A PC based computer system has been designed and implemented in which field personnel acquire oil and gas production data using handheld terminals. This data is uploaded to PC's for field management; it is then transferred to PC's at the area office for production reporting. From the area office data is uploaded to a mainframe computer for accounting purposes. The flexibility of this comprehensive data collection system put a large burden on the programming staff to implement both the handheld software and the PC database system. Memory constraints on both platforms were partly met through the sophisticated implementation of program overlays. The configurational nature of the software posed a challenge in testing the myriad of data flow paths. Although much time and effort was spent testing the software during development, many errors were only found when it was installed in the field. Aside from the size of the programs, a major difference between this field data collection application and other similar applications is that the same PC database system runs both at the field and the area level. Daily changes to the field databases are uploaded via modem to the area database. If changes are made to the area databases, these are downloaded to the appropriate field during the daily call. Verifying that all changes are passed up and down without destroying the integrity of the databases has been a significant task. With the challenges of these design considerations resolved, the system as implemented reduces multiple data entries and the time required to generate reports for the eight fields and four area offices where it is currently implemented.

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