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Pros and Cons of Using a Phone App in the Field in the Snow Industry

Is it worth it?

Pros and Cons of Using a Phone App in the Field in the Snow Industry

Geolocation, Geofencing, and Time/Date stamped photos.

Today’s world is constantly advancing in technology all around us. From doors automatically opening when you walk close to them….to drones flying high in the sky…to phones capable of retina scans…technology is all around us, integrated into our daily lives.

So how does technology play a roll in the snow industry?

One way technology has advanced the snow industry is in the use of phone apps to record information while on a jobsite.

Pros of using some of the phone apps in the field:

· Geolocation

· Geofencing

· Time/Date Stamped Photos

· Employee check ins and out

· Service Records

· Instant documentation availability

· Less paperwork

Cons of using some of the phone apps in the field:

· Phone requirements (some only work on the newest phones in the market)

· App glitches and untimely updates

· Some parts of an app not working if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi

· Some apps could use large amounts of phone data, especially if not connected to Wi-Fi

· Language barriers

· Cost

These are only a few of the basic Pros and Cons when using an app on the field in the snow industry. There are many more we can mention at a later time.


For now we will focus on the importance of geolocation, geofencing, and time/date stamped photos.

First off, let’s define what geolocation and geofencing is.

What is Geolocation?

For those that are unfamiliar with geolocation, it is basically a way to pinpoint the latitude and longitude of a device at a particular time, using things like GPS or cell towers to locate the device. This helps prove where someone, some device, or some photo was at when the geolocation was activated within the app.

A more technical description of geolocation provided by Techopedia is “Geolocation provides the location of a device but is generally used in a variety of applications to help locate human users. Geolocation works through a pre-built GPS in a device that propagates the device's longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates. The coordinates are identified on a map to provide a complete address that usually includes a country, city, town/colony, building name and street address.

Besides GPS, geolocation also may be identified through an Internet Protocol (IP) address, media access control (MAC) address, radio frequency (RF) systems, Exchangeable Image File Format (EXIF) data and other wireless positioning systems.” (https://www.techopedia.com/definition/1935/geolocation)

What is Geofencing?

Geofencing is a way to put boundaries around a certain area (such as a property you may plow). This aids in proving that someone/some device was on site at a property. You could put an online boundary in an app around a property you service so that when an employee app geolocates then somewhere it could automatically register that they are within the geofence for a certain property’s boundaries.

According to Promatics Blog written by Rahul Singh “Geofencing technology helps in determining how close the device is to a specific place. It uses the GPS of device to estimate the same. It can also yield results about the indoor and outdoor presence of the device.” (https://www.promaticsindia.com/blog/understanding-geolocation-in-mobile-apps-how-location-based-services-in-apps-enhance-their-appeal/)


Now that we’ve defined geolocation and geofencing, how can that help in the snow industry along with time/date stamped photos?

People today are sue happy when it comes to suing those in the snow industry. Using an app with geolocation, geofencing, and time/date stamped photos helps prove that your company was at a site and servicing.

This comes in extremely handy in slip and fall cases to prove that your company was at site and serviced. It gives more proof than just a written document an employee might’ve filled out saying that they had serviced since now there is technological proof that they were there from geolocation and also photo proof.

This proof is also beneficial if a client just tries to argue that you never showed up and serviced their site. You can submit the digital proof that you were and it’s more reliable than written documentation since written documentation can more easily be falsified.

Below are some example of photos that change in their level of substantiated proof of service based on if the app geolocated it and time/date stamped it.

When Geolocation makes a difference

Have you ever had an employee take a close up picture of product they put down on site?


That picture is fantastic and shows that they put product down. Where is that product at though? Was it placed down at an apartment complex, shopping center?

With the photo being geolocated in an app, you will be able to pinpoint proof that not only was that photo taken on a particular site you service, but also where exactly that photo was taken on site. This way if there’s ever a slip and fall you have photographic proof that there was product placed down at a certain place on the site.

Have you ever looked at a photo and wondered what event that photo was taken during?


Say your client argues that you never showed up on site to clear the sidewalks until days after an event. You might have a picture like the above, but without a date/time stamp to go along with it your client could argue that it was from a different storm which makes the photo not beneficial. With a date/time stamp on it you can prove to a customer or in a lawsuit that you performed a service at a particular time and date.

In conclusion

Having a geolocation, geofence, and time/date stamped photos can greatly benefit a company in lawsuits, ect. Finding the right app in the snow industry that logs that automatically for you when taking a picture then becomes very important for documentation sake.

Photos courtesy of www.premiere360tours.com

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