top of page
  • Adam Schmehl

Pole Assessment Software Review (2020)

Updated: Apr 4

As we prepare to release a new module for Katapult Pro, Mobile Assessments, we wanted to learn a bit more about other software platforms tailored to solve similar problems. We asked our staff to spend a week putting ArcGIS, Fulcrum, and the beta version of our new Mobile Assessments tool through some testing and tell us what they thought. Here is our review: Disclosure: because our team uses Katapult Pro for all data collection projects, this was our first exposure to the other two platforms. In an attempt to keep our review fair, the staff we chose to compare the three platforms had never used Mobile Assessments, either.


Given a spreadsheet of 100 pole locations and relevant data in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, configure each software to collect/confirm the data using a mobile device and DSLR camera.

During the field survey, we followed the same path on each survey and did our best to make the same mistakes so the surveys didn’t inherently get faster each time. In addition to the collection workflow, we also added new poles found in the field and reported certain poles as inaccessible or non-existent.

Rating Metrics

Performance - Does this platform have the power, flexibility, and toolsets needed to complete the job? Does the platform have limitations? How well does it scale to accommodate bigger teams and projects?

Controls - How do the controls compare to other software platforms? Are they user-friendly for new technicians and designers? Are the controls consistent throughout the program?

Simplicity - Is the platform relatively easy to learn and navigate?

User Speed - How long does it take an intermediate level user to configure an assessment and collect data in the field?

Visuals - Does the platform show the information needed in a compact and easy-to-read interface?

Compatibility - Does this platform play nice with others? How easy is it to take data from existing platforms and load that data into this system, and vice versa?

Katapult Pro Mobile Assessments (Beta)

Katapult Pro Mobile Assessments mobile and desktop interface.

Average Score: 7.2 Performance - 8 Controls - 8 Simplicity - 5 User Speed - 6 Visuals - 6 Compatibility - 10 Price: Katapult Pro teams can purchase company-wide access to Mobile Assessments for $215/month ($2,580/year). Five-person Katapult Pro teams usually pay $5,160/year for full access to the platform.


Katapult Pro Mobile Assessments has great potential, but it felt like exactly what it was—an unfinished product. Setup and configuration required a good understanding of how the data is structured and trial and error to get it running properly. Once in the field, we liked the constant reminders of what steps we were supposed to take, but after the first hour we found ourselves wishing there was more flexibility (like needing to collect data in a different order on some poles).

After an easy upload, we were disappointed to find that a large number of photos were associated to the wrong pole—the association logic was different for Mobile Assessments than the standard Katapult Pro mobile interface. After cleaning that up, our data was fairly easily exported into a custom photo form.


  • Best ability to scale

  • Excellent customer service. After emailing support staff with some issues we were experiencing at 9:30 pm on a Saturday night, they responded within five minutes

  • The way Mobile Assessment steps through the survey workflow really helped us learn it

  • Easy upload processing (only took one try)

  • Photo association! No dealing with image names in spreadsheets or selecting individual photos to upload to a record

  • A plethora of options to export the data in Photo, Map, Spreadsheet, or Report form


  • We couldn’t find where to configure Mobile Assessments at first. Eventually found it hidden under Mapping Buttons in the Model Editor instead of having its own section

  • No documentation yet. If we hadn’t been familiar with Katapult Pro data structures, we would have relied heavily on customer support

  • Interface was a little confusing and we often found ourselves clicking on the wrong dropdown when trying to add new steps

  • Mobile workflow doesn’t allow flexibility for field workers. This was very evident when switching between collecting at the pole and collecting from across the street due to sun positioning

  • Overall it felt like too many taps, especially when adding equipment

  • Lots of back office clean up was required. 97% of poles had dual assessment_status attributes and at least 25% of photos were associated to the wrong node


ArcGIS Survey123 interface

Average Score: 7.7 Performance - 9 Controls - 7 Simplicity - 4 User Speed - 10 Visuals - 9 Compatibility - 7 Price: $2,300/year for 5 member team and 900 credits (1 Creator + 500 credits @ $500/year and 4 Field Workers @ $350/year and 400 credits @ $100/100 credits)


The ArcGIS software platform is definitely a full-stack, enterprise solution. At a bare minimum, we found that users would need ArcGIS Online to create the map, ArcGIS Survey123 Connect to build the form, and ArcGIS Collector in the field. We also spent some time looking at ArcGIS Workforce and how you can assign inspections to specific field workers and track their progress.

Because of the different tools, it does require a good deal of learning how to configure each to work together. We had to call customer support to get help linking the survey form to the map, and through a Zoom call, the support team helped get it up and running.

Once in the field, we weren't sure what would be the best way to collect the data, so we tried a couple different methods (editing in Collector, spawning a web app version of the form, using the Survey123 app) until finding the one that worked the best. The ArcGIS field survey was the fastest of the three. Back in the office, we made a couple configuration changes to the survey form that would have made it go even faster. All the data collected was already available on ArcGIS Online (except for the DSLR photos which had to be manually added) and were ready to be exported or put into a report.


  • Full enterprise solution with workforce management software included

  • Very detailed documentation and step-by-step tutorials

  • Customer support was easy to contact and quickly jumped on a Zoom meeting to walk through a solution to our issue

  • Had full control over building survey functionality and layout using spreadsheet editor in Survey123 Connect

  • Streamlined app integration led to quickest field survey (2 hours and 30 minutes)

  • Collector shows GPS accuracy on screen

  • Tapping near nodes that are close to each other brings up a list of those nodes for easy selection

  • Survey123 app list view shows direction and distance to each location to easily find the one nearest to you

  • Multi-app workflow (Collector and Survey123) allowed us to keep moving while data was uploading

  • A number of export and data visualization capabilities


  • Most complex and slowest configuration (A proficient user could set it all up in 1-2 hours)

  • Editing a node in Collector and in Survey123 causes a merge conflict and only the most recent set of data is saved

  • Taking photos using Collector prevents you from entering more data until the upload is finished

  • Node selection in Collector is difficult with the default icons

  • Collector map styles often took around 5-10 minutes before they would update

  • Collector maps aren’t very responsive to pinch zoom


Fulcrum interface

Average Score: 8.0 Performance - 6 Controls - 9 Simplicity - 10 User Speed - 8 Visuals - 9 Compatibility - 6 Price: $1,800/year for 5 member team with 100 GB of storage (5 users on Professional Plan @ $30/user/month annually)


From the start, it felt like Fulcrum would be the winner. We created an account and were in the field within a half hour. The mobile app worked like a charm.

The problem began when we returned to the office. When we opened the web app, none of our data was there. We realized you need to tell the mobile app to sync the data which took 1-2 hours due to all the photos. Then it took four attempts (about one hour each) over two days—with help from customer support between each attempt—to import our DSLR photos. Once we got the import to work, we discovered that the import had overwritten the photos uploaded from the phone. There is a way to upload from multiple sources, but it requires manually adding the photos to each individual record.

Building the report was as easy as building the data collection form.


  • Simple to configure and set up. In the field in 30 minutes!

  • What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get app editor with multiple pre-built templates

  • Good deal of basic how-to documentation

  • Follow up call from sales team to see how the trial was going

  • Field app layout made editing attributes easy in any order

  • Could take photos from the mobile device

  • Map pans as you select a node


  • Can only create a new location at your GPS location

  • Assessment status is at the top of the layout so you have to keep scrolling back up

  • Data is not automatically synced and you cannot work while the data is syncing. If multiple people are working on the same job, you can’t see if a node has been surveyed

  • Documentation did not go into specific details

  • Manual photo association using a spreadsheet

  • Photo uploads are only optimized for mobile (import is case sensitive and can only handle “.jpg” not “.JPG”)

  • Photo imports are only made to handle one source

  • Importing more photos from a spreadsheet overwrites the existing photos

Our Recommendations

Based on our findings, we would recommend the platforms below to the following teams:

  • Katapult Pro Mobile Assessments - great for a team looking to quickly scale up who will need future OSP capabilities such as make ready engineering and pole loading analysis

  • ArcGIS - good choice for an experienced or large team that needs workforce management included in the platform

  • Fulcrum - great fit for a new team trying to get into utility audits using a completely mobile-based workflow


At the end of our week of testing, both Fulcrum and ArcGIS out-performed the beta version of Katapult Pro Mobile Assessments. Instead of being discouraged, we used the report from testing staff to start improving the tool ahead of its upcoming launch. While there will be lots of small improvements to Mobile Assessments in the coming months, there were four major items we wanted to address immediately to improve our score.

  1. Improve the setup of Mobile Assessments in Katapult Pro Model Editor to make it closer to a WYSIWYG solution

  2. Allow users to switch between single panel and scrolling to decrease the time it takes for experienced fielders to complete an assessment

  3. Create new types of data inputs necessary for common industry challenges (attachment audits, pole inspections, etc.)

  4. Change auto-association and association logic to fix photo association and allow working through assessments in a flexible order

Here is our anticipated scoring when factoring in the above changes:

Projected scoring

Thanks for reading! We're working hard to incorporate feedback from our team to make sure the Mobile Assessments module is a terrific tool for our Katapult Pro clients across North America. Questions or comments? Shoot us an email at!

81 views0 comments
bottom of page