During the emergency caused by Hurricane María in Puerto Rico in 2017, Chilean startup DataScope offered the municipality of Mayagüez its digital platform that uses cell phones to collect data from the population in need of help.
DataScope is now making it available to municipalities affected by the earthquake in southwest Puerto Rico and to nonprofit organizations that are assisting the victims of the earthquake and its aftershocks.
“After Hurricane María, we were contacted by the municipality of Mayagüez asking for help with their data collection since they saw online that we offered that service,” said Carlos Carvajal, Director of DataScope.
“In DataScope, although we mostly assist companies to eliminate paper by digitizing their forms and processes, we also have this tool that is very useful for collecting data in emergency situations where there is no internet or computers when electricity fails,” he said.
“We provide them with the system to carry out their inspections, reports, surveys and data collection from the cell phone, which is more accessible and efficient,” he said.
Two of DataScope’s co-founders, Carvajal and Antonio Grass, who is the company’s director of technology, are currently in Puerto Rico participating in the Parallel 18 business accelerator program.
Since they are on the island, they said they wanted to collaborate during this emergency, as they are familiar with earthquakes, which are frequent in their native Chile.
Company staff are contacting Puerto Rican municipalities and non-governmental organizations to offer them the service and guide them on how to use it. They are already beginning to receive some applications in Puerto Rico, they said.
“DataScope can offer government institutions, companies and NGOs the ability to collect information through surveys, censuses with the ability to see the damage structures have, with photos stamped with the date they were taken and their geographical location, make checklists, use bar codes,” Grass said.
“All can be done over the phone and make them available instantly to all who are connected,” he added.
Carvajal added that “we have seen that the Red Cross and other organizations are doing paper surveys, which will then have to be transferred to computers, which takes time and that delays the flow of information and the request for help.”
In the case of incident reporting with photos, a photo gallery and inspection details can be enabled when the picture is taken.
“That helps a lot to the credibility of what is reported. For school inspection it can be very useful,” Grass said.
The app can be downloaded and after creating an account, the information can be uploaded as well as the users.
DataScope was created four years ago in Chile by the two entrepreneurs, who are engineers and computer experts. They were looking for a more efficient, sustainable, and economical alternative to collect information. The company, which started with the support of Start-Up Chile, grew internationally.