Fulcrum Live at FOSS4G 2017

Aug 31, 2017 | Disaster, Do Some Good, FOSS4G, Fulcrum

While I was at FOSS4G 2017 this happened on the Tuesday before the Conference.

Yes – A one day conference on Fulcrum.

Fulcrum is one of those software programs I enjoy. It’s not open source but it has a lot of open source DNA built into it and it just works. NRGS is a business partner with them.  Customers can run it on Android or iOS. Your data gets pushed into the cloud. It works offline. It works with bluetooth GPS units.

I missed the first half of the conference. I was teaching a class for FOSS4G on using QGIS and Fulcrum as one workflow (Planning is for dullards). Not my best class – but I think with a few more edits it will blend in well with the QGIS Class I teach occasionally. I arrived at 12 and had a chance to watch as a number of people got up to discuss how Fulcrum is used in their organizations.

People discussed using Fulcrum with utility companies, environmental companies, engineering companies…..companies even my size using Fulcrum for about everything. Two days before the conference I used it to log equipment being used by the FOSS4G Conference. One company is using it to log time sheets in the Yukon. One group is using it to clear land mines.

For me personally I’m always curious how people are using Fulcrum. I know how I use it. Am I using it as well as I can? There is no right or wrong answer. You can do whatever you need to do with it as long as it’s providing what you need.

Three things I remember walking out of this conference:

  • Fulcrum has had 75% growth every year for the last three years. Two years ago I said “Fulcrum” and people would go “Huh?”. As of late I say Fulcrum and people go “yeah I’ve tried it or <fill in the blank> is using it”.
  • Fulcrum Desktop – I can now sync my account to a local postgis/spatialite database. Which is now giving me a few more “things” I can do to play with the data.
  • It’s flexible enough to allow you to hang yourself. You can collect all types of data to the point you should ask yourself “Do I need to collect this?”. I always lean more into “No” but sometimes complicated is needed. One person in my QGIS/Fulcrum class created a form that no doubt would stretch about 3 or 4 feet long if printed. All used on an Ipad. they gave statistics at the end and it seems like one application had well over 1000 photographs attached to it for one point. I may have that wrong but I don’t think I do.

I had a chance to talk about one of groups using Fulcrum Community: a local non profit collecting stream quality data. Not as exciting as oil drilling or utility location – but it’s important.


It’s been two weeks since the conference and I’ve been meaning to hit publish and life keeps getting in the way. I’m glad it did as an interesting thing happened called Hurricane Harvey:

The map you see is being generated out of Fulcrum Community. Spatial Networks stepped up and offered this to aid the recovery effort. People are crowdsourcing about everything you can think of and more. Fulcrumis making it’s way into first responders hands and people about to do damage assessment. Got a disaster bearing down on you? Worried about Data collection. Remember the good old days of paper forms?

Anyway, I hope this conference happens again. With as much growth as Fulcrumis having I can’t imagine it won’t. Something else to mark on your calendar and attend.

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