iPad - Using In Fields (Agricultural Business)

Discussion in 'iPad' started by LON:AAPL, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. LON:AAPL macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    #1
    Hey,

    I am hoping to gain some help here!

    I work for an agricultural business (specifically one that sells crops). They seem to be pretty slow to adopt new technologies and have been discussing using an iPad app to create and submit field reports for crops remotely for some time.

    My question is the following - A colleague and I both have our own iPads and also field reports in Excel form, is there any way we can either adapt them to fill in on our iPads and submit the data automatically back or does anyone know of a great/simple app that we can use (Mainly involves filling in a form/taking photos as the crop grows & develops)?

    We would both really appreciate any useful feedback, as the only alternative is to fill in paper forms/take photos on an iPhone, both of which then have to be copied elsewhere and hence double the effort and not very efficient!

    Thanks very much for any help you can provide - looking forward to what you all think is possible!

    Regards
     
  2. Cascades42 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2016
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Air Table might well be useful - it's free (so worth looking at for sure), but it would require moving away from Excel.
     
  3. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    Location:
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    #3
    You can run Excel on an iPad, if you have an Office 365 subscription.

    Was that your question?
     
  4. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #4
    I'm guessing that the OP is looking for a way to get various people out in the field to enter data and photos into a form, which then gets synced back to the main office and merged into a single database / main spreadsheet. But yeah, more details needed on what the workflow is.
     
  5. LON:AAPL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    #5
    Yes, this is correct. We have multiple 'field reports' for different fields, which we want to be able to sync back to the main office. We have an overall excel spreadsheet for each field, which has hyperlinks to each of these reports, but we want to be able to use ipads to fill these in, rather than bulky laptops or pieces of paper.

    Thanks

    EDIT: If screenshots are needed, I can probably put a few up if my explanation isn't clear enough.
     
  6. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #6
    Place the files in a cloud service like OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud Drive, etc. So long as you have Internet access when you need to access the reports, you'll be able to open them, edit them, and save them back to the same location all from within Office. It can also be done offline, but the workflow may become a bit more convoluted, especially if you forget to download the files ahead of time.
     
  7. Night Spring macrumors G5

    Night Spring

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    #7
    This could also get convoluted if two or more people try to edit a file at the same time.
    --- Post Merged, Jun 14, 2016 ---
    I thought your explanations were clear, but perhaps some screenshots might help give people a better idea of what you are trying to do. Also, what kind of scale are you talking about? How many people will be out in the field?
     
  8. Newtons Apple macrumors P6

    Newtons Apple

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Location:
    Jacksonville, Florida
    #8
    This is basically what we do and use Dropbox. Have spread sheets for each location and no way two of us would be there working on the sheet at the same time. I would go Excel all the way. You database at the office would be updated every time you saved your document if you had cellular or later when you have WiFi. We use cellular when we can but Dropbox will sync your files later when you get back to WiFI.
     
  9. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #9
    True, but many of these services have tools to mitigate this, including the ability to lock the file while someone else is using it. We've been doing this for years in our firm of about 25 employees.
     
  10. LON:AAPL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    #10
    Thanks for all your replies, they are greatly appreciated!

    I'll get some screenshots over at the weekend as I'm away at the moment without my work laptop.

    Regarding using Dropbox, will it automatically sync my files between Excel on my iPad and the excel spreadsheets within our work folders? Just we don't want to be constantly having to replace files with new versions as we have approximately 175 individual fields!

    Perhaps some one can explain in lay mans terms ha! Thanks!
     
  11. zhenya macrumors 603

    zhenya

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2005
    #11
    Yes, changes are automatically synchronized when you next connect to a network. It should work pretty seamlessly - the only possible issue being that someone doesn't have something they need downloaded when they are in the field and are without a network connection. If this is a major consideration, an iPad may not be the best tool because it will be difficult to be certain that your users always have the latest version of the files. If it's just a few files, and the users can be trusted to reliably download the files ahead of time, or you will always have a network connection in the field, it should work fine.
     
  12. Abazigal macrumors 604

    Abazigal

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2011
    Location:
    Singapore
    #12
    I second giving Airtable a go. It's like google docs, but with more room for customization and sports a more optimised interface for mobile devices.
     
  13. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    The Village
    #13
    Adobe Acrobat. I create forms in Word and Excel, convert to Acrobat, have it auto create form fields, connect it to a database, and send out the PDF. The PDF can be completed on a desktop?laptop or an iPad. I use it for field qualification records.
     
  14. Cassady macrumors 6502a

    Cassady

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Location:
    Sqornshellous
    #14
    Must it be Excel, at least initially? Whatever the Google equivalent of Excel is(?), will allow multiple access/concurrent editing to a spreadsheet-like file, that can be downloaded into Excel after the fact...

    Should be real simple to set it up - have all feed in the necessary, and then periodically export out into the master file.

    Regardless of what you choose, something like this should certainly be possible, so don't give up looking! Friction might be there initially, but once you've set it all up, the payback should be worth it..

    Good luck, and let us know what you did in the end!
     
  15. LON:AAPL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    #15
    RANT

    So I decided to us excel to see how I fared and to be honest it was pretty poor. Used Dropbox as well and synced my files to be offline, but when I got in the field they needed to convert to .XLSX from .XLS for some reason. This caused a variety of problems because apparently it needed data to convert (wifi only iPad) and then once it converted (at a local service station) I had to save it again as a separate file and now have two of the sa e file but with different filenames.

    Decision

    So I think I'm going to give the Adobe Acrobat thing a go and also trial out the Google thing. Will let you know how I get on.....!! Will give it a go tomorrow too hopefully....

    Alternatively does anyone know of any UK based businesses that offer good and cost effective app development (thinking long term only and not right now).
     
  16. M. Gustave macrumors 68000

    M. Gustave

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2015
    Location:
    Grand Budapest Hotel
    #16
    I assume this is a business you are running, actually trying to make money? I ask because you are clearly not suited to be the "IT guy". You need to hire someone knowledgeable, rather than posting on forums.

    There is no reason Excel won't work perfectly for what you described. Your resistance to using OneDrive, and using wi-fi only iPads out in the field are causing your problems.
     
  17. LON:AAPL thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2015
    #17
    I work for the business, and the turnover is in the millions but with antiquated methods before you start making sarcastic comments. Forums are for people looking for advice, hence why I posted a question here. I'm seeking a solution not some jumped up ass to make accusations about why I have problems.....

    Believe it or not technology doesn't always work and I don't get data in the fields for my phone let alone an iPad (if I had one data enabled), so your suggestions are poor...

    Please don't post here anymore as I want genuine help, not brazen attitudes.
     

Share This Page