Mobile app for field data entry, wastewater utility

Water/gas/wastewater utility app

A United States West Coast utility is looking to launch a mobile field force application. This app will be used by the utility field workers for uploading information on water, gas and waste-water pipes     equipment etc. Currently this task is done by field workers writing information on printed paper forms. Office clerks then manually transfer the paper forms into the utility’s existing GIS and SQL databases. This is slow and costly so the utility is looking for a tablet/smartphone application will enable staff to collect and enter the data already in the field.

GIS provided by ESRI.

SQL server. Run on Android and iOS platforms

Must have easy to use and customizable forms

The ability to capture photos

Ability to integrate with the utility’s GIS system and SQL databases

Initially there will be 10-15 different forms for collecting data on e.g. gas leaks gas surveys, gas valve maintenance, sanitary sewer overflows and stoppages, odorant stations oil drip stations, gas station maintenance water leaks, water valve maintenance, hydrant replacement program water transmission and water sampling.

Because of the large number of forms and varying needs for fields within each form the utility must have the possibility to edit forms and fields enter new ones and delete obsolete ones.

In your bid please describe the following:

Archiving and Retrieval: Describe the archiving process including hardware software and storage requirements. Include the data compression information. Describe both the in-house and remote access retrieval process to view the data. Include any system requirements. Describe any storage options such as cloud solutions. Describe available configuration options for archiving and purging.

Training: Describe the training your company provides in three areas            end user (officer) system administration and technical support.

Maintenance and Warranty: Describe the maintenance program and warranties for your system. Include all of the hardware components and software programs. Provide the length of all warranties and detail any software upgrades that are included in maintenance.

This is not a match-making project. Winner of this bid will work together with Mobile Brain Bank in submitting the final and formal bid to the utility. The timeline is unfortunately tight.


General issues

At this time customer is primarily collecting information on “”what is available out there”” – an early level information gathering.

For the RFI at this stage commitment to the cost is not required.

Customer is not insisting an “”off-the-shelf”” solution but (fully) customized solutions are possible to be included. However “”uniquely coded solutions for this case”” is less interesting (perceived issues/problems/costs re upgrades etc). If solution is already implemented at some other utility  please note the reference!

After receiving the information customer aims to hold webinars/demo sessions with 3-4 vendors – expected timeline in April. RFP launched in May at earliest.

Systems integrations:

There are a number of systems for integrations: GIS   SQL  Access db’s and (non defined number of) 3rd party db’s

GIS system consists of 2 software solutions – a customer specific SW (based on Windows SQL / Encompass) and Autodesk (running on Oracle db)

GIS based on RESTful

Work-Order Systems in 2 softwares also (SAP Workstream running on Oracle db and ICOM running on SQL db)

Asset Management Systems (several?) based on SAP  ICOM and GIS

Other systems possibly exist – at this early info gathering stage deemed by customer less relevant


The assets in the field predominantly have a unique Item ID that are to be used for associating tasks/forms/reports etc (street address   or similar            not seen as suitable for their needs (eg. multiple assets in same address).

Rich asset data is available in a web service – 3 sets of data   each less than 1 GB

Customer wants to hear proposals from vendors which would be a better/preferred operational solution and why: an on-line app which needs connectivity to collect data from the web service OR an app that can also work when disconnected where data is stored locally on the mobile device and synchronized upon connectivity to web service. Optimally dual operation would be preferable. To support both real-time updates but also operation when mobile device is disconnected.

Customer expects vendor to arrange required cloud solution for the mobile data – customer will not make available/set-up a new server for this purpose

GPS accuracy target 4-6 inches (??)

Form customization is not very dynamic (some get updates once a year      some slightly more frequently) and no clear preference was stated where the customization should be possible to do (at mobile device or in web solution). Examples of current paper forms will be made available.