When you register with OTISS, the we automatically create some example sites and surveys for you to use. These can be downloaded and used on the mobile apps straight away.

The mobile apps are primarily the data collection part of the system, the OTISS website is used to do all the setup and configuration. Typically you create sites and surveys, upload maps and plans, customise the survye forms as required – all on the OTISS website. Then Use download the survey to the mobile device and go -out on site to do the survey work. Periodically during the survey and at the end, you sync the data back to the website. The website tools are then used to review and tidyup the data, and to generate reports.

Check Online Surveys…

The Check Online Surveys button will check with the OTISS website and present a list of the ‘active’ (or ‘authorised’)  surveys to which you have been assigned. When you select a survey from this list, you get the following options.

  • View Survey Info, shows some basic information about the site; its address, description and contact information.
  • Download Survey, all the necessary survey forms, user defined fields and the most recent survey data will be copied into to the device’s local database. The survey will disappear from this ‘available’ list and re-appear in the Downloaded Surveys list.
  • Create survey. This option is available to volunteers and estate staff that do not normally use the OTISS website. Estate staff can configure individual volunteers and estate staff as ‘Authorised’ to create and carry out surveys on specified sites.  This option will create a new survey for the site and then download all the required data (as above). The new survey will appear in the Downloaded Surveys list. This ‘Authorised to create’ entry will remain, so that further surveys can be created in the future.

NB: The maps are NOT downloaded as part of the survey. But for most survey sites, if you have a good/fair connection to the internet then the OTISS survey apps will be able to display the required maps and use them for your surveying – you don’t have to do anything. However, for areas of poor 4G/3G mobile signal, you will want to pre-load the maps before you leave your home/office – read more about the Download Offline Maps feature.

Downloaded Surveys

The Downloaded Surveys button presents a list of the surveys that have already been downloaded to the device’s local database.

Once downloaded, you can start to collect data for a survey. The new survey data and any changes are stored on the local database. When the survey is finished, you must Sync all your changes back to the OTISS website. For larger surveys, we recommend that you do the Sync operation a few times each day throughout the survey, to ensure that all the data is safety on the website – just in case you drop or damage the phone or tablet. When you are sure that all the data has been Sync\’ed, and that you no longer need the survey on the phone, you can remove it to free up storage for future surveys.

  • Tree Safety and for Asset/Furniture surveys are supported by the TreeSurvey and AssetSurvey apps. In fact, if you download both a Tree Safety survey and a Furniture survey for the same site, then both sets of icons will be displayed on the map at the same time.
  • BS5837 surveys are only supported by the BS5837 Survey app.

When you select a survey from the Downloaded Surveys list, you get the following options.

  • View Survey Info, shows some basic information about the site; its address, description and contact information.
  • Start Survey, brings up the map (or site plan) where you can create, view and update the trees and other items.
  • List of Items, shows all the trees and items as a list. This can be used as an alternative to the map screen. You can use this list to quickly find a particular item or to see those items that have not yet been inspected. You can select an item, and then jump directly to see it on the map.
  • Sync survey is something you do periodically during the day to upload/download your collected data to the OTISS website.
  • Complete survey. This option is available to volunteers and estate staff that do not normally use the OTISS website. It allows them to Sync the survey data that they have collected and to the mark the survey status as ‘Closed’ – so that the estate staff know that they have completed their allocated task.
  • Remove Survey, removes the survey (with all its trees, data and maps) from the phone. Don’t do this unless you have already sync’ed the survey data to the website. This will free up storage on the phone for future surveys. Note that this just removes the data and maps from the phone, everything is still on the website.
  • Download Maps, allows you to pre-load the maps before you leave your home/office – read more about the Download Offline Maps feature.
  • In all cases, please read the help provided on the apps to learn more about each feature.

We never automatically remove a survey from the phone, because only you know whether you will need it again in the near future. You can remove it now,  and then download it again later in the year if you need it.

Some general tips…

  • Most Android’s have the ability to auto-rotate the screen from landscape to portrait. This is a really cool feature, but can be annoying when you are using the Android for surveying. As you walk from place to place, your hand drops to your side and the device keeps swapping orientations. Some users prefer to go to the Android Settings-> Display and turn Auto-rotate screen to off.
  • Each page on the survey apps has a Settings icon on the Action Bar which provides extra features, settings and help screens.
  • When you have completed a survey and generated all the reports you need, then it is good practice to change the SurveyStatus to ‘Closed’ on the website Surveys page, and then you can remove the survey from the phone (as described above).