Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Case Study: Underground Storage Tank Inspections Using Mobile Handheld PDAs

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) is a national government agency responsible for creating and enforcing regulations that help keep the environment clean and protected. One of the responsibilities of the EPA is the inspection and auditing of underground storage tanks.

There are large numbers of underground storage tanks in nearly every community across the USA which represents a huge data collection and administration task. Regional entities throughout the country are responsible for providing underground storage tank inspections; one such entity is the Shoshone Bannock Tribe. The inspection data, traditionally collected in the field using a paper inspection form, was typed into an EPA database upon returning to the home office. The Shoshone Bannock Tribe needed a way to ensure the integrity of the data collected, speed up collection time, eliminate data entry time, and provide near real-time synchronization of the data collected.

MobileDataforce developed a mobile inspection application for use on Tablet PCs that integrates all required EPA data collection elements for underground storage tanks. The solution includes the PointSync Mobility Platform from MobileDataforce to synchronize the data from the mobile device into the central database in the office. The Tablet PC selected by the Shoshone Bannock Tribe was the Itronix GoBook Duo Touch using Microsoft’s Tablet XP operating system. At the end of an inspection, the device was placed in a USB connected wired cradle which connected to a database on a server. The data was then uploaded and submitted to the EPA.

By using a mobile application rather than paper forms, organizations can:

· Save administrative data entry time
· Wirelessly synchronize from the field
· Save fuel costs and driving time delivering paper forms
· Save shipping and storage costs for paper forms
· Provide near real-time visibility to inspections in the field
· Ensure data accuracy through the use of data validation features

MobileDataforce used an enterprise class mobile software platform called the PointSync Mobility Platform to create the mobile EPA Tank Inspection application. The application was built to their exact specifications and complies with EPA regulations for underground storage tank inspections.

PointSync Mobility Platform is an enterprise class mobile software platform used to rapidly design, develop, and deploy critical business mobile applications. It is architected to provide database centric mobile applications with bi-directional synchronization, connectivity, security, and enterprise database integration all within one product suite.

The Shoshone Bannock Tribe was able to save time and money through the use of a custom mobile application created by MobileDataforce using the PointSync Mobility Platform. By developing a mobile application, Shoshone Bannock was able to streamline inspections, while at the same time saving paper, data entry time, and money. The EPA was able to quickly and efficiently receive data on the condition of underground storage tanks. MobileDataforce has assisted many organizations around the world design, develop and deploy mobile applications for field data collection. For additional information please visit our website at

Kevin Benedict