Today's blog post is brought to you by Angelo Zanola, Zanola's lead researcher.
As I was preparing for the MarketGraphics® audit of the St. Louis area, my mind brought me back to 2006, when I started working on audits with Zanola Company. By now, the checklist is routine - get the car checked out, schedule the drive order, and download all the materials from the MarketGraphics® website.
Back in 2006, my preparations included waiting for a massive delivery from MarketGraphics® headquarters in Nashville, which included boxes of folded maps and blank field sheets. While out driving, we would take maps, forms, and binders of hand-drawn plats copied from courthouse records. As we drove, we took our notes with red pen to make them easy to read. We'd find our way from site to site with Wunnenberg's street guides and a simple handheld Garmin GPS.
Each county had a separate map, street guide, book of sketched plats, and stacks of field sheets. Papers would have to be carried into the courthouses in a plastic file organizer. When the drive was over, all the completed forms had to be hand-checked, copied, and mailed (30 pounds of paper!) back to Nashville. Once in Nashville, the MarketGraphics® would check our red-penned data and enter them into the system.
Now, we use Microsoft Access to enter our data at the same time we audit the subdivisions. We download our databases of field sheets at the beginning of the drive and re-upload once we have checked them all. We use Microsoft Mappoint for our mapping and navigation. All we need for the drive now is a laptop, car adapter, USB GPS receiver, and a notepad. It is a far more efficient and simpler system.
I do miss the red pens, though.
By Angelo Zanola