Using a handheld computer to provide documentation for construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure

Trefor P. Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Handheld computers can be used to provide electronic reference manu- als of transportation infrastructure construction and maintenance information. With the addition of wireless modems, these devices are able to capture information from the World Wide Web and make it available at remote construction sites. Three prototype applications have been developed for a Palm VII handheld computer. One is a web clipping application that retrieves New Jersey Department of Transportation (New Jersey DOT) construction specifications from a website. Palm web clipping applications are written in hypertext markup language. A second application demonstrates how large text documents can be converted to electronic books for use on Palm devices. This application used iSilo software to incorporate New Jersey DOT specifications and construction procedures. The third application uses the FireViewer suite of programs to provide a prototype system of reference documents and educational materials related to highway maintenance activities. The FireViewer suite of programs allows a Palm device both to access web pages in real time and to download and save material from the web. The applications developed illustrate the potential for using handheld computers as electronic reference manuals and as a means of accessing the World Wide Web in the field. The limited capabilities of Palm devices to display graphics and the cost of transmitting data wirelessly indicate that simple web pages should be developed for use with handheld computers. As the devices become more powerful, more elaborate systems of documents and drawings can be constructed for use in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)314-321
Number of pages8
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1813
StatePublished - 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering


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