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Apex field sketch software

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Frederick R. Ruffell

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Certified General Appraiser
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California
Does anybody know if Apex has sketch software available for use with a handheld device of any or all operating systems? That is, with out having to buy new form software i.e. a la mode.
 

cgjerdetu

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Jan 29, 2002
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Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Pocket Apex is still in Beta, but from what I understand it will be available as a stand alone product for use on a Pocket PC platform. I don't know for sure but I do not think they are working on a version for the Palm.

If you are using ACI and wanted to use ACI Mobile & Pocket Apex, you would need both a Palm and a separate Pocket PC machine (for example a Compaq ipaq or HP Jornada 56X), one for the sketch (the Pocket PC) & the other for ACI mobile software (Palm).

I currently use ACI (dictated by my employer) but it looks like I may soon be able to switch to WinTotal -- which I will do the moment it becomes possible.

My goal, completely electronic appraisals in the field (I just got a laser measuring device, so no tape, no clipboard, 21st century technology).
 

dbiggers

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Frederick --

Pocket TOTAL can already be integrated with ACI or any other forms software. We built it to use XML on the desktop for synchronization. If your vendor, ACI I assume, already supports AI Ready (and they do), then they have all the XML expertise needed to seamlessly link their desktop software with Pocket TOTAL and Pocket Apex combined. It would take any vendor less than a week to do it, and you wouldn't have to spend any money buying new desktop software.

Just tell ACI you want them to get moving on integration with Pocket TOTAL, and you can be using it -- and Pocket Apex -- quickly if they listen. Otherwise, they're leaving you in a bad spot: Either forcing you to be stuck with slow Palm devices and no Pocket Apex, or getting much faster Pocket PC's with Pocket TOTAL and Pocket Apex by switching to WinTOTAL.

Since it sounds like you don't want to switch, they need to try not to force you to do so. As I said, in about a week of simple programming on the desktop, they can have it all perfectly integrated and working for you and all the other ACI users.

Dave Biggers
CEO
a la mode, inc.


Does anybody know if Apex has sketch software available for use with a handheld device of any or all operating systems? That is, with out having to buy new form software i.e. a la mode.
 

cgjerdetu

Junior Member
Joined
Jan 29, 2002
Professional Status
Certified Residential Appraiser
State
California
Dave,

I did contact ACI last week regarding ACI and Pocket Total. The response I got back was that they already had ACI Mobile and that they were working on their own sketch integration program. I did not get the sense they were going to be working on incorporating Pocket Total into their desktop software any time soon.

Carolyn Gjerde-Tu
 

EDWARD BERRY

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Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
This is a example of a HUGE need and the industry is not responding.

Appraisers need a data gathering system designed by appraisers-not programmers.

We DO NOT inspect(gather data) in the order as the UAR is written.(except for the upper 1/3)

We need drop down menues with the our canned responses INTO a gathering devise(PDA OR computer) .

We do not need a program in the gathering devise to MASSAGE the data.
That can be done with a more powerful program after it is shot to the desktop--wireless.

That way an experienced appraiser with a laptop in the field can inspect, pick comps off the laptop, then send to the office the field info About 4-6 in a morning. Upon returning to the office, a little review and clean up.

The ONLY way we can survive is more production in less time.


Forget the crazy idea of trying to complete a professional sketch in the field-just gather the measurements that are necessary. I am MUCH more better at a confortable desk than in the field.

I WILL pay $1,000 for a system that will do the above in ACI.

ANY takers?

Backward ed in arkansas.
 

dbiggers

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IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
Ed, we are responding... you described exactly what Pocket TOTAL does and how we built it. We have hundreds of appraisers as part of our beta test panel, and they helped us make it exactly what appraisers need (and I'm a former appraiser too).

There are dropdowns for all fields. You can customize the system so only certain fields are required, not the whole form (we call them "critical fields"). You can design your own completely custom "data gathering form" if you don't want to use something like the URAR or any other traditional form. Pocket TOTAL doesn't massage the data; it gathers it.

You can talk into the device and store voice notes, or even record the homeowner speaking, and they get stored in the appraisal report's Workfile, so you can listen to them when you get back and are at the desktop.

Pocket Apex can do the whole sketch, but you still "clean it up" on the desktop. And even if you don't want to use Pocket Apex at all, we have a freehand drawing PowerView inside Pocket TOTAL called the FieldPad, which works just like a pencil and your clipboard -- so you can scribble and draw like you want on your clipboard now.

Once you're done in the field, it can either be synchronized with a laptop on the road as you suggest and completed that way, or it can be transmitted back to the office and synchronized via EDI. If you have an assistant at the office, they can work on it too. Even if you wait until you come back to the office, it will intelligently merge any work you've done on the report with anything they've done to it while you were gone (pre-selected comps, addenda, etc.).

It's incredibly flexible and will do what you suggest.

It's not $1000... it's $199. And ACI can start using it immediately if they'll choose to do so.

Dave
 

dbiggers

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Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
Thanks for the info, Carolyn. That's a mistake... and a shame. ACI Mobile is only designed for the Palm Pilot right now and has some severe limitations due to the language in which it's written -- it's not actually a standard low-level language; it's built on top of a generic database system. It's like the difference between an appraisal program written from scratch and one written as a set of Microsoft Excel and Access templates -- you wind up being restricted from doing many low-level things, such as integrating the sketch directly, adding on-the-fly customization of the layout, etc.

Since Apex isn't available for Palm, I guess they're trying to integrate the Palm version of Winsketch (did they explain what they meant?). That would penalize anyone who uses Apex on the desktop side.

I'm not sure they realize how many appraisers will switch desktop software in order to have truly capable handheld tools. I sure hope for their own sake that they change their minds. They already know how to do it since they support AI Ready, and it's almost identical XML. For so little effort, it would be unfortunate to not offer their users what they want -- Pocket PC's with complete forms tools and Pocket Apex. Limiting their users to slower Palm Pilots with ACI Mobile and Winsketch won't cut it in this competitive market.

Dave Biggers
CEO
a la mode, inc.

Dave,

I did contact ACI last week regarding ACI and Pocket Total. The response I got back was that they already had ACI Mobile and that they were working on their own sketch integration program. I did not get the sense they were going to be working on incorporating Pocket Total into their desktop software any time soon.

Carolyn Gjerde-Tu
 

EDWARD BERRY

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
DAve,

Thanks for the info--

However, unless the program has changed drastically, those that have tried it say NO.

That was about one ago.

I would be intereted in seeing the input screens. Perhaps we could hire a group of programmers to get it to work with ACI.

We are not enimies of TOTAL, but ACI fit one of our customers better.

Hopefully, ed in arkansas.
 

dbiggers

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Professional Status
IT Professional-Appraisal Related
State
Florida
Ed --

It's a complete rewrite. Not one line of code was retained. The old version used a "list" approach, and this one looks like the forms. There's no comparison at all. And I can assure you that those trying it are saying "Yes" in a big way. There have already been posts on this and other forums from new users who love it. It's literally "flying off the shelves" here.

ACI would have to do the integration work themselves. They have to put some "hooks" inside their program to write out the XML files and send them to the Pocket PC, and vice versa (read an XML file) when you return from the field.

Here's a link to the screens. Just use the Next button to see more...

http://www.alamode.com/pocket/pkt1.htm

And don't worry -- I know that some people choose one desktop package and others choose another. It's no big deal. We'll get you eventually... ;-)

Dave Biggers
CEO
a la mode, inc.


DAve,

Thanks for the info--

However, unless the program has changed drastically, those that have tried it say NO.

That was about one ago.

I would be intereted in seeing the input screens. Perhaps we could hire a group of programmers to get it to work with ACI.

We are not enimies of TOTAL, but ACI fit one of our customers better.

Hopefully, ed in arkansas.
 

Frederick R. Ruffell

Thread Starter
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 21, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
California
cgjerdetu, how do you use the laser measuring device to get exterior measurments?

Edward Berry, I agree with everything you say. I have the ACI mobile and used it for a while ( took some time to rearrange my inspection routine) but did not see a big time savings whin I got back to the office computer. I hope to save about 10 to 15 minutes of sketch time once the software is available. This would make a big difference once multiplied over the year.

Dbiggers, I have tried your product twice and could not convince myself that it was any better or easier then ACI. I have been looking at Homputer software and for the money (less then $200) it seems to do everything I need with out all the bells and whistles (which seem to be the cause of most crashes).

Thanks everybody for responding,
it would seem that there is nothing out there, yet, that is viable with out changing forms software or paying a premium to go through some other forms software to get it into the fnal report.
 
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