In v2.14, the capability has been added to DIPPlus to enable it to receive scanned barcodes and associate them with blastholes. The functionality is accessible from the dipping data entry screen and consequently is available to all users, regardless of license type.
Summary of Features
Here are the main features of DIPPlus's barcode scanning capability. More details are provided below.
- Only external wired (USB) scanners are supported at present. Built-in or wireless (Bluetooth) scanners are not supported.
- Scanning has been integrated into DIPPlus's dipping functionality, so you access it via the dipping view of the blast.
- When you scan a barcode, it will be linked to the currently selected blasthole.
- You can associate up to nine barcodes with each blasthole. This number can be reduced if necessary by changing a software option.
- Each barcode is assigned to a numbered scan slot within the blasthole. Each slot has a timestamp and optional text comment associated with it.
- The device name of the DIPPlus unit is also stored in the slot whenever a barcode is scanned, so you can see which device was used for the scanning.
- You can define default slot comments which will be applied to a slot automatically if you do not enter as a comment manually.
- You can associate a single text comment with the scanned data as a whole. This is referred to as the scan comment to distinguish it from the slot comments and the existing hole comment field associated with the dipping data.
- Each time you scan a barcode, DIPPlus with automatically advance the slot number. This allows you to scan several barcodes in sequence without interacting with DIPPlus, and they will be assigned to consecutive slots in the same blasthole.
- If you don't want the barcodes to be assigned to consecutive slot numbers, you can define a custom scan sequence instead. For example, you may want to scan 3 barcodes per hole but store them in slot numbers 2, 5 and 8.
- The scanned barcodes and comments can be exported as a CSV file which is saved on the device. You must copy this file off the device manually if you want to open it in another application, such as Excel.
- At present, SHOTPlus cannot import the CSV file containing the scanned data.
- You can skip holes during scanning, and optionally assign a default scan comment to be applied to skipped holes.
- You can type barcode data usingthe on-screen keyboard in cases where a barcode has been damaged and will not scan.
- A colour scheme on the blast plan can be used to visualise the scan state of the blastholes.
- You must use an external scanner which connects via USB and supports keyboard emulation. This is the default setting for most external scanners because it is the simplest mechanism for software to support. The scanner sends the scanned data to the host device exactly as if it had been typed on a keyboard.
- You must run DIPPlus on a Windows Mobile device that can act as a USB host. The Juniper Mesa Notepad is one such device.
It is recommended that you use a scanner that is rugged enough for on-bench use, such as the Symbol DS3508 or LS2208. Simply connect the scanner cable to the USB host port on the DIPPlus unit. The scanner will be powered by the USB port's 5V DC supply.
- DIPPlus does not currently support the use of scanners that are built into or integrate directly with the host device. This rules out the use of the built-in scanner in the Unitronic Scanner 125 and the Juniper Mesa scanning expansion pack, for example.
- DIPPlus does not currently support the use of wireless scanner which connect to the host device via Bluetooth.
Some options can be changed in DIPPlus to configure it for scanning.
Access to the scanning functionality via the dipping data entry screen. You can tell DIPPlus to show this page by default when the data entry screen is displayed. This eliminates the need to swipe to the scanning page each time you move to a new hole.
To do this, go to Dipping Options and set the default input box to Scanning.
Select Scanning Options to configure DIPPlus's scanning settings.
On the Preferences tab you can specify the scan comment to be applied when a hole is skipped, and whether this comment should be removed if a skipped hole is later scanned.
The Sequences tab lets you set the maximum number of barcodes associated with each blasthole (the default is 9) and the scan sequences that define the slot numbers to which successive barcodes are assigned during scanning.
If you are scanning more than one barcode per hole, you have the choice of using the default scan sequence (all slot numbers in order) or a custom scan sequence. The default sequence is always the first one in the list.
A custom scan sequence lets you scan successive barcodes into non-consecutive slot numbers. See the Scanning Options page for information on defining custom scan sequences.
The Comments tab lets you define default comments for some or all of the scan slots. A slot's default comment will be stored in the slot when you scan a barcode if you do not enter a slot comment manually.
The Scanning Swipe Page
To scan a barode and assign it to a blasthole, you can use the controls on the scanning swipe page (page 4) on the data entry screen.
When the scanning page is displayed, some of the fields on the data entry screen change.
- The hole status at the top of the screen will say either SCANNED or NOT SCANNED, depending on whether the hole contains any scanned slots.
- The progress bar will indicate the number of scanned holes in the blast (as a percentage of the number of drilled holes).
- The +/- buttons will be disabled as they are not used during the scanning.
- The comment box at the top of the screen will display the scan comment instead of the hole comment.
The scan comment is a text comment which is associated with the blasthole's scanning data. It is stored separately from the hole comment, which you enter on the other swipe pates, but the drop-down list of predefined comments is the same as the one used for the hole comments.
You can view and delete entries from the history of scan comments via the Dipping Log, just like you can with hole comments (or any other dipping measurement). To access the Dipping Log, tap the Log button.
The scan sequence is the order in which successive barcodes are assigned to scan slots within the blasthole. The drop-down list contains the default sequence (first in the list) and any custom sequences that you have defined under Scanning Options. The default sequence consists of all scan slots in order, from 1 to the maximum number of barcodes per hole (which is also set under Scanning Options).
The selected item in the drop-down list always matches the sequence you have ticked on the Scanning Options screen, and vie versa. In other words, you can choose your scanning sequence on either screen and your choice will be reflected on the other.
The text caption below the scan sequence box tells you which of this blasthole's scan slots have been scanned so far. If one or more slots have been scanned then the Edit button will be enabled. This lets you view or delete the scanned data, or move the contents of one slot to another. To begin scanning barcodes into this blasthole, tap the Scan button.
The Scanning Dialog
When you tap the Scan button, the scanning dialog is displayed. This dialog performs a number of functions:
- It receives the barcode data when you trigger the external scanner, and saves it in the current scan slot.
- It advances the slot number automatically through the scan sequence, each time you scan a barcode.
- It allows you to enter a text comment and save it in the current slow. (This is called the slot comment, to distinguish it from the scan comment which you set on the scanning swipe page.)
- It allows you to change the slot number manually, if you need to go back and re-scan a slot or change its slot comment.
- It allows you to move forward or backward along the dipping path, or to jump to any hole on the path, without leaving the dialog.
- It allows you to skip the current hole, or to enter a barcode manually by using the on-screen keyboard.
The screenshot below shows the scanning dialog before any scanning has taken place (for the selected hole).
The status banner at the top of the scanning dialog indicates whether DIPPlus is ready to receive a barcode from the external scanner.
If the status is green and says READY TO SCAN then you can use the scanner to scan a barcode.
If the status is red and says DO NOT SCAN then you should not attempt to scan a barcode, because DIPPlus is not ready to receive the data. If you do scan when DIPPlus is not ready, the data in the barcode may not be received correctly (or at all).
Important: Always wait until the status is green before scanning a barcode.
Scanning a Barcode
When barcode data is received from the external scanner, DIPPlus does several things:
- It changes the scan status momentarily to DO NOT SCAN while subsequent operations are performed.
- It saves the received data in the selected scan slow, along with any slot comment that you have set. If you have not set a slot comment then the slot's default commend will be saved if it has one.
- It updates the 'Last scan' field on the scanning dialog. This shows the slot number, barcode and timestamp of the most recent scan event for this blasthole.
- It changes the status back to READY TO SCAN.
Because the slot number advances automatically after each scan, you can scan multiple barcodes against the same blasthole without needing to interact with the scanning dialog. Successive barcodes are placed into the slot numbers defined by the scan sequence.
Things to Note About Scanning Barcodes
- DIPPlus will not automatically move to the next hole on the dipping bath when you reach the end of the scan sequence. You must tap the 'next hole' button yourself. (The hole ID of the next hole is shown on the button itself, and similarly on the 'previous hole' button.)
- Each scanned barcode must be unique within the blast. You cannot scan a barcode that has already been scanned elsewhere.
- If you scan a different barcode into a slot that has already been scanned, DIPPlus will ask you if you want to overwrite the existing barcode with the new one.
- If you scan a barcode into the wrong slot, you will need to close the scanning dialog and hen tap the Edit button to go to the Edit Barcodes screen. This lets you move the contents of one slot into another.
If you with to enter a slot comment for a slot, it is recommended that you do this before you scan a barcode into the slot.
If you scan the barcode first, then scan slot will advance to the next one in the sequence and you will need to change the slot number back in order to edit the comment for the slot you just scanned. Then you will need to change the slot number forward again before continuing with scanning.
When you tap the Comment button on the scanning dialog, you will be prompted to enter or choose a slot comment.
Things to note about slot comments:
- The drop-down list of slot comments is the same as the one that is used by the hole comment and scan comment on the data entry.
- While entering a slot comment, the scan status changes to DO NOT SCAN. Don't scan a barcode while the comment dialog is visible, otherwise the barcode will appear in the comment box! (This is because the external scanner behaves like a keyboard.)
- The Clear button simply clears the text from the comment box. It doesn't delete any existing comment from the slot, and it doesn't clear the drop-down list.
- After entering a comment into an unscanned slot, you must scan a barcode into the slot if you want to keep the comment. If you attempt to move to a different hole or slot without scanning, you will be warned that the slot's comment has changed. In other words, a slot cah contain a comment and a barcode, or a barcode only, but it cannot contain a comment only.
- You can always go back and set or edit the slot comment for a slot you have already scanned.
- If you have assigned a default comment to a slot number (under Scanning Options) then the default comment will saved in the slot if you do not provide a slot comment or if you have deleted the slot's existing comment.
Deleting or Moving Barcodes
The Edit button on the scanning swipe page will be enabled if the hole contains one or more scanned slots. This button shows the Edit Barcodes screen, which contains a table similar to the Dipping Log.
Each row in the table contains:
- A checkbox for choosing the slots to delete
- The slot number
- The barcode (and comment, if any) in that slot.
Unscanned slots are not shown in the table. To delete one or more barcodes and their comments, tick the box next to each slot that you want to delete and then tap the trashcan icon on the toolbar.
To move a barcode and its comment into an empty slot, hold down on the row and choose the destination slot number from the popup menu. If there are no empty slots, no popup menu will appear.
Note: All scanning data in the blasthole is deleted if you reset the hole's dipping data.
You can see your scanning progress on both the graphical and tabular blast views.
On the graphical view, use the Scanning colour scheme to visualise the scan state of each hole in the blast.
On the tabular view (reached via Menu / View / Table View), select the Scanned Slots filter from the drop-down list at the top of the screen.
This causes scanned holes to be shown at the top of the table in hole label order, along with the slot numbers (not the number of slots!) that have been scanned in each hole.
There is also a Scan Comments filter which shows holes that have had scan comments assigned to them, and a Skipped Holes filter which shows holes that were skipped during scanning.
Exporting Scanned Data
To export the scanned data as a CSV file, you must first close the scanning dialog, data entry screen and blast view screen, but do not close the blast itself.
Then tap on Menu / File / Export as CSV / Scanning Data.
The data will be saved in the same folder as the blast, in a file whose name is of the form [blast name]_Scanning.csv. If this file already exists, you will be asked if you want to overwrite it.
You must copy this file off the device manually if you want to open it in another application (e.g. Excel).
Note: SHOTPlus cannot import this CSV file.
The CSV file consists of one header line that contains the column names, followed by one line of data for each blasthole in the blast (regardless of whether the hole contains any barcodes or not).
Each data line contains:
- Hole label, design depth, and XYZ coordinates
- The scan comment associated with the blasthole, an its timestamp
- The device name of the DIPPlus unit that skipped the hole (if the hole was skipped)
- Barcode, slot comment, slot timestamp, and the device name of the DIPPlus unit that scanned the slot. (These four columns are repeated for each slot, up to the maximum number of barcodes per hole.
The fields in the CSV file are defined as follows: