Project management and accounting have long been challenging for land surveying, engineering, and geospatial services firms. Particularly in small firms, where individuals often fill multiple roles, tasks such as time tracking and invoicing might not be handled in the most efficient way, leading to reduced profitability and increased stress levels. Although a number of software products have been introduced as possible solutions over the years, the mobile era is presenting new opportunities to improve and streamline the process.
Mitchell Gunnels, a web designer and software developer with a background in surveying and civil engineering, hopes to usher in a new era of project management by changing the way the software is created. Through an initiative called “The Rove Project,” Gunnels is seeking to engage firms in the development of cloud-based software called Rove Logix, which runs on desktop computers, tablets and smartphones.
“Social coding is something that’s been around in our field for a long time, where coders get together and use each other’s knowledge to build a better program,” Gunnels says. “We want to bring that approach to this software as well and create a social platform for surveyors and engineers to quickly give us their input.”
The base program, which is already in place although not yet commercially available, includes features such as a customizable dashboard with an easy-to-use interface, a customizable task-based project setup, and a graphical project interface with linked data. As with other apps currently on the market, users will be able to choose from a free, ad-supported version for limited usage or a paid licensing model for use at an enterprise level. What Gunnels and his team hope to accomplish through The Rove Project is fine-tuning the software to include features that users would like to see in the final product.
The project involves a website soliciting feedback on the types of accounting and project management software currently in use, the level of interest in a time entry app for smartphones, and what users would like to see in a new project management software.
“Each company is different,” Gunnels says. “The real goal is to get information that we can actually use to build on our platform and make this a product that is extremely useful for a wide range of surveying and engineering firms.”