Methods are provided for using a programmable hand-held inspection system to direct an inspection process. Methods typically involve loading a survey template application software routine into the programmable hand-held inspection system where the survey template application software routine describes at least one aspect of the inspection process. Some embodiments involve wirelessly uploading at least a portion of the survey template application software routine. Generally an image representation of an area is provided on a display. The system may be used to guide an operator through at least one aspect of the inspection process or to perform steps in a survey. A location within the vicinity of the area may be identified using a global positioning system. A record may of the survey may be created.