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PDAs/Handheld Devices

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Jennifer Hooper Moore

Freshman Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2002
Hi - I am fairly new to the appraisal business. I am lucky enough to be working under one of the most reputable appraisers in my area (my Dad!). One area of his business that I feel I can improve on is the use of technology. For example, I've helped him leverage some of the more advanced word processing features that he was unaware of for his reports.

One idea that I'm interested in is possibly using a PDA/Handheld device during inspections to collect data. I was wondering if other commerical appraisers have tried, or are currently using, this technology? What kind of pitfalls, advantages, or disadvantages have you experienced?

Thanks in advance!
Jennifer
 

Terrel L. Shields

Elite Member
Gold Supporting Member
Joined
May 2, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Arkansas
You're (apparently) young and likely have good eyesight. I have had problems reading some things...e. g. - cell phone screen. Likewise, in bright sunlight I am pretty much shooting my digital camera blind.

I think PDAs are fine. Too fine for old eyes. I know I am still faster with hand sketching in the field and transfering that in the office. If it is critical and I am far away, I might take my laptop and sketch in the car or shade as a check...otherwise, I think younger eyes are needed for what I do.
 

Farm Gal

Elite Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2002
Professional Status
Licensed Appraiser
State
Nebraska
Jennifer: do a search using PDA in the subject line, there are several threads that indicate a lot of opinions on this matter...

Qucik summary is that the software is generated by folks who have never stepped foot intot he field for a real inspection, as Terril says the screens are tough to use in real life situations (bright dark, rain etc). Some of us who actually shelled out for the software find it not real helpful.

Most of us are holding out for the larger format screens in the "to be Delivered" tube... time will tell, but for most folks in most areas the utility of the handheld programs is pretty limited at this time...

Regrads, Lee Ann in KS

(PS do you give 'leverage' lessons? :wink: )
 

Neil (Texas)

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Texas
Jennifer,

You can design your own data collection forms on your PC for use on a Palm handheld:

"Pendragon Software" is available from mobileplanet.com.
 

Ted Martin

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Kansas
What you want to do is probably easier that for the residential side since you are probably using MSWord or MSExcell or another wordprocessor / spreadsheet combination that can import the data. You might want to investigate a PDA program like Quick Office that can import and export directly to MSWord and MSExcell. Your other options are to get a PDA database program, then you could design a field data collection form with individual fields that could transfer the data to your desktop computer. The key to PDA programing is to keep it simple and not loose sight of the fact that a PDA is not a desktop system but is simply a tool for gathering data which will be used and expanded on back at the office. So far none of the vendors on the residential side of the business have figured this out and keep trying to writting programs that are centered on the appraisal form rather the inspection process.
 

wyecoyote

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 15, 2002
Professional Status
Gvmt Agency, FNMA, HUD, VA etc.
State
Washington
Jennifer,

You might want to search for the tablet PC's. This will be coming out in the next couple of months according to the article. More expensive than the PDA's but can do alot more.

Ryan
 

Neil (Texas)

Sophomore Member
Joined
Jan 16, 2002
Professional Status
Certified General Appraiser
State
Texas
Tablet PCs are available now. Check out mobileplanet.com

ViewSonic has several configurations running Win2000 or WinXP, 800MHz Intel Celeron Processors, 10.4" or 10" SVGA touch screens, USB ports, Type II PC card slot, RJ-45 Ethernet or RJ-11 56Kbps ports.

WEIGHT: 4.3# (Think I'll wait for a "lighter" version).

Neil (Texas)
 

Patrick Price

Freshman Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2002
I thought you might be interested in this - for those using Palm organizers. I just got a copy and think it is a great product. It is an inspection form that allows you to put in Land Area, Bldg Area, Bldg Construction information, land information, notes, draw free-hand sketches, etc. I have been looking for something like this ever since I started using a Palm, and this is almost perfect. I do appraisal and consulting work, but I could see many different users. This company is in California, and the developer's name is Larry. Their website is below:

http://www.everythingre.com/ERESoftware/reinspect.htm

I thought you might be interested.

Patrick G. Price
Huntsville, AL
 
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