The importance of Visual Documentation

Why document your work zone

Following on the theme of expanding what a smart work zone is, today lets talk about video footage and what it can do for your work zone.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth 1.8 million per minute.

Video is easy to create, yet tells a story like no other medium. In the work world, if you are an employee who knows they have to take a video of the work they're about to perform, you better bet they're going to do a great job - since they know everyone will see it! Outside of design-builds, very few construction projects require the video recording of the work being done. Why is that?

The problems with video:

First and foremost, it can be burdensome on the contractor. Contractors are experts in their field - bridge construction, surveying, electrical, earth moving, paving, concrete work, landscaping, and traffic control. None of these are expert videographers by trade.

Just taking the video is fraught with error. You have to buy the right camera ($500-1000), have the correct "SD" card in it, find an appropriate mount (more $$$) and make sure its battery is charged up when you need it. Then when its all done, you drive back to your office, try and fiddle with those tiny SD cards, put it into your computer, burn it to a CD or thumb drive, and hand deliver it or drop it in the mail. This is all while the contractor could instead be doing what they do best (paving, electrical, traffic control, etc).

Lastly, someone has to watch all this video! Agencies are constantly understaffed and budgets are always tight. Dedicated an agency staff member or paying a consultant to wade through hours of video to perhaps find something of use is a bar too high for most DOTs.

The Fix.

With that as the current landscape, we set out to fix it. With short, descriptive videos, DOT members don't need to leave the office as much. An inspector can inspect three different sites across the state in 5 minutes, instead of driving for 4 hours over the course of a day. A project engineer can ensure the pilings on the bridge on a far outstate project is coming in as specified without having to be there at night when the work is done.

We've done this with our product called Video Trax Pro. This is an app for smart phone that allows contractors and agencies to document their work. We limit the videos to a few minutes, so they are short and to the point. The videos can be tagged with a description so you don't have to watch videos you know don't pertain to you.

Most importantly, we compress the video on the device immediately after recording, so it can be sent over the cellular networks immediately - no waiting to get back to the office and burn a CD and wait for it in the mail. Equally important, many different contractors can all take video and it all going into the same project "folder" in our cloud database - accessible to project personnel for years. The videos get to the correct folder by comparing the GPS on the phone to our project database, so every video goes into the right place.

We also manage the video on the phone, so once our server receives the compressed copy, an email receipt is sent to the audience (the agency) and the contractor, and the video is deleted off the phone, so as to not fill up space on the phone.

We've ticked off every pain point when it comes to recording and viewing visual documentation of project work.

Please check it out today, and sign up for a free 30 day trial at videotraxpro.com