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Elaheh Eghbal

By: Elaheh Eghbal on February 26th, 2015

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RJN Group: Zerion Champions

Business Insight | Project Monitoring


The teams at RJN Group are true Zerion Power Users! In a recent conversation with Connor Henwood, RJN Group GIS Analyst, we learned a lot about how they are using Zerion to capture data and redefine their way their field teams work.

Connor is a champion of the Zerion platform and he and his team are doing some amazing things with the platform!


EE: Hi Connor, thanks for chatting with me! For our readers, can you share what RJN Group does and what industry you operate in?

CH: I work for RJN Group, Inc. (RJN) which is a professional engineering and specialty field services firm providing sustainable collection systems solutions for infrastructure owners. RJN consults an array of clients including municipal, county, sanitary districts, state and federal agencies. Our focus is on addressing client goals, supporting client interests, and delivering economical and sustainable results for the world’s natural and social environments.

EE: Neat! That’s great that there is a lot of focus on sustainable results. How does your team use Zerion on a daily basis?

CH: RJN uses Zerion on a daily basis to collect mass amounts of high quality field data through complex forms. Across the nation, RJN has field crews that are using the Zerion application daily through IOS equipment, thus allowing us to have multiple crews collect accurate data simultaneously. A server-side application, created by RJN Group, utilizes Zerion’s API to transfer data from the Zerion database to RJN Group’s custom database. RJN’s database is the backend to RJN’s GIS and a product called RPM, which manages, visualizes and analyzes the data that comes in real-time.

EE: What results have you achieved by using Zerion?

CH: The results that RJN has achieved by using Zerion is simply put “Instant Data”. Thanks to cloud services, we can better manage and control data on a daily basis. Zerion also allows us to use Apple IOS equipment. This has reduced our costs while increasing our efficiency in the field. Additionally, iForm has a robust set of data inputs beyond the text and numeric inputs typical of customizable forms. Photo, GPS, and barcode scanner inputs have resulted in better data integrity by eliminating the need for separate software and hardware to collect specialized data needing to be “paired up” later with the form data. Having all the data come in one package eliminates one aspect of a once burdensome QC process. Collecting field data using Zerion has helped RJN become more competitive in our industry.

EE: What are your favorite Zerion features?

CH: One of RJN’s favorite features is the photo widget. This feature has a big part in our day-to-day operations, allowing us to expedite the process of linking photos with individual entries. The fact that any of the elements can be improved upon through JavaScript code has made this product versatile enough to the rare and complicated needs that come with a niche business.

EE: How has using Zerion improved your team’s productivity?

CH: We have noticed a tremendous increase in not only production, but also the quality of data  acquired. This increase is directly related to Zerion’s capabilities of instant data and easy to use hardware/software. Having the ability to hold instant data in the cloud combined with the capability to tie to RJN’s own enterprise through the API, increases our access to data, thus increased productivity. RJN Group will soon be releasing a web portal for clients to view real-time field data. Years ago, delivering data to a client required several “transformations” of the data to get it from field to deliverable status. Now all our time is spent adding value to the data through QC, analysis and providing recommendations for our customers. Zerion’s platform allows RJN to build custom forms and easy data collection methods to sustain project needs and produce high quality deliverables.

EE: How have you integrated Zerion with other platforms and backend systems at RJN Group?

CH: RJN developed a server-side application, utilizing the API feature, to link our iForm cloud based server to our own enterprise software. The idea behind the application is that it takes schema developed through the iForm building process and translates it to existing schema in the RJN enterprise database. That means that naming of forms and fields is critical for making sure the data finds its destination. It also resolves parent/child (form/subform) relationships based on the schema of the xml feed; the communication goes both ways. Projects, clients, and employees managed through RPM (RJN Group’s software) populate option lists in iForm so that the field crews always have up-to-date and relevant lists. We also use the export services provided such as the Excel tool and the XML tool. Additionally, RJN has incorporated the forms to talk directly with ArcGIS services and ESRI Online services to produce high quality GIS deliverables.

EE: Can you share an example of a successful project? What made the project so successful?

CH: One that comes to mind is a storm water project in Hot Springs, Arkansas. It is a comprehensive survey project to locate storm water facilities and update the City's GIS database to reflect storm sewer facilities. Services included review of existing mapping data and as-builts; above-ground reconnaissance to locate structures; GPS survey of structures; and GIS updates and production of GIS maps. If structures could not be located, field investigations including smoke testing and dye tracing were performed to locate the structures. During this multi-year contract, over 1,500 structures and 104,451 LF of storage sewer have been located and recorded in the City's GIS asset inventory. The way we set up the form using Zerion was through the ESRI connector that iForm has made capable. Therefore, we had a live running map using the ESRI connector and ArcGIS online!

EE: Before we end, is there anything else you would like to share?

CH: I would just like to say that Zerion has been amazing so far in multiple ways. I personally have really appreciated the support team that is available 24 hours a day and the support documents and help videos that I can easily access all over the internet. Most importantly, your customer service is impeccable. Whenever I talk a member of your customer service team, they always ask how things are going or what they can do to make the platform better. For RJN, that makes a huge difference.

Thanks so much, Connor! We look forward to continuing to do great things! For more information about RJN Group, click here.


About Elaheh Eghbal

Elaheh Eghbal is the Marketing Manager at Zerion. She is an adventurer, photographer, furniture builder, and wannabe foosball pro. If you have any questions about this post or just want to say hi, she would love to hear from you!

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