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Mobile Apps and Photography: The New Face of Pipeline Construction Documentation

Advances in technology have changed the way the pipeline construction industry has progressed across the decades. Mad Dog Foam Bridges are certainly a part of that change. Mobile technology, as it has in almost every other industry, is also changing pipeline construction. One other area of technology is also pushing pipeline construction forward.

Photography.

That might strike those less familiar with the pipeline construction process as surprising. What does a foreman do with a camera on the job site anyway…post photos of the new pipe onto Instagram?

In fact, photography plays a huge role in the area of documentation, especially now that “film” can be kept handy in the form of a smartphone.

Photography and video are arguably the best forms of documentation. True, some things cannot be captured in an image alone—such as the temperature or precise GPS measurements. But what if you need proof of something? The popular phrase “photos or it didn’t happen” actually packs some accuracy.

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Consider if a pipeline crew is in the field, and they repair a stretch of drain tile in the proper method, as trained, including examining the existing drain tile to ensure that there are no blockages up the tube, which might dam up drainage water. Perhaps a year after the repair, the owner of the property sends a complaint to the company, stating that another part of his property is flooding. He claims that the crew must have blocked up the drain tile with mud while working, which in turn caused the flooding up the line.

Fortunately, the crew used a camera on a long cord to record the status of the pipe before they completed the repair. That footage was saved with documentation of the repair, and shows that there was no mud for 100 ft. up the tile before they made the repair. We don’t know what is causing the current flooding, but the video footage proves that it was not caused by the construction last year.

Having that proof is a huge benefit to the pipeline company. If there was credible evidence that they caused the flooding on the property, they would have faced huge costs to repair the issue, and possibly even legal action. Good documentation keeps them safe.

Using this logic, pipeline construction companies benefit when they collect more data and documentation. That’s why the Mad Dog Materials mobile app features the ability to add photos for every repair.

And here’s why smartphone cameras are twice as nice: Remember when we said photos couldn’t show a temperature or specific set of coordinates? Smartphones constantly track this information, and when you use the camera in tandem with the app, it can automatically provide weather information and GPS coordinates to every photo, so viewers can pinpoint exactly when, where, and what conditions were in place when a photo was taken.

It may be awhile before social media makes an impact on pipeline construction. Good thing smartphone cameras are relevant on a more professional level.

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