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For multidisciplinary companies like the Jackson Drilling Group, which include Jackson Geo Services, Jackson Drilling, and Jackson Water Services, any new geotechnical information management tool has to be intuitive, easy to set up, and minimally disruptive.

Founded in the UK in 1973, Jackson Drilling has supported its customers with drilling projects. Following expansion into ground investigation in 2021, Jackson Geo Services has provided in-situ testing, logging, geotechnical and geoevironmental laboratory services and reporting to a vast client base, undertaking a range of projects from small investigations to multi-rig large scale projects.

But this diverse, ever-evolving business was facing a common challenge: collecting and using its data rapidly, accurately, and efficiently.

At least, until the entire group switched to OpenGround in November of 2021.

But what pushed the Jackson Drilling Group to make that leap? And how easy was it to integrate OpenGround into their business?

To unearth the truth, we asked Adam, the Jacksons Drilling Group Technical Manager, to share his experience of adopting OpenGround.

Adam oversees all aspects of Jackson Geo Services, including tendering, delivering fieldwork, reporting and the creation of technical outputs, whilst he also provides technical oversight to Jackson Drilling and Jackson Water Services. This gives him a perfect bird’s-eye view of life with OpenGround.

We’ve narrowed the insights he shared down to three key areas — three elements of Jackson Drilling Group’s story that get to the heart of life with OpenGround.

Digital field data collection speeds up projects and cuts down on errors

Before switching to OpenGround, Jackson Drilling Group were using a tool that promised to digitise engineers’ logs, storing information in AGS format — the industry-standard format for exchanging geotechnical data in the UK.

But the solution had some significant drawbacks. It offered limited ability to amend or customise the outputs that the system generated. In addition, there was no way to digitally collect data in the field — which meant back-office staff still had to do the heavy lifting of digitising paper field records.

Thankfully, Adam and his team found that OpenGround was designed to avoid pitfalls like these:

  • OpenGround’s configuration packs make it highly customisable. Adam and his team can include user-defined fields in their database, making sure that data is always collected accurately and to standard.
  • Data can also be input into fields mapped to the latest AGS data format, so the Jackson Drilling Group teams can seamlessly create AGS data to standard, without wasting time on manual data entry.
  • OpenGround Collector can even be configured to prohibit impossible values and nonsensical data, greatly reducing the chances of error without driving up manual work.

Most importantly, OpenGround unlocked a new capability for the team: the ability to digitise data at the point of collection.

OpenGround synchronises data collected on site to the cloud, so the data can be interrogated and reviewed by colleagues in the office or shared with the client.

The result? Data collection is faster and more accurate. Clients get better visibility into the work on site. And — since clients can ask questions, check data, and request more information in real time — projects move faster.

Not to mention that cutting out paper forms has helped Jackson Drilling Group reduce its environmental impact too.

A single source of truth brings new clarity

Switching to OpenGround unlocked another benefit across the Jackson Drilling Group: access to a centralised data repository, where all of the data collected on site could be stored and accessed centrally.

This paid off for the team in a few different ways:

  • Multiple users can work on one borehole location simultaneously in the field, cutting down on wasted time and speeding up projects.
  • Data continuity between field operatives has improved significantly, since any field operative has access to the data captured for a location.
  • Live feeds mean that same-day/next-day turnaround of data for clients is now possible.

Data entry that’s as easy — and intuitive — as texting

Switching from paper-based processes can seem intimidating for some team members, but Adam and his team found the switch to be surprisingly smooth.

OpenGround Collector can be accessed via either a tablet or a mobile app. For most users, this makes the technology very easy to adopt: Typing data into a data collection system isn’t much different from typing a text message. And OpenGround’s intuitive interface meant that those who weren’t immediately comfortable with the technology picked it up rapidly with a little training.

Of course, the UK is notorious for its wet weather — so any device that Jacksons used had to be hardy enough to deal with anything the climate could throw at it. Happily, Adam found that there were plenty of rugged tablets available on the market which could withstand most weather conditions.

A smooth transition — and the start of a powerful partnership

Now that Jackson Geo Services and Jackson Drilling divisions have embraced OpenGround, it’s ready for the next challenge: digitising the data produced by Jackson Water Services, the only department still relying on paper-based systems. Achieving that goal will mean that all of Jackson Drilling Group’s operations are fully digitised, with data collected at source in the field — and that the entire company can reap the benefits of efficient, accurate, and easy data collection and access.

Want to hear more about Jackson Drilling Group’s story? Watch our Ground to Cloud session with Jackson Drilling to hear Adam share the benefits of OpenGround in his own words. Just head here to watch our interview with him.

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