There was quite a bit of buzz last season with teams using Android and iPad tablets to do their scouting. Many teams have created their own apps specifically for scouting. When coming up with our scouting plan last season, we decided switching to a tablet-based scouting system would be a great improvement over our paper and spreadsheet system. However, after looking around on the market for an app that would suit our needs, we decided that creating our own was the best route.
So, without further ado I present to you the FRCKrawler Scouting System. FRCKrawler is intended to be used with around 6 or 7 Android tablets, one for each scout. No Internet connection is needed during the competition. Each tablet syncs to a “master” tablet via Bluetooth, which spits out a searchable summary or Excel spreadsheet of all the data collected. It also supports scouting in the pits and pictures. FRCKrawler is also designed to be both incredibly customizable, and incredibly easy to use for the scouts themselves. Teams are able to define their own metrics (disc score, auto score, driver skill, wheel type, etc.) to scout by and also choose how the data for each metric is entered. Because teams aren’t tied down to only tracking what metrics the programmer thought would be useful, the app is able to be reused from year to year, and teams can track whatever they think is important. FRCKrawler also offers a user interface that is easy for scouts to use. Rather than entering data with just the keyboard and text fields, data can be entered with buttons, sliders, drop-down menus, and check boxes. Text fields are still an option for more qualitative data. The data from metrics can also be added together. So, data such as the total points a robot scored can be calculated without the scouts having to do any of the calculations themselves. FRCKrawler also lets teams create and save rank-able lists of robots that they think might be important or noteworthy. This makes it easy to keep track of your first or second picks, or robots that have broken down. Lists can then be easily referred to when it comes time to talk strategy or select alliances. Data can also be saved from competition to competition, and year to year. The database can also be backed up to a desktop computer or another Android device. Accidents do happen.
With this system last year, our team was an alliance captain and able to pick the winning alliances at two regionals. It was very effective at getting information to the drive team before matches, quickly finding data at nightly scouting meetings, and helping our captain and scouting leader during alliance selection.
FRCKrawler is available on the Google Play Store:
Currently, there is no iPad version available.
It is advisable that teams download the app, play with it, and get it set up before a competition. It takes some time to set up the metrics, teams, and robots for a competition.