DIG IT AWARD FINALIST: MOBILE
Keeping inspectors connected
- By Matt Leonard
- Oct 13, 2017
The horticulture industry, like any other, has regulations it must follow. To ensure that those rules are enforced, a team of 35 inspectors monitor the 9,000 locations in New York state where plants and flowers are grown or sold.
A new mobile application is helping those inspectors do their jobs more efficiently. The Plant Inspections mobile application, launched earlier this year, digitizes a process that was previously done on paper. The app is loaded on iPads issued to inspectors, where it syncs with a backend licensing system and automatically updates inspection records. It also auto-fills federal forms that are provided as PDFs.
In introducing the app, Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard Ball said, “By increasing efficiency, our inspectors are able to provide more detailed and thorough reports to plant growers and dealers across the state, which will also help us better support and protect the industry.”
The New York State Office of Information Technology Services worked closely with inspectors throughout the process of developing the app by observing their activities in the field and meeting with them in person.
State officials say the app has led to a drastic reduction in paper use, and there are already plans for adding features. And they are looking into other departments that could benefit from a similar app for other kinds of inspections.
Matt Leonard is a reporter/producer at GCN.
Before joining GCN, Leonard worked as a local reporter for The Smithfield Times in southeastern Virginia. In his time there he wrote about town council meetings, local crime and what to do if a beaver dam floods your back yard. Over the last few years, he has spent time at The Commonwealth Times, The Denver Post and WTVR-CBS 6. He is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where he received the faculty award for print and online journalism.
Leonard can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Matt_Lnrd.
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