Digital pen speeds tasks for Nashua, NH

Pond water and digital pens don’t ordinarily mix, but lately they do in Nashua, N.H.

Angelo Marino, the city’s chief assessor and geographic information system coordinator, is using Capturx pens from Adapx to collect data on the city’s detention ponds. These ponds, usually located around housing subdivisions, collect stormwater and allow the water to flow out gradually to prevent flooding.

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The city sends interns out to the field to collect data about the ponds using the Capturx digital pen with Excel 2007.

“We give them a data collection form, all set and ready to go,” said Marino. The interns make notes with the Capturx pen, and once back at the office, they put the pen into a docking station. The information from the pen is then pulled into Excel spreadsheets. A handwriting conversion application converts the handwriting into text, Marino said.

Although the project is in its early stages, Marino has already noticed some benefits. “We don’t have to keep all that paper around,” he said. “We don’t have to put it into a three-ring binder. And there’s no more data entry, so that’s a time savings.”

Nashua also uses Capturx for ESRI’s ArcGIS and Capturx for Microsoft Office OneNote. A risk manager with the city used the Capturx leatherette-bound journal and digital pen to take 22 cases of notes in a court case. “She didn’t have to transcribe any of that,” Marino said. “She could print it directly to PDF.”

The city is also finding the Capturx for ArcGIS application “extremely useful,” Marino said. At a recent meeting with city planners about a sidewalk snow plan, Marino could map out ideas and paths in about 30 minutes, he said.

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About the Author

Trudy Walsh is a senior writer for GCN.

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