Getting Started with Spike and ProntoForms

 

This is a limited-release feature for ProntoForms for iOS 7.1: if you want to use this feature, please contact your ProntoForms account manager.

 
 

About

When paired with Spike by ikeGPS, ProntoForms allows you to quickly complete accurate estimates, work orders, or any other business process that involves collecting measurements on the job site.

This article will discuss what's needed to get started with ProntoForms and Spike. For more detailed information on Spike than is available in this article, please look at Spike's website: Spike by ikeGPS

 

What is Spike?

The Spike device is a laser rangefinder that attaches to your iPhone or iPad and pairs with the ProntoForms app via Bluetooth. Using Spike with ProntoForms allows you to capture area and length measurements of an object, such as a wall or building, from a photo. This means you can now measure without tape measures, ladders or bucket trucks for your estimates, work orders or reports. The photo with measurements is saved with your form, allowing you to include photo documentation with your forms.

Using the Spike device is required when taking a photo of the object you want to measure.

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Getting Started with the Spike Device

In order to use Spike's laser measurement app with ProntoForms, you must have a Spike device attached to your mobile device. The Spike device is a laser measurement unit that uses Bluetooth 4.0 to communicate with your Apple device and send the measured photos to the ProntoForms app.

There are two versions of Spike: Spike for smartphones, and Spike for tablets. Spike for smartphones attaches to your smartphone with a quick-release clamp, allowing you to easily attach and detach it. Spike for tablets attaches to your tablet with high-strength bonding tape. As Spike for tablets is permanently attached to your tablet case, you may wish to have two cases for your iPad: one with Spike attached, and the other for day-to-day use.

For more detailed information than is available in this article, please look at Spike's website: Spike by ikeGPS

Compatibility

When integrated with ProntoForms, Spike works with commercial Apple iOS smartphones and tablets. To view a list of recommended devices that provide the highest level of accuracy when used with Spike, visit the Spike Support Center.

Operating System (OS) requirements are:

  • Apple iOS devices must be running iOS 8.0 or later
  • Your device must also support BLUETOOTH 4.0 low energy technology

The Spike app is integrated with ProntoForms iOS version 7.1.

Buying a Spike Device

In order to use the Spike app combined with ProntoForms, you must purchase a Spike laser measurement device. ProntoForms does not sell Spike devices. Spike devices are available for ProntoForms subscribers through Spike's store.

For more information and special offers, look at the ProntoForms and Spike landing page.

Mounting the Spike Device

Once you have received your Spike device, you must securely mount it on your mobile device.

Mounting Your Spike: Tablets

  1. Mount your Spike to a tablet case, and not directly onto the tablet. We suggest a hard case with a flat back.
  2. Place the Spike device close to the camera, but ensure the Spike does not obstruct the camera or flash.
  3. On the back of the Spike, peel off the protective backing to expose the adhesive tape.
  4. Make sure the selected position is clean and press and hold the Spike device firmly to the case for approximately 60 seconds.

Mounting Your Spike: Smartphones

  1. Press on the clamp release button. The clamps will fully extend.
  2. Find the best location for your Spike on the back of your smartphone. It is recommended to place Spike as close as possible to the camera without obstructing the camera or flash. Mark or note where you have placed your Spike device so you can reattach it in the same location.
  3. Once you have found the best location for your Spike, use your fingers to squeeze the clamps until they lock tightly around the edges of your smartphone.

For more information on Mounting Your Spike, refer to the Spike User Manual.

Charging your Spike Device

Once your Spike device is mounted, plug the USB cable into the Spike device and a USB charger plugged into a wall socket. The flashing green LED will become solid once charged.

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Getting Started with the Spike App

The Spike device works in tandem with your mobile device, Spike app, and ProntoForms to provide you with accurate laser measurements.  

Downloading the App

  1. Download the iOS Spike app here: 
  2. Enable Bluetooth on your mobile device.
  3. Power on the Spike device by pressing the button on the bottom.
  4. In the Spike app, select Tap to Connect Device.
  5. Select your Spike unit name from the menu. When connected, the flashing blue LED will become solid blue.

Alignment and Calibration

As placement of the Spike device on the mobile device varies depending on the location of your mobile device's camera, you must align the Spike laser with your device. After a smartphone or tablet has been calibrated with Spike, it does not need to be calibrated again. If Spike is removed from the device, ensure that it is returned to the same location as when it was calibrated. 

To calibrate the Spike device, follow these instructions:

  1. In the Spike app, go to Settings and select Align Laser.
  2. Rest your device on a flat, hard surface. Hold your device vertically and aim it at two objects that are at different distances, such as an open doorframe. Ensure that the nearest object has a vertical edge.
  3. Slowly move your device sideways and check that the distance measurement changes when the crosshair in the center of the screen tracks off of the vertical edge, and then back on.
  4. If the measurement changes when the crosshair moves on and off the vertical edge, your laser is correctly aligned. If it does not, tap on the left and right blue arrows to adjust the laser.
  5. Turn your device to landscape mode and aim at the same two objects. Repeat steps 3 & 4 to align the laser.

 

Note: This video is provided as a convenience. ProntoForms does not control the external linked sites, and is not responsible for the accuracy or content of external linked sites.

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Adding Spike Measurement to a Form

ProntoForms supports use of Spike measurement with Camera and Sketch Pad questions. Setting up these questions requires your ProntoForms administrator to set up these questions in the form builder.

Add Spike to a Camera Control

This type of question will attach a flattened, Spike-measured image to the form, and does not allow re-measurement. To add Spike images to ProntoForms using the Camera control, follow these instructions:

  1. Navigate to the desired form and select Edit.
  2. Add a new question to the appropriate page and select Attachment > Image > Camera
  3. Mouseover the question and select Edit Properties.
  4. Under the Camera Properties tab:
    • Number of Attachments: Set the maximum number of attachments. When choosing the maximum number of attachments, keep in mind that the default submitted form size limit is 2MB. Adjust this setting in the Form Properties tab.
    • Spike laser measurement capture: When selected in the form builder, this option will open the Spike app on the user's device when selecting this question. Once the user has finished working in the Spike app, the flattened photo will be attached to the form.
  5. Once you have set up the question, select OK from the bottom of the menu to save your configuration.

For more details on the options available for the Camera control, refer to our Camera control documentation.

Add Spike to a Sketch Pad Control

This type of question will attach a flattened, Spike-measured image to the form and allow the user to draw upon that flattened image using the ProntoForms sketch capability. It does not allow re-measurement of the image. To add Spike images to ProntoForms using the Sketch Pad control, follow these instructions:

  1. Navigate to the desired form and select Edit.
  2. Add a new question to the appropriate page and select AttachmentImage Sketch Pad.
  3. Mouseover the question and select Edit Properties.
  4. Under the Sketch Pad Properties tab:
    • Number of Attachments: Set the maximum number of attachments. When choosing the maximum number of attachments, keep in mind that the default submitted form size limit is 2MB. Adjust this setting in the Form Properties tab.
    • Spike laser measurement capture: When selected in the form builder, this option will open the Spike app on the user's device when selecting this question. Once the user has finished working in the Spike app, the flattened photo will be attached to the form. The user will then be allowed to sketch upon the measured image.
  5. Once you have set up the question, select OK from the bottom of the menu to save your configuration

For more details on the options available for the Sketch Pad control, refer to our Sketch Pad documentation.

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Using the Spike App

This section will discuss how to use the Spike app itself. For more detailed information on using the Spike app, please look at the Spike User Manual.

These questions will show up on your form in the same format as a standard camera question. To answer a Spike-enabled question, follow these steps:

Step 1: In the ProntoForms App

  1. Ensure that the Spike measurement device attached to your mobile device is powered on. 
  2. Tap the question in the ProntoForms app. This will take you to the Spike app.

Step 2: In the Spike App

  1. When in the Spike app, ensure that the Spike device is powered on and connected to your mobile device. 
  2. Aim the Spike crosshairs at the object to be measured, ensuring that the crosshairs are on the target. The object must be on the same surface or plane that you are aiming the crosshairs at. Ensure the crosshairs are on a solid surface and not a window or hole.
  3. Take a photo of the object to be measured.
  4. Before you can measure an object, you must set the surface's perspective by outlining a large rectangle on it. This identifies and corrects the horizontal and vertical angle from which the photo was taken. Your target must be, or contain, a rectangular shape to align the object properly.
    Once you have identified the largest rectangular object in your photograph, drag the corners of the yellow box to outline the object. If necessary, you may pinch and zoom the photo to better view the object.


  5. Select Next at the top of the screen to measure the area. Tap and drag to create an area rectangle. Use the zoom window to help you align the anchors to the corners of your object. You can add more anchors by selecting the + button and then tapping anywhere on a line. You may delete anchors by selecting it, then tapping on the - button.
  6. To measure lengths, select Length at the top of the screen. Select the + button and tap on the screen to draw a length. You can add more lengths by selecting the + button and then tapping and dragging on the screen. You can delete lengths by selecting them, then selecting the - button.
  7. Tap on Save at the top right of the screen. This will return you to the ProntoForms app and attach the image to the form you are working on.
    Note: Once an object has been measured and the flattened image attached to the ProntoForms form, it cannot be re-measured through the ProntoForms app. 
  8. Repeat these steps until you have measured all required items. The images will be displayed in thumbnails attached to the question.
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