can easily build your own digital safety forms.  With XForms, you can build just what you need, and nothing more.

No extra features you will never use.
No steep learning curve.
No separate software for your folks to learn or pay for.

Stormwater Control Measures (SCM) Inspections

Today’s standard practice for completing SCM maintenance inspection forms is to type text on top of static PDF templates provided by the City or County. Many would argue that the infrequency of these inspections (quarterly, semi-annually, or annual) is such that digitizing them is not worth the effort.  I agree that this might be true if 1) creating the form templates is difficult and painful and 2) if these SCM inspections are a very small part of your operation.  However, if building these form templates is simple, why not digitize them?

EHS and Safety Incident Investigations

Hard to believe, but A LOT of safety programs—even at very large companies—are managed using Excel.  What the?!@#!!  Yes, its true.  No lie. Excel is awesome. But at some point, an Excel-based process or workflow becomes unwieldy and nearly un-manageable.

Using a combination of Airtable and XForms, you can build a very low-cost hybrid solution that will one-up your home-grown Excel-based EHS and safety incident management system without needing to pony up for a full-blown dedicated EHS system with all its bells and whistles (and high price tag).

 

  • Definitely better than using Excel and Word for this type of work
  • Definitely less expensive by orders of magnitude than full-blown EHS incident management software tools
  • Definitely less time to set up and onboard a few daysinstead of several weeks or months)

Environmental Field Data

In general, there are 2 basic types of solutions for environmental field data collection: A dedicated solution specifically-designed for environmental use cases, and generic forms software, designed for a wide variety of use cases.  Both have pros and cons.

  1. Dedicated environmental applications
  2. Generic forms software (like XForms)

Generally speaking, if you stick with a generic tool like XForms, you can build exactly what you want, nad nothing more.  This means that you can build out that unique form that you’ve been unable to find on the internet.  And you don’t need to work with a really elaborate form that has been designed to accomodate a wide range of different firms.  You can build exactly what you need.

Regardless of the path you go on, at least get on a path.  too many firms simply choose to do nothng and carry on the way they have always done and stick with paper.  Remember that we aren’t building rocket ships here and that no one is going to DIE if you get it wrong.  And if you do happen to pick the wrong horse, just get off that horse and get on a different one.  By then you will have learned a few things that will make your next ride a more successful one.

Financial Forms.  Really??

Most financial forms today are fillable PDFs.  You heard that right.  Fillable PDF forms that someone fills out and then emails back to a finance person as an attachment to an email (or uploaded into a secure website).  That’s today is 2024.

Have you tried to fill one out one of these forms using a phone?  That’s practically impossible.  But with XForms or a similar tool, you can build out mobile-friendly financial form templates, distribute them to your prospects, and have them submit them back in a system…securely.  

Vapor Intrusion Management

One of the big advantages of a generic forms tool like XForms when compared to dedicated environmental data management systems is that it’s flexible. You can build any kind of form in XForms. Literally any.kind.of.form. And this includes vapor intrusion management systems (VIMS) forms. For example, VIMS Inspections and Sub-Slab Air Sampling forms.

These forms are not hard to build. In fact, you can build them yourself in a matter of a few hours. You don’t have to put in a request to the software developers to build them for you, wait days if not weeks, work your way through revision after revision with the software developers, or pay big money to get it done. Just DIY.

And then you can integrate your forms, data, and photos collected into anything else you use.

 

Property Inspections

Do you need to commit to a large, comprehensive end-to-end property inspection tool if you aren’t going to use 2/3 of the modules like invoicing, payments, and bookings, things that might be redundant with other tools you might be using like Yardi or PropertyWare?

What if all you want to do is to keep a light pulse on properties in your portfolio, to make sure the property managers are doing their job and maintaining them? With XForms, you can create simple checklist forms with whatever information you want to track. The form design can be customized to your liking, and you can also customize the key performance indicators you’d like to track. It is super simple and easy. Here’s how.

Brownfields Redevelopment

Brownfields reconnaissance work, vapor intrusion management at Brownfields sites, Area of Concern inspections, and more can be done digitally instead of paper, with tangible, substantial benefits.

State Agency Livestock Inspections

The State of New Mexico’s Livestock Board has unique field inspection challenges:. Its inspectors will travel to ranches to conduct a livestock inspection, fill out a form on a ruggedized laptop, collect monies, and print a certificate while on site.  While this may seem straightforward enough, there are underlying challenges due to the often very remote ranch locations, large dataset, and other factors.

Ocean Cleanup Brand Audits

Yea, brand audits are a real thing, intended to shame brands that cause a lot of plastic pollution. From the Break Free from Plastics website, a brand audit is defined as

 a citizen science initiative that involves recording data on plastic waste to help identify the companies responsible for plastic pollution and hold them accountable.

Currently, the data collection piece for a brand audit is mostly a manual process consisting of filling out a Brand Audit Data Card, and then uploading that data. We are proposing using a digital system that can capture all the elements needed in a faster, more responsive way, at no cost.

Transportation Manifests

 COVID changed things, including—for some organizations—the ability to use paper.  Or rather, it more or less pushed organizations to switch from paper to digital.  One such example was an egg distribution company, which needed a digital solution for its truck drivers to record information about their pickup and delivery without the use of paper. One immediate benefit was the ability for this information to make its way into their internal systems, automatically.

Before and After Inspections

Ever have a need for collecting “before and after” photos and data?  One of our customers did. Their use case is as follows:

  • Enter a room in a building
  • Record the room #, take photos and jot down observations
  • Perform what they were hired to do in that room
  • Come back into the room, take more photos and observations
  • Send report to their customer documenting the room before they performed their work, and after they performed their work

XForms’ “Save Draft” and batch download of submitted forms as PDFs helped this customer save a ton of time and headache.

Verification of Charitable Task Completions

Operation Give Pack needed a way to verify that the task completed by the student was actually completed by the student…some simple method of proof that the task was indeed completed, before the athlete received their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) compensation.  This is where XForms came into play to solve this problem…

Tank Compliance Inspections

The Florida Petroleum Marketers Association (FPMA), in conjunction with CSTAT, developed two inspection forms for convenience store owners and operators of fueling stations. These 30-day walkthrough inspection forms are intended to satisfy the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (FDEP’s) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) underground storage tank (UST) compliance requirements.

Hazardous Waste Stream Compliance

Segregating waste types into specific streams can ensure that hazardous waste from manufacturing operations don’t end up in the wrong landfills. Here’s how one firm documented this using XForms Mobile.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Odor Control Documentation

You know the smell the second you smell it.  Sewer stink.  Shit aromas in the air. Outside, in the open.  Definitely not something you want to enjoy whilst on your deck sipping wine, listening to the birds chirping their love songs. Or while walking your dog down the greenway along a sewer line (usually the lowest topographical elevation around a city).  Or while driving in your car, even when your windows are closed.

Treating raw sewage matters.  And treating the hydrogen sulfide odors emanating from it also matters.  This article describes how Source Technologies Inc. uses XForms to document, track, and optimize their hydrogen sulfide odor control field services at wastewater treatment plants.

Want to give it a closer look?

Book a 20-min exploratory discussion, where we listen to your unique needs and pain points, and—if appropriate—demonstrate XForms to you in a live setting.