Field Sample Data Collection, Annotation, Archiving, Analysis and Distribution Software System (SCAAAD)

Western University Background
Current data collection and archiving methods are time-consuming and error-prone. Field scientists and technicians must carry a wide variety of sampling devices that inherently lack the ability to communicate with each other – often relying on a pen-and-paper system of recording and annotation. Further, when they exit the field and return to the lab, it is often difficult to determine what data elements, from multiple devices (each having their own physical or digital storage standards), corresponds to what sample. Compounding this problem, archiving and sharing data is typically a laborious and inefficient process that is susceptible to human error and misinterpretation. Evidently, there is a clear need to improve on the way data is collected, stored, and shared in order to create a more streamlined, user-friendly system.
Technology Overview
With this in mind, scientists at Western have developed a robust software system called SCAAAD (Sample Collection, Annotation, Archiving, Analysis, and Distribution System), designed to leverage modern communication and multimedia technologies to accurately and efficiently collect data which can be instantly shared over the cloud with the appropriate experts for analysis, data mining, and data visualization.
This system consists of both a custom app installed on a mobile device, such as an iPad, that employs the modern mobile device’s camera and GPS, and a centralized cloud-hosted data web application. In the field, SCAAAD compiles the collected data and associates it to the collection location. Also, SCAAAD allows the technician to add any observations, draw sketches, take notes, capture pictures and annotate them, associate a sample tag identifier and/or interpretations of the data prior to syncing it to a centralized backend cloud storage. That said, the data collected can be accessed by and/or shared with trusted team members globally anywhere in the world. Because all data is stored in a centralized location (on the cloud), new and historic data can be effortlessly retrieved and compared. Additionally, sample tags that had been associated from the field can be scanned to instantly view the samples data and metadata.
Benefits

Provides an easy-to-use, i.e., no heavy training needed, all-in-one digital field data management system
Eliminates wasted time and human error associated with traditional data collection methods
Cloud syncing allows for instant sharing of data

Applications

Can be applied to any industry that requires accurate and timely data collection
Environmental assessments, oil and gas exploration, natural resource management, mining, agriculture, medical research, national defense, disaster response, disease control, marketing research

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