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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Plowing Snow with Google Maps Coordinate

This past week I had the opportunity to present to a crowd of webmasters from throughout the United States at the National Association of Government Webmasters (NAGW).  Besides being wonderfully nice people, the attendees were incredibly smart and dedicated to their respective agencies.

During my presentation on Google Maps Coordinate, I opened the floor for ideas for use Google Maps Coordinate use cases for supporting a mobile work force.  One of the attendees from the mid-West chimed in with perhaps one of the best examples as we navigate through Autumn planning for the snow that Winter may have in store for us:  Snow Plows!

Using Google Maps Coordinate to Manage Snow Plow Operations

There are certainly fleet operation solutions out on the market which are used by departments of transportation and some of these are quite sophisticated -- there is at least one software solution which can send data back to dispatch to indicate if the truck's plow blade is engaged or not in use.  Google Maps Coordinate is an affordable solution that can be deployed easily by agencies of all sizes - small to large.  The beauty of the solution is the simplicity -- almost everyone is familiar with Google Maps as many of us use Google Maps in our every day lives.

Location Tracking for $20-$24 per User / per Month

Dispatchers are able to administer individuals and teams via a familiar Web based maps interface to track location and assign jobs.  Individuals share their location by downloading and utilizing the free Google Maps Coordinate application available in the iTunes and Google Play stores.  The cost of the service is approximately $240/per user annually and administrators have the ability to manage users and assign them to teams.

Creating a Job in Google Maps Coordinate

Creating a Job is as simple as adding the relevant information to a Web form and selecting the address.  Dispatchers may also provide location contact information in the case where the plow driver needs to check-in with someone on-site at a specific location.  Dispatchers may assign the work directly to an individual or team or they may leave it open and available for a remote worker to claim the job based on their proximity or once they complete a task.

Using the Google Maps Coordinate Android or iPhone App

Remote workers are able to easily browse their jobs, get directions and check-in or out of specific jobs or task.  The easy-to-use Google Maps Coordinate mobile app allows the remote worker to see contact information and map the location of the task in a familiar Google Maps interface.  Getting directions is as easy as plotting the route from a current location to the task location.  If the Dispatcher has provided phone information for the specific location, the remote worker can simply dial the contact to get more detail, advise of their ETA, or let them know the job is complete (using a hands-free device, of course). This paperless job management provides dispatchers and remote workers with real time, instant updates via the Web or mobile device.

Job History and Historical Analysis to Past Jobs and Location Details

Using Google Maps Coordinate to assign work to remote workers via an Android or iPhone is valuable in and of itself, especially since dispatchers can view and communicate real time with remote workers -- note that Dispatchers can start a video conference (Google Hangout) with the remote workers to communicate in real time.  Using Google Hangout would allow a snow plow driver to show the dispatcher real-time road conditions or perhaps speak directly to a property owner after an accident or even a stranded motorist.

Perhaps one of the most useful features however is the ability to track and view historical job data with location data.  Google Maps Coordinate will allow your agency or company to leverage the historical job information to plan for future storms, bill for services or track productivity.

Getting started with Google Maps Coordinate is easy.  Fig Leaf Software can work with your company or agency through a 30 day trial.  For more information call Joe Ferrente at 202-797-7711 x124 or download a Google Maps Coordinate Datasheet: http://go.figleaf.com/google-maps-coordinate.

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