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I have just started working with a company on a variety of different IT issues, mostly Sharepoint 2010. They are going to contract a Sharepoint developer to help with a problem they have been having but I would like to see if anyone had some pointers with this.

The situation is that we have a bunch of printers/copiers/etc entered as items in a list, and each piece of equipment has a usage meter. We track the meters for billing purposes. We would like to be able to track the meter's history of values for each piece of equipment. The meter reads aren't at regular intervals; they occur at varying frequencies. The way we currently track the meters is that we either have someone call the company and get meter reads and then enter them into an Excel spreadsheet, or we have our technicians enter the meter read into a service call ticket when they service or check up on a machine (the service calls are on a separate list).

Ideally we would like to be able to pull up a piece of equipment and see the entire history of meter reads, or choose a time period and see all meter reads on all equipment (or one client's equipment) over that time period, either through list views or through reports.

One suggestion someone had was that we could have a list for each item in the equipment list showing the meter reads, but this seems like way too many lists. Any help would be appreciated.

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You could go a few different ways with this:

1) Access Services - SharePoint 2010 and 2013 have Access database services where you can create an Access database that gets published to SharePoint and is accessed via the web interface. This would give you a basic relational database that you can easily create forms, etc., for that power users can create and modify.

2) Use lists with lookup columns - You could have one list for your list of equipment and another list for entering usage details. In the usage details, you use a lookup column to select the equipment the entry is for. Then in a web part page, you could do connected web parts so that in web part 1 you select the equipment and then it filters web part 2 to only show the entries for that item.

3) You could create a database for this in SQL and then expose it to SharePoint functionality via the Business Data Catalog.

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We have an equipment list already. There is a column for equipment location and then for equipment ID. When I create a usage details list I would like to be able to first pick the location and then have the ID dropdown only show the equipment at that location. The problem is, when I use a lookup on the location, it shows each location multiple times, corresponding to how many machines are at each location. For instance, if we have 5 machines in a location in LA, it will show LA five times. I must be selecting the wrong way to do a lookup. I have Infopath as well. –  Cameron Brown Mar 1 '13 at 19:36
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