North Queensland Engineering has just finished initial development of a new iOS app called MetaEdit to assist with inspection reporting and or tagging photos. Available for download here. We have been completing inspections of structures and equipment for the past 15+ years but have always been disappointed with the current methodologies for inspections. We live in a high-tech world and we need to ensure technology is working for us (not the other way around!). A couple of the methodologies are as follows:
Option 1 – Capture photos with any camera and take notes on paper or digitally. You then manually sift through the photos later and play a game of connect the dots to remember which photos go with which item. Unless, you’ve taken the time to find and write down photo numbers which can be painful to keep track of.
Option 2 - An application / database that does everything! This approach can get very "heavy", fast. It requires photos to be taken / uploaded into proprietary software where the lock in effect is real. Generally the software is very clunky and you spend a lot of time navigating the system. Cloud based software has the added complexity where it requires a reasonable internet connection to upload the photos as they are taken. Alternatively, “offline” mode with separate syncing is an option but has the added risk of sync failures and loosing large amounts of data.
Option 3 – Introducing MetaEdit. A “lightweight” iOS app that allows you to apply tags to photos taken in any native or third party iOS photo app. Item numbers, project numbers, even notes (if you want) can be directly attached to the individual photos in the metadata.
On arrival back to the office (and a few scripts) the photos can be downloaded, sorted. The photos can then be used to populate an inspection report with very little double handling. The report can be customised to your liking using our simple excel template builder. If you prefer to use excel on your phone to directly capture the notes into the report instead of having the notes attached to each photo, this can be done. We have tried to keep it quite customisable to match whatever our users use case is.
MetaEdit has been designed for many different use cases with another example as follows. Have you ever tried to find photos of a particular object / project / category that does not fall into a specific location, date or automatic tagged category (pet / snow / water etc.)? This software allows you to search through you photo library with custom tags for photos. Say you were taking photos of different dogs all across the world and you wanted to capture the type of dog (Cavoodle, Poodle, German Shepherd, Golden Retriever and Pug etc). Photos could be tagged using MetaEdit, and then you can use the photo library to search for any specific dogs you would like to find later with all data stored directly in the individual photo metadata.
We are looking forward to streamlining our own processes around inspection reporting using this app (time is money after all). We are excited to see how other companies use this software to make their workflows more efficient.
A tool for tagging photos with custom metadata.