True Story:

“Jim, several of the photos in this form are reused from last week’s sort on 5/12.  … [our customer] reports they never saw a guy arrive at the site this week…any insight into when, where and how this form was generated?”

Yessir!  That’s one of the big benefits of auto-generated metadata: finding out when a form was initiated, where it was initiated, who initiated it, and on what type of device it was initiated with.

  And yes, you can catch liars using this kind of data.

Check out the metadata for the form described above, which, based on the geolocation data, suggests that the form was initiated at this guy’s house, not on site like he said he did.

 

And you can go even further.  Here’s a narrative of a similar situation using a form’s metadata when combined with the form’s audit trail (form history), a built-in feature within XForms.

Some caveats

If you ask your field techs to use their own devices, you can’t force them to allow the XForms app to track their location.  That’s a privacy thing.  The only way you can force a field tech to allow the app to track their location is to tie it to their employment, or force them to use a company-provided device that is being managed with MDM software.

Capturing geolocation from a web browser is difficult, so if your field techs use the web browser version of the mobile app, you are out of luck on geolocation capture.  Similarly, if the app is in offline mode, it can’t read the GPS card on the device, so you are shit out of luck there too.  We are working on this, however, so a future version might allow for geolocation capture in offline mode.

Despite the above, some 80% of the use cases can capture the user’s geolocation.

Mapping made easy

Another cool little feature related to geolocation metadata is the ability to quickly map the location of where a form was initiated.  Here’s a gif of what that looks like in XForms.

We will be improving the mapping feature of XForms shortly.  Stay tuned.

So there you have it.

You can use geolocation data, coupled with audit trail form history, to suss out fake data in your field data program and do something about it.  Chances are it will mean removing bad actors from your staff, or at the very least letting them know that they can’t do that anymore.

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