On the range but always in touch
TWEED Shire Council says its nine rangers will be spending more time on the road and less time doing paperwork back at the office following the introduction of an innovative mobile field-computer system. The rangers have begun using specialised toughened laptops mounted in their four-wheel-drive vehicles to immediately enter and access data in the field, saving up to three hours a day per ranger. The system allows rangers access to all the programs they would use back in the office, as well as being able to stay fully connected by phone, email and internet. Council’s Regulatory Services Co-ordinator Paul Brouwer yesterday said rangers could access various vehicle information searches, the Companion Animals Register, a computer mapping system and other computer programs to help in their work. “They also have instant access via the web to all relevant legislation, enabling a more efficient response to complaints,” Mr Brouwer said. “These complaints could %include overgrown blocks, illegal activities in parks and reserves, abandoned vehicles, dogs barking and roaming, beach patrols, illegal dumping and parking patrols.” “The rangers are really starting to grasp the new system with both hands and enjoy the new working style – out in the field, rather than in the office,” Mr Brouwer said. Benefits of the mobility system include an increase in productivity and a greater presence in the field as well the added bonus of freeing up office space at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre. Council’s Director of Technology and Corporate Services Troy Green said the aim was to modernise the workforce and reduce costs to allow maximum presence in the field while still complying with statutory and record-keeping requirements.