People would be amazed if they knew how little of the programs they use, they actually use. This actually applies to most things we do. I have been driving my car for 3 years now, and last week while listening to my iPhone through the stereo my phone began ringing. I hit the answer button while moving it to my head, and the voice on the other end began talking….through my speakers. Three years, and I had no clue I could do it. now I have to go find the owner’s manual and figure out how to do it again, but that is another story.
The point is, we often times do not do things we need to do because we think we can not. Scratch that, we often times do not do things we need to do because we never ask if we can. When looking at field data collection software for example there are two main 3rd part programs in use in the U.S. today, SurvCE & Survey Pro (Survey Pro is not really a true 3rd party program any more but for the sake of this post we shall assume it is).
It is not uncommon to find someone who has used one of these at a previous job now working a different job using the other. Many times I will get the call asking how to do something, which is good because we are here to answer those questions. What is not good is when they spend hours trying to figure it out and then spend even more time trying to get around it. What is even worse is they go to the boss and tell him the program they are using is broken or lacking in capability and if they will buy him this program it will save them money because he can now get his job done in a timely fashion.
As one who loves to try new things I really dislike that approach. As a business owner, I like it even less. I have already spent good money for this application or device and now I have to replace it because it does not work?
So, what do we do? How do we find these things? You would be amazed at the information on the internet today. Not only from manufacturers, or resellers, but from users as well. The quantity and the quality of the information available today is both overwhelming and impressive. I really encourage people to make themselves available to it. Follow me on Twitter for example and then follow some of the people I follow…there is a good reason I am following them! Look for blogs like this one, and get creative with where you look for information, you will be surprised with what you find.
I am going to hide a nugget in this blog post to prove that point. If I wanted to calculate a curve in the field using Carlson SurvCE, there are two methods for doing it. Many users may have no clue you can do it, so they call back to the office and ask for someone to calculate it another way instead of them doing it on the spot themselves. This short video shows you two methods for doing this in SurvCE, both easy, and both effective.