BLOG

The Katapult Method, Part 1: Job Design

This is the first in a series of articles designed to increase understanding of the Katapult workflow and its integration with our full-stack data collection software.

We’ll start by talking about job design–the process we use to prepare our field crews for high-volume collection.

We often receive work in the form of a .kmz file in Google Earth or a sketch of the poles in question.

Now that we have the poles and the scope of work, we can create a new job in KatapultPro.

Once the job has been named, it’s time to map our pole line using the aerial mapping tool.

We place poles by looking for their shadows, or by using our Google Street View tool(for more congested areas).

From here, we also add spans that might need to be collected (we call them “references”) and make notes about potential guying issues, changes to pole locations, or questions about whether or not cables are bolted.

“Why not do this from the field?”

By leaving most of the decision-making in the office, our field teams can focus all of their attention on capturing great photos and keeping a good pace. With limited daylight, it’s important that our field crews don’t waste time designing things that could have been done in the office ahead of time.

Since no design is perfect, there will inevitably be design tweaks that need to be done from the field. Crews can edit pole locations, create new spans, add new nodes, make notes, and add guying with ease from their smartphone.

This methodology is a major paradigm shift, as traditional data collection requires measurements, guying, and make ready to all happen on-site.

Our process allows two people with a limited understanding of the industry to collect an immense amount of data each day, while more experienced employees process the data and call make ready from the comfort of the office.

This preliminary design step leverages your in-house expertise by creating a smooth collection experience for field crews.

Additional tips to help your field crews:

  1. Take pre-design seriously

It’s easy to rush through designing the job knowing how easily changes can be made from the field, but every tweak that needs to be made in the field will decrease the number of photos that come in at the end of the day. Careful attention to office design can make the difference between a 150-pole day and a 200-pole day in the field.

2. Design more than you think you need

Often, it’s quicker to take a midspan or pole photo than to try to figure out whether or not a piece of data is really needed. The less time field crews spend looking at a pole or making judgment calls, the more time is spent on collection. It is easy to delete a reference or a pole later on, but having to make these decisions in the field can be a momentum killer.

3. Break big jobs up

If your team has 200 poles to collect in a day, creating a few smaller jobs might be a good idea. We’ve found that field crews can handle several 50-75 pole jobs than they can one huge job. Breaking the work up like this also allows for smoother two-crew collection and processing back in the office.

Next week, we’ll take an in-depth look at the field collection, equipment used, and the photo upload process.

Questions? Give us a call at 717.432.0716 or email me at aschmehl@katapultengineering.com!

Read more