City of Buffalo Vacant Lot App

Field tested, data collected

A mobile land survey system


In partnership with the EPA, Cypress North created a mobile scientific data collection tool for The Buffalo Sewer Authority to analyze vacant lots for soil conditions, storm water run-off, and more.

Easy to follow instructions
A student with a soil core sample
Integrated GPS and Google Maps

How We Solved It

Pioneering a process for the entire U.S.

As a joint project of the US EPA and Buffalo Sewer Authority, Cypress North worked together with the University of Buffalo to develop a technical solution for vacant lot assessment.

Cypress North worked with the client to build a wizard style application for use on cellular data networks and Android tablets/phones to collect information in the field.

The City of Buffalo has over 6,000 vacant lots in need of storm water management and inspection. It was imperative that they had a tool which could assist and improve the process. In addition, the software needed to be guided so that students and volunteers could complete the task without extensive training. The system also needed to be able to adapt to poor data connections as well as provide a web interface to monitor the submitted site reviews. Cypress North programmed solutions for all of these needs and is helping to pioneer this process for future cities around the country.

In addition to the Android native mobile app, Cypress North developed a web application, administration portal, database, and the API required to power the mobile devices.

App Capabilities

  • 1
    Complete a site assessment survey with conditional questions
  • 2
    Search for and view vacant lots based on address, SBL, or GPS proximity
  • 3
    View visual aides to identify key items such as plant life or soil type
  • 4
    Capture photos to be uploaded along with the site review
  • 5
    Save a survey on the device for submission when a data signal is present
  • 6
    Jump to a field guide / protocol for step by step instructions
  • 7
    Pull precipitation data from BSA weather stations
  • 8
    Take guided, time-based measurements via app prompts
  • 9
    Manage and export data via web application and API

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