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Written by: Karissa Giles

There are now many opportunities and options for companies to move from paper forms to simple electronic data collection apps.  In one of Frontier Precision’s latest partnerships, we have teamed up with Comprehensive Life Resources (CLR) in Tacoma, WA. CLR is a nonprofit organization that operates a homeless outreach program called Positive Interactions. The program has been operating for three years and was formed through a partnership with the City of Tacoma. This unique program works with homeless individuals and local businesses that are affected by issues related to homelessness. They offer a variety of services to homeless individuals. Some businesses and individuals are referred to CLR through various local government departments, but they also have a dedicated response line for community concerns.

The Old Workflow

Field crews deployed across the city are required to record business or client (homeless individual) information.  They record details about who referred the client, services offered, and time spent on the interview. Previously, this data was recorded in Microsoft Word fillable forms and PDFs. The data was entered back at the office instead of in the field.  This lead to data inaccuracy, data loss, and usually the data was submitted days after the interaction took place. The information from the fillable forms and PDFs was imported into Excel for tracking and sharing with the City of Tacoma. CLR was seeking an improved workflow for submitting and storing data.  They were also looking for tools to analyze the data, track the progress of each field crew member, incorporate pictures, record location information, and easily share the data with the City of Tacoma.

Converting to an Electronic Workflow

Survey123 was a great fit for CLR’s workflow because the field software is user friendly and can be deployed to existing phones and tablets to help keep costs down.  The existing paper form was converted to an electronic form in Survey123 Connect. During beta testing, additional functionality was added, and the workflow was tweaked as requested. The ability to sync data from the field gave management real-time access to the field crew’s data and location.

Field crews requested the ability to view previous interactions with a client or business. When Survey123 was first deployed, it did not have the functionality to look at existing surveys.  An app was created with WebApp Builder to allow a user to search existing surveys by a client or business name and allow the field crew to follow up on activities for previous interactions.

Using the Data

Now that a significant amount of data has been collected, heat maps can be used to view the areas most affected by homelessness. Additionally, we have created more filtering functions in the web app to filter by date and field crew member. The chart widget was used to create real-time analysis of time spent with businesses and clients. This additional functionality allows management to track and analyze each field crew’s progress for the week.

Moving Forward

Looking forward, Frontier will assist with creating a public survey that will allow government personnel and community members to submit requests through Survey123. This will be a great opportunity for CLR to track where requests are coming from and be more effective in deploying field crews. They will be able to link the request to the interaction.

Please check out our story map to read more about Comprehensive Life Resource’s Positive Interactions program and the processes of creating a survey for Survey123 from a paper form. http://arcg.is/2lsRiJH.

Frontier will be featuring this project in an upcoming webinar on June 7th.  Frontier and CLR will also be co-presenting at ESRI’s UC conference on Tuesday, July 11th 8:30-9:45 pm in Room 28 E. Please check the ESRI UC agenda for any changes to time or location.