Category Archives: Architecture, Engineering and Construction

Transport Infrastructure Ireland

Driving efficiency improvements in national road surveys

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) has deployed a mobile ArcGIS solution to help it automate, standardise and accelerate its annual survey to assess the skid resistance of national roads throughout Ireland. It can now plan and undertake road surface inspections with 20% fewer people, while collecting better data to inform highway improvement programmes.

Mobile inspectors find inspection sites more quickly and collect data more efficiently in the field

Office-based teams don’t waste time printing maps, creating forms, uploading data and filing information

Senior managers monitor and manage progress with real-time insight into the status of surveys

The Challenge

The national road network in Ireland is around 5,300 km long, incorporating multilane motorways and rural single carriageways. Every year, Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) is required to undertake detailed inspections of around 1,000 locations nationwide that have been identified as potentially posing an increased risk of skidding in the future. While none of the inspection sites present an immediate threat to safety for the general public, TII has to complete its survey within four months, so that recommendations can be acted upon as part of proactive road maintenance activities.

Known as the HD28 survey, the skidding risk assessment used to be a very manual process, demanding a large amount of staff time. Inspectors would be given print-outs showing maps of the locations of inspection sites and would collect road observations and data on paper forms. Typically, they had a bundle of around 40-50 sheets of paper for a week’s work and wasted lots of time in the field trying to find inspection sites, as well as grappling with paper in wet and windy weather. Many days of effort were also required in the office to plan inspections, print maps, report on the survey’s progress, enter the collected data into central systems and file away the paper forms.

“ The mobile survey app and reporting dashboard were created and deployed in just one day by the TII in-house team, with no need for consultancy support

Brendan Kennedy – GIS Manager, Transport Infrastructure Ireland

The Solution

TII completely transformed its paper-driven HD28 survey process using solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform. Using Collector for ArcGIS, the organisation created a mobile app enabling inspectors to see the precise locations of inspection sites on digital maps, collect data in the field using drop-down boxes and upload it directly to Esri’s ArcGIS Online. Critically, the solution works in online and offline modes, so it can be used in rural areas where there is no mobile coverage. TII also used Esri’s Operations Dashboard for ArcGIS to create a live reporting interface for management at TII to monitor the progress of surveys.

Remarkably, TII was able to create this entire solution incredibly quickly, due to the “ease-of-use and flexibility of ArcGIS,” according to Brendan Kennedy, GIS Manager at TII. “The mobile survey app and reporting dashboard were created and deployed in just one day by the TII in-house team, with no need for consultancy support,” he says.

A key advantage of the ArcGIS-based solution is that the app can be used by employees on their own devices, including mobile phones not owned by TII. Users simply download the app and log in with a secure user name and password. “We didn’t have to purchase and deploy tablets or make any other hardware investments, which kept the cost down,” says Kennedy. “We can also flexibly introduce more people to the survey team from our regional offices, when necessary, to help us meet targets.”

 

 

“ Due to staff changes, we have around 20% fewer personnel and yet can still complete the HD28 survey programme within the required timeframe

Tom Casey – Head of Pavements, Construction Materials & Innovation, Transport Infrastructure Ireland

The Benefits

Efficiencies improved by 20%
As employees no longer have to manually plan their surveys and transfer their survey findings from paper to electronic systems, individual efficiencies have increased by around 10-20%. Indeed, TII estimates that six employees each save one month per year as they do not have to print, file, upload and manage hard copy forms and maps. “Due to staff changes, we have around 20% fewer personnel and yet can still complete the HD28 survey programme within the required timeframe,” says Tom Casey, Head of Pavements, Construction Materials & Innovation at TII.

Greater speed and flexibility in the field
Using the ArcGIS mobile app, inspectors waste less time trying to find sites and can complete nearly twice as many inspections in a typical day. “When the process was paper based, I would get through around 7 to 8 inspections per day; with the app I usually do around 15 inspections per day,” estimates Stephen Smyth, Senior Manager for the Pavement Asset Programme. As all the data inspectors need is always with them, on their phones, they can carry out surveys on a more flexible, impromptu basis, at short notice, when they are already in the area, without having to return to the office to collect the necessary paperwork, which significantly improves their efficiency.

Real-time oversight of survey programme
Previously, TII employees had to develop weekly reports on the status of the survey for senior managers. Now, however, real-time information is available on demand, online, allowing managers to monitor and manage the survey process more effectively. “We can identify regions where perhaps an additional inspector is needed to complete a job list and better allocate resources around the country to ensure that the survey is completed as quickly as possible,” Kennedy explains.

Better decisions about road maintenance
The GIS-driven process improves the accuracy and consistency of the survey data collected, which in turn helps TII to make better informed decisions about interventions and restorative roadworks. The organisation can incorporate skid resistance improvement works into other planned road improvement programmes in the same area, reducing the cost of interventions, minimising disruption for road users and maintaining the safety of roads for years to come.

 

 

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Land Use Consultants

Meeting urgent demand for new homes in the UK

LUC, a multi-disciplinary consultancy, is using Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help local authorities respond more effectively to the critical shortage of housing in the UK. The consultancy’s use of advanced geospatial analysis enables councils to identify suitable development land for new houses far more quickly and meet Government targets for new homes.

LUC’s GIS team reduces site assessment from 7 days to 2-3 hours, using automation

Robust and consistent evidence generated from the analysis of 150+ datasets

Better decisions about sustainable future development based on in-depth criteria assessment

The Challenge

In the UK, there is currently a significant shortage of homes, contributing to rising house prices, high rental costs and even, in rare cases, homelessness. In response, the Government has committed to a range of reforms to increase the supply of new housing. As it points out in its February 2017 white paper ‘Fixing our broken housing market’, there is an urgent need to plan for “the right homes, in the right places” and, critically, “build homes faster.”

Local planning authorities have a pivotal role to play in driving the success of this Government policy. They are required to produce a Local Plan that sets a vision and framework for the future development of the area, including identifying areas suitable for housing developments and making sufficient land available to meet ambitious targets for new homes. In what is a highly complex process, they have to evaluate thousands of parcels of land throughout their administrative areas, taking into account dozens of factors ranging from flood risk and agricultural value to environmental protection and local services such as schools and transport. They also need to consider data from neighbouring local authorities and partners, as part of a fully auditable process that can produce consistent evidence for decision making.

“ A considerable percentage of local planning authorities find it hard to undertake a detailed study of their potential development land, primarily because of the enormous spatial complexity of the task. Our standardised, ArcGIS-driven approach now makes it both fast and easy for councils to make consistent well-informed decisions about the best locations for new housing

Edith Lendak – Principal GIS Consultant, LUC

The Solution

LUC recognised that it could help local authorities to identify and assess potential development land more effectively, by creating a new automated tool to analyse housing growth options. The company has been using Geographic Information System (GIS) solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform for 20 years, so instinctively turned to ArcGIS to design, build and deliver a brand new service for its local government customers.

Using Esri’s ModelBuilder, LUC created an advanced geospatial analysis system that can systematically and automatically analyse parcels of land against hundreds of data sets and categorise them according to their relative levels of suitability for new housing. The solution automatically assesses factors such as flood risk, proximity to historic monuments and existing local services, drawing on data from local authorities and government advisory bodies, such as the Environment Agency and Natural England.

A key advantage of the approach is that analyses can be repeated easily, on demand, allowing LUC to test different weightings for certain planning constraints and explore a number of different options, without having to start again from scratch. Free from human error, the analysis results will always be consistent, so if LUC undertakes projects for neighbouring councils, the outputs will be directly comparable.

“ ArcGIS generates a robust evidence base which underpins Growth Options Assessments and enables decisions to be made with greater confidence

Edith Lendak – Principal GIS Consultant, LUC

The Benefits

LUC used its geospatial analysis system to help Central Bedfordshire Council identify and assess realistic options for the development of up to 20,000 new homes and related infrastructure by 2035. The benefits that the ArcGIS-based solution delivered include:

Substantial time savings
LUC’s approach, using ArcGIS to analyse the council’s area against three assessment strands (primary constraints, secondary constraints and access to services), using more than 150 datasets, ensured tight project deadlines were met. This complex evaluation process would have taken around 35 working days of manual GIS work for five iterations, whereas it took just two days for five iterations using the prepared automated models.

Repeatable, modular and flexible processes
As LUC’s geospatial analysis process is both fast and repeatable, specialist planners at LUC and Central Bedfordshire Council were able to explore different options for site assessment. They could easily make changes to their land selection criteria, change the weighting of constraint factors and re-run the analysis to model different scenarios in just a few hours. This enabled the planners to evaluate issues more thoroughly and find the right balance between meeting the needs of a growing population and protecting the environment.

Robust and defendable evidence base
The integrity and accuracy of the new GIS-based approach created an auditable process that enabled Central Bedfordshire Council to justify the selected land parcels in preparation of its Spatial Strategy, which will form part of its emerging Local Development Plan. As Lendak says, “ArcGIS generates a robust evidence base which underpins Growth Options Assessments and enables decisions to be made with greater confidence.” Rather than having multiple reports and data sources to study, planners could see at a glance, on colour-coded maps, which parcels of land may be most appropriate for sustainable development and drill down to understand why.

LUC’s GIS team is currently extending the capabilities of the Growth Options Tool, to provide even greater flexibility and speed when testing different scenarios for housing site selection. The solution forms part of a suite of tools aimed at identifying sustainable development opportunities for renewable energy and housing and will be used on projects for councils across the UK.

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Colas Ltd

Proactively managing assets to reduce costs and improve public safety

The civil engineering business Colas uses solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help it undertake pre-emptive maintenance of thousands of assets over a 480km network of roads in Portsmouth. This proactive and strategic approach to asset management helps the company to reduce costs, improve public safety and deliver a high quality of service for Portsmouth City Council.

Colas can collect and share accurate, detailed information about ageing and deteriorating assets

Maintenance tasks can be scheduled more intelligently, to improve long term efficiency

Public safety is ensured as potential faults can be proactively repaired, before they cause incidents

The Challenge

Colas is responsible for the management and maintenance of Portsmouth’s highway infrastructure through a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) with Portsmouth City Council. Under the terms of this contract the company has to uphold the quality of more than 480km of roads, 16,000 street lights and 84 structures, and carry out extensive roadworks, ranging from the resurfacing of major junctions to the clearing of drains, until 2029.

Committed to sustaining a high quality road infrastructure for people living, working and travelling in Portsmouth, Colas wanted to be able to focus on more than just implementing reactive repairs. It aimed to build an optimised and efficient process that would allow it to identify and implement asset repairs on a more proactive basis. The company had previously invested in Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help it manage and visualise assets, not only for the Portsmouth PFI contract, but across all its projects and joint ventures in the UK and Ireland. So, pushing ahead from this solid foundation, it elected to make ArcGIS a key element of its proactive asset management solution.

“ We can make better informed decisions about which assets to maintain and when, on a proactive basis, which ultimately helps us to be more efficient

Dan Winslow – ICT Product Development Manager, Colas

The Solution

Every year, Colas carries out a comprehensive survey of the highways assets in Portsmouth, in which the asset condition is graded from good to unsatisfactory. In the proactive asset maintenance process, this information is now loaded into Esri’s Collector App for ArcGIS, to enable Colas’ own team of specialist highways inspectors to visit and check all those assets graded poor or unsatisfactory. Using the Collector App, the inspectors can take accurate location references, upload pictures, verify the condition of assets and add supplementary information, all while in the field.

There is no need for inspectors to take notes on paper and, consequently, no need for them to waste time typing up survey reports back in the office. All the Service Inspection information collected is automatically transferred from the Collector App to ArcGIS Server in the company’s head office and visualised on interactive maps. Office-based employees can then perform analysis, improve their understanding of maintenance requirements across an area of more than 40km2 and use this insight to prioritise and plan proactive maintenance activities.

Colas makes its Service Inspection data available to over 120 employees using Esri’s ArcGIS Online web portal, so that everyone working on the Portsmouth PFI has access to the latest and most accurate asset information.
Finally, Colas also provides a login to ArcGIS Online for Portsmouth City Council, which helps the two organisations to maintain a co-operative working relationship.

“ By using ArcGIS to collect data and inform our maintenance scheduling process, we can get to and repair assets before they become a safety issue

Dan Winslow – ICT Product Development Manager, Colas

The Benefits

By using ArcGIS for its proactive maintenance process – to collect, visualise, analyse and share data – Colas has gained a number of operational advantages including:

A shared understanding of asset quality
Colas now has far more accurate and extensive data available about the condition of old and deteriorating assets within the highways network in Portsmouth. Each asset graded poor or unsatisfactory can be quickly and efficiently surveyed in the field, and up-to-the-minute information about more than 70 different categories of assets can be made instantly available to employees, contractors and the council online. “The use of ArcGIS for our Service Inspections has helped us to become an asset driven business,” says Dan Winslow, ICT Product Development Manager at Colas. “We can also share our asset knowledge with Portsmouth City Council, which helps us deliver a transparent and high quality of service.”

More efficient business operations
Only repairing assets when they cause problems on the network can be very ineffective, as faults may occur anywhere in the city, at any time of the day or night – and often need rapid attention. By using ArcGIS Server to visualise and analyse its Survey Inspection data, Colas can now plan maintenance activities more strategically, by location. “Our proactive repairs process allows us to work in a smarter, more agile way than we did before,” Winslow says. “We can make better informed decisions about which assets to maintain and when, on a proactive basis, which ultimately helps us to improve services for citizens.”

The ability to ensure public safety
Significantly, Colas’ proactive asset maintenance process plays a key role in helping the organisation to maintain public safety in Portsmouth. “The process enables us to address issues that may not currently be causing issues to traffic or pedestrians, but that due to their evolving condition, could become safety concerns in the future,” Winslow explains. “By using ArcGIS to collect data and inform our maintenance scheduling process, we can get to and repair assets before they become a safety issue.”

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Argent

Improving asset management in one of Europe’s largest urban development projects, King’s Cross

Responsible for one of London’s largest ever mixed-use development projects, Argent depends on Esri’s ArcGIS platform to help it manage assets and share information with both internal and external stakeholders. GIS plays a pivotal role in enabling the organisation to schedule multiple simultaneous projects and make critical business and financial decisions.


Case study – Land and Property


The Customer

Argent is a leading property development company. In 2008, it joined forces with London & Continental Railways Limited and DHL Supply Chain to form the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership (KCCLP) and embarked on one of London’s largest ever mixed-use development projects.

Argent uses Esri’s cloud-based service, ArcGIS Online, to share asset maps with colleagues, partners, contractors and other third party organisations

Users can drill down from maps of the entire development site to individual roads, buildings and pipelines and click for up-to-date project information

A GIS phasing tool allows Argent to scrutinise how the 67 acre site will look at different points in the future and make more informed financial and business decisions

The Challenge

In the heart of London, adjacent to busy King’s Cross and St. Pancras rail station lies 67 acres of brownfield development. By 2020, the area will accommodate 50 new and reused buildings, up to 2,000 homes, 20 streets and 10 public squares, providing a modern environment where some 45,000 people can work, live and study.

Argent is responsible for the development and asset management of this ongoing transformation. Over twenty project managers are working together with a wide range of contractors and consultants, using shared services and facilities in close proximity.

One of the challenges faced by Argent and KCCLP was how to manage large amounts of asset information – and indeed how to communicate this information to different stakeholders within KCCLP and Argent, as well as external partners, contractors and stakeholders.

“ Argent possessed asset maps and plans, but needed the technical capability to share this asset information and the ability to keep pace with constant changes in asset data during the many project phases

Steven Eglinton – Director of GeoEnable

The Solution

Argent called in consulting firm GeoEnable for advice on how to overcome its asset and project management spatial challenges, as part of a wider initiative to improve information management. GeoEnable identified how geographic information system (GIS) technology could play a key role in the solution, alongside new internal business processes.

Argent had a basic desktop GIS solution, which no longer met the needs of the business. Director of GeoEnable, Steven Eglinton, says: “Argent possessed asset maps and plans, but needed the technical capability to share this asset information and the ability to keep pace with constant changes in asset data during the many project phases.”

GeoEnable deployed Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop solution in conjunction with ArcGIS Online for Organisations, Esri’s cloud-based GIS service. Used together, these GIS solutions allow Argent to create dynamic, interactive asset maps locally, and then share them with team members via the intranet. Users can view high level plans of the entire site, or drill down to individual roads, pipelines or buildings and click on the maps linked to the project management database.

Most Argent employees use a web browser to access ArcGIS Online from their desktops. However, a small but growing number employ customised web apps to access the same capabilities from their smart phones and tablets, while away from the office.

“ GIS is a strategic asset management tool for business planning as well as site management

Lilia Wydra – GIS Manager at Argent

Benefits

ArcGIS Online provides a complete, accurate record of all assets involved in the King’s Cross development, both installed and planned, and this information is accessible to everyone in the organisation from planners and surveyors to board members. Every week, projects progress and new contractors arrive; all this data is regularly updated in the GIS, so everyone has access to the same accurate information. “It is easy for everyone to get asset information instantly, whenever they need it,” says Argent’s GIS Manager Lilia Wydra.

ArcGIS Online includes a ‘phasing tool’ that enables users to look forward and see how the site might look at different points in time. This feature plays a critical role in helping Argent to make high-level business and financial decisions, as well as project-level decisions. “The asset information that is accessible via ArcGIS Online influences many decisions we make, from how to plan on-site logistics to when to start marketing new homes, offices and retail outlets,” says Wydra. “GIS is a strategic asset management tool for business planning as well as site management.”

At present, the web-based GIS solution is accessible to Argent and KCCLP employees and a limited number of consultants to KCCLP. The company is also working with external consultancies and construction firms on the development site. GIS has significantly improved KCCLP’s ability to collaborate with third parties and helps to ensure that everyone involved in the King’s Cross development is properly informed.

One of the key advantages of having instant access to shared asset information is that it helps to improve record keeping and phasing. By accessing time-aware information users can easily access what is proposed, when contractors are working on site and clearly see when projects are due for completion. This allows better planning and identifies potential clashes. This is a particularly important issue on large projects like the King’s Cross development, where many different organisations are working together in close proximity.

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Sovereign Housing Association

Building a successful and responsible housing organisation

Responsible for 38,000 homes across the south and south west of England, Sovereign Housing Association uses Esri’s ArcGIS platform enterprise-wide to help it address a range of business challenges. The solution helps it to deliver more responsive customer services, better understand the needs of tenants and plan strategically for future growth.

Sovereign Housing Association has extended its use of GIS in a strategic, enterprise-wide initiative that is transforming core business operations. Now, the organisation can deliver more responsive customer services, better understand the needs of its residents and plan more strategically to build new homes.

ArcGIS gives the organisation clearer insight into issues faced by tenants and their property requirements

Sovereign can respond more quickly to enquiries from tenants and deliver better customer service

The organisation uses ArcGIS to reveal business development opportunities and share information with local councils

The Challenge

Sovereign manages and maintains more than 38,000 homes across the south and south west of England. Already one of the UK’s largest housing associations, the organisation aims to grow to 50,000 homes by 2018, to help address the critical shortage of affordable property in this part of the country. It is, however, often difficult to identify suitable development sites that will pass the scrutiny of planning authorities, so Sovereign has to be able to work closely with local councils to facilitate its growth plans.

The housing association currently has more than 80,000 residents in its properties and strives to deliver the best possible services to enable these people to live comfortably and happily in their homes. To consistently achieve a high standard of customer service, it needs an accurate understanding of its residents’ needs and concerns, as well as efficient operations so that it can respond quickly and effectively.

“ When we first used ArcGIS Online in a meeting to highlight potential development sites to a team from a local council, their jaws dropped. It was incredible. ArcGIS has opened up a whole world of opportunity and will certainly help us to achieve our planned growth

Andrew Bradley – GIS Manager, Sovereign Housing Association

The Solution

Sovereign had been using geographic information system (GIS) solutions to manage spatial data for some time, but, in the year of its 25th anniversary, it took the strategic decision to exploit the powerful analysis capabilities of GIS more extensively as part of a wide-ranging business transformation programme. It selected a comprehensive suite of solutions from Esri’s ArcGIS platform, including ArcGIS Server Enterprise Advanced, ArcGIS Desktop, ArcGIS Online, 3D Analyst, Spatial Analyst and Network Analyst and began to apply GIS to pressing business challenges.

At the same time, the organisation decided to extend GIS capabilities out to the whole business, aiming to train 500 employees across all parts of its business by summer 2015. With support from Esri UK’s professional services team, Sovereign built a GIS-based web app to deliver accurate information about properties, assets, land and residents to employees working in all departments ranging from housing services to the customer call centre. Available via the company’s secure intranet, this solution gives everyone in the business instant access to up-to-date business information, all in one place, in an easy-to-use interactive map-based format.

“ ArcGIS is adding value right across our organisation and will continue to do so for years to come. It will enable us to plan and build new homes, work efficiently and deliver better services for residents

Andrew Bradley – GIS Manager, Sovereign Housing Association

Benefits

The enterprise-wide use of ArcGIS has begun to transform the way in which employees work and will deliver long-term benefits for the organisation, as Andrew Bradley, GIS manager at Sovereign, explains. “ArcGIS is adding value right across our business and will continue to do so for years to come,” he says. “It will enable us to plan and build new homes, work efficiently and deliver better services for residents.”

Sovereign employs its new ArcGIS solutions to conduct analysis and gain a deeper insight into business issues and tenant needs. For instance, the company collected data on the incomes and living costs of its residents, at all of its different locations, and performed GIS analysis to ascertain the impact that the government’s new ‘benefits cap’ would have on residents over a period of 5-10 years. When the findings were displayed on a digital map with a time lapse slider, the effects of the new policy became clear. “We could see a wave of impact coming out of London over time and identify easily where and when different types of households would start to struggle,” says Bradley. “ArcGIS is a very powerful tool, helping us to better understand and respond to our residents’ needs.”

The enterprise ArcGIS platform is proving particularly beneficial for Sovereign’s strategic asset management group, a team tasked with identifying and qualifying development opportunities. It has successfully used ArcGIS to pinpoint locations where Sovereign-owned land lies adjacent to under-utilised council-owned land. It then uses ArcGIS Online to share this information with councils and commence negotiations about mutually-beneficial new housing projects. Bradley recalls: “When we first used ArcGIS Online in a meeting to highlight potential development sites to a team from a local council, their jaws dropped. It was incredible. ArcGIS has opened up a whole world of opportunity and will certainly help us to achieve our planned growth.”

Now, if residents contact Sovereign with an enquiry about a boundary, employees can quickly check on the Intranet-based GIS and often clarify issues instantly. Previously, such boundary enquiries had to be passed on to the company’s legal team, and responses could take up to 21 days according to the company’s Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). “Our employees are empowered with information that they simply didn’t have before,” Alice Rhodes, GIS Analyst at Sovereign says. “Customers get accurate information much more quickly.”

Finally, ArcGIS is enabling Sovereign to improve its operational efficiency, as all employees can share information much more easily. They no longer have to send emails from team to team requesting data and waste time chasing up further details. Instead, they can simply look up the information they need straight away and work more productively.

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

West Coast Group

Improving operational efficiency with mobile GIS

Field-based surveyors at West Coast Group now use a mobile GIS solution from Esri to help them survey trees and bushes growing in close proximity to electricity cables. The automated process has improved the organisation’s efficiency by 20%, helping it to deliver a better service for its customers.


Case study – Electricity Networks


The Customer

The West Coast Group of Companies is a specialist provider of energy services based in Wales. It provides services to UK electricity network operators through an experienced team of planners, surveyors, engineers and environmental managers.

Use of ArcGIS Mobile enables field-based surveyors to spend up to one day less per week in the office and therefore complete more tree surveys

ArcGIS automatically sends completed survey reports to planners at the end of each day, so there is no longer a delay of three weeks to get reports

The organisation can now alert its customers far more quickly to issues that might impact on public safety or cause a power outage

The Challenge

Electricity network providers in the UK have a statutory duty to ensure that trees and other vegetation do not come into contact with overhead power lines. As a statutory requirement the network providers take their responsibilities extremely seriously because trees can damage electricity cables, causing power cuts and risks to public safety.

West Coast Group carries out vegetation management services on behalf of a number of UK electricity network providers. It conducts on-site surveys of over 3500 km of electricity circuits per year.

Historically planners at West Coast Group would photocopy paper maps and mark sections of power line using a highlighter pen. The company’s surveyors would then take these paper maps into the field, take photographs and manually fill in forms to indicate any vegetation that required cutting or felling. These forms were returned to the office where they were collated and keyed into the back office system to create jobs.

West Coast Group had been using geographic information system (GIS) technology elsewhere in its business for a number of years and realised that it could use GIS to simplify, automate and accelerate this process. Using Esri’s ArcGIS Server and ArcGIS for Mobile solutions, it designed and developed a sophisticated new application that has transformed the way in which it delivers vegetation management services for its clients.

“ We estimate that we have improved the overall efficiency of our vegetation management process by around 20%

Nathan Caley – IT Manager, West Coast Group

The Solution

Planners in West Coast Group’s offices now upload the locations of its clients’ electricity network into ArcGIS, where they are displayed on digital Ordnance Survey maps. The planners then use an electronic highlighter to mark those sections of electricity circuit that are due to be surveyed. The map sections are subsequently sent electronically to the company’s surveyors, enabling these mobile employees to no longer have to go into the office to collect their jobs lists and paper maps.

In the field, West Coast Group’s surveyors view the highlighted circuits on toughened, portable tablet computers. A workflow within a mobile GIS application then guides the surveyors through each required stage in the surveying process. They enter details on the location of trees within the vicinity of overhead power lines, calculating distances, and requirements for road closures, circuit outages, etc. Surveyors also take pictures using the tablet computers and these images are entered directly into the GIS-based reports, attached to specific locations.

At the end of each day, the surveyors synchronise their tablets with the central system, passing their GIS-based survey reports direct to the planners. Icons within the GIS solution clearly show the planners which poles and lines have been surveyed, the locations of trees requiring work, circuit outages, network resilience issues and more. Armed with this information, planners can efficiently group maintenance tasks, allocate jobs and resources to works teams.

“ In the past, there were often considerable differences between the reports produced by our surveyors, because different people had different styles and approaches. GIS has given us greater consistency in data captured and the criteria applied

Nathan Caley – IT Manager, West Coast Group

Benefits

The development of this innovative GIS solution has enabled West Coast Group to save money, work more productively and deliver a far more efficient service to its clients.

Surveyors spend up to a day a week less time in the office, as they no longer have to go in to collect maps and drop off reports. The company’s administrators also save considerable amounts of time, as they no longer have to enter survey reports into the back office systems. In the past, a lot of time used to be absorbed in the office trying to match up photographs with locations, whereas now photographs are automatically assigned to the correct jobs. Nathan Caley, IT manager at West Coast Group says: “We estimate that we have improved the overall efficiency of our vegetation management process by around 20%.”

Previously planners within West Coast Group had to wait for around three weeks to receive survey reports, but they now receive them the very next day. Consequently, if trees have grown too close to the overhead power lines, they can alert the client more quickly and dispatch works teams directly to the sites. This faster response helps West Coast Group’s clients to provide a safer and more reliable service for their customers.

Use of GIS has also led to improvements in the accuracy and consistency of West Coast Group’s surveys. “In the past, there were often considerable differences between the reports produced by our surveyors, because different people had different styles and approaches,” explains Caley. “GIS has given us greater consistency in data captured and the criteria applied.”

West Coast Group believes that its use of GIS is enabling it to deliver a very high quality service to existing and new clients. “Our vegetation management solution gives us a unique selling point that other utility service providers just don’t have,” Caley says.

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Severn Trent Water

Enhancing customer service through GIS

To help respond to over 140,000 incident reports every year, Severn Trent Water integrated Esri GIS technology into its customer relationship management (CRM) system. Call centre agents can now locate burst pipes and other faults with far greater accuracy, enabling field-based engineers to make repairs more quickly and cost effectively.

The Customer

Severn Trent Water is one of the UK’s largest utility companies, supplying nearly two billion litres of drinking water a day to eight million people in an area of more than 21,000 square kilometres.

Call centre agents can now record accurate incident locations, over the phone, in half the time than before

With accurate location information, engineers waste less time looking for incidents, saving money and enabling repairs to be made more promptly

Severn Trent Water uses the incident map to reduce the time previously required to produce reports for OFWAT

The Challenge

Every year, Severn Trent Water receives over 140,000 incident reports, such as burst pipes and interrupted water supplies. The company has a duty to respond quickly– but it was often hard to establish the exact location: service centre staff had to find a vaguely defined place, using road atlases and directories.

Up to 95% of incidents lacked a precise grid reference so jobs were sometimes wrongly routed. “Sending an engineering repair team to a wrong location is a very expensive mistake to make”, explains Dave Pearson, lead GIS architect at Severn Trent Water. “Valuable time is lost and a lot of additional effort is wasted trying to find out the correct location”, increasing costs and damaging customer relationships.

“ We felt that Esri’s GIS technology would give us the fastest possible retrieval of addresses and maps. Indeed, it has lived up to our expectations and, in some areas, surpassed them

Doug Cubin- GIS Consultant to Severn Trent Water

The Solution

Severn Trent Water decided to solve this with a comprehensive and flexible gazetteer service, backed up with digital maps. “We needed a way to ensure the accuracy of the location information collected in the service centre”, says Pearson. “By greatly reducing the probability of sending out inspectors and teams to the wrong location, we felt that we had an opportunity to improve efficiency and reduce costs.”

Based on successful use of GIS solutions from Esri UK to manage underground assets, “We felt that Esri’s GIS technology would give us the fastest possible retrieval of addresses and maps. Indeed, it has lived up to our expectations and, in some areas, surpassed them”, says Doug Cubin, GIS consultant to Severn Trent Water.

They chose Esri UK’s Intranet mapping solution to make GIS available to all service centre staff, and developed a gazetteer application (based on Esri’s spatial database engine) for comprehensive searching by address, motorway junction, schools and even chemists and pubs. “If a caller reports a problem on the bend in the road, and can roughly describe the area and a landmark or two, we can find it!” say Severn Trent Water.

To obtain a precise address and postcode, staff follow an on-screen workflow in a customer relationship management (CRM) application, which opens the GIS automatically. Staff drill down into the maps, looking for what the caller describes; when they find it, clicking on the map attaches a precise X-Y coordinate to the incident report, along with the postcode of the nearest address.

“ Almost immediately, GIS became indispensable in the call centre

Doug Cubin – GIS Consultant to Severn Trent Water

Benefits

GIS has transformed the way that customer agents work and has dramatically improved efficiency. Field teams usually find incidents quickly: less wasted time reduces costs and improves customer service.

  • The time taken to record an incident location has more than halved.
  • In at least 95% of calls requiring a field visit, engineers have an accurate grid reference and address before they leave.
  • The annual incident map that Severn Trent Water provides for OFWAT is used for analysing patterns and clusters and for deciding infrastructure investment: it is now much quicker and simpler to produce. The precise logging of X-Y coordinates enable automatic processing of much of the data, avoiding painstaking manual data cleansing.
  • Time saved on incident logging and data cleansing has been used for other quality improvements.

“To make this year’s reporting a less onerous task it really was crucial for us to get an accurate spatial reference for each incident report – and that’s precisely what we have achieved”, says a Severn Trent Water consultant.

The huge success of the GIS is evidenced by users’ enthusiasm. The intuitive interface and seamless integration with existing workflows ensured rapid acceptance so that it became indispensible. “It has become a ‘priority one’ business system. If a hardware failure causes a system outage, it has to be fixed straight away.”

“ We will be able to make this GIS available to potentially several thousand employees located across multiple sites, and will look to Esri UK for help to realise this vision

Severn Trent Water

The Future

GIS was initially used by 250 customer agents at one site. Severn Trent Water plans to make an adapted version available to all employees, so they can search and access accurate digital maps over the Intranet. “Scalability is a key advantage of the GIS solutions”, say Severn Trent Water. “We will be able to make this GIS available to potentially several thousand employees located across multiple sites, and will look to Esri UK for help to realise this vision.”

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Masdar City

The world’s first carbon-neutral city

Citigen used Esri’s ArcGIS platform in a ground-breaking project to build the world’s first ever carbon neutral, zero waste city, in the harsh surroundings of a desert in the United Arab Emirates. Use of ArcGIS helped the organisation to manage assets with environmental sensitivity and make informed decisions on a construction site of unprecedented size and complexity.


Case study – Civil Engineering


The Customer

Abu Dhabi, capital city of the United Arab Emirates, has thousands of dedicated people, billions of dollars and years of effort coming together to achieve a groundbreaking goal: the world’s first entirely carbon-neutral, zero-waste city – constructed from scratch. Commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, the city’s five and a half square kilometres will be home to 50,000 people, 1,500 businesses and 40,000 daily commuters.

ArcGIS helped Citigen to identify and then resolve potential issues in the master plan before they created unnecessary costs and construction delays

GIS proved invaluable for managing the placement of facilities and the monitoring the condition of assets to improve carbon neutrality

The organisation used GIS to visualise routes and make decisions about the sizing of roads to improve access for emergency services

The Challenge

This is an experiment of colossal proportions, with no historical precedent, but it is also a serious business venture with a tight schedule. The harsh desert environment adds complexity and means understanding geography is vital: sun angles, wind patterns, street widths, building density and height, and even city orientation.

“ Never before have so many environmental facilities come together in one place… GIS helps Masdar select sites, evaluate alternatives and visualise construction sequences for the whole city

Shannon McElvaney – Site Control and GIS Manager, Citigen

The Solution

Citigen and Esri are Enterprise Business Partner and Authorised Systems Integrators on the project and use ArcGIS for spatial planning, modelling and programme management. Geographic Information System (GIS), including cutting-edge 6D GIS modelling, are used to track costs, schedules and carbon emissions, and empower collaborative thinking for creative problem-solving. GIS will also underpin an automated, paperless asset management system. “Masdar City was planned with careful consideration of both human and physical geography”, explains Shannon McElvaney, Citigen’s Site Control and GIS Manager, “So at the very start of this project, extensive analysis was carried out on traditional Arab city infrastructures.”

“ It would have been infinitely more difficult to manage this project without GIS… Maps help people make major decisions every day that benefit this project

Shannon McElvaney – Site Control and GIS Manager, Citigen

Benefits

Carbon-neutral build
To be a truly carbon-neutral city, the construction must be carbon-neutral (including accommodation and transport for 5,000 labourers). “GIS has proven to be very valuable for the logistics of the build”, confirms McElvaney. “It helps the Masdar team to do everything we can to minimise use of materials, mileage and carbon emissions.”

Meeting the master plan
With more than one hundred different contractors, ensuring that each decision is aligned with the master plan is complex. GIS modelling has made potential problems more visible than on a massive spreadsheet. “We spotted a set of lines on one structure that was about 30 centimetres off from the previous line work”, McElvaney reveals. “If that structure was a bridge, a mistake like that could be very time and cost-intensive to fix at the construction stage. GIS is extremely helpful in preventing that kind of thing from happening.” Occasional environmental infractions are inevitable too, but by plotting incidents based on GPS-tagged photos, corrective action can be taken quickly.

Optimising facility placement
Masdar includes water and sewage treatment plants, recycling centres, a solar farm, geothermal wells, and plantations of different tree species useful for producing biofuels. “Never before have so many environmental facilities come together in one place… GIS helps Masdar select sites, evaluate alternatives and visualise construction sequences for the whole city”, explains McElvaney

Planning unique, safe infrastructure
Like a traditional Arab city, Masdar is designed for pedestrians, but uniquely, the walkways will be elevated, with Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) at ground level. “We used GIS to visualise all routes for the PRT network, and to test predicted walk times between PRT stations”, confirms McElvaney. The accuracy of GIS also revealed that the pedestrian streets were too narrow for fire engines to turn around. Streets were resized before construction, ensuring a safer city from the start.

Balancing carbon, cash flow and schedule
Although carbon neutrality is paramount, cashflow matters too, so the team built a 6D GIS model. “Visualising different combinations helped them to sub-divide original phases into smaller neighbourhood sub-phases which helped to manage costs while monitoring impacts on carbon emissions”, McElvaney explains. “When GIS is used across disciplines and departments it facilitates both collaboration and innovation.”

Clear, fast progress reports
Monthly Google Earth Pro mashups show progress. “When it’s 3D GIS, it’s very easy to convey complex information which everybody can digest quickly”, says McElvaney.

Maintaining the carbon-neutral vision
After completion, GIS will be used daily to manage Masdar City’s assets and maintain carbonneutrality. “The GIS will be integrated with a Computerised Maintenance Management System which will automatically generate work orders that are sent directly to technical engineers who will then carry out the work, and instantly update the system… if you can constantly make small enhancements to your assets, you can effectively double the life of those assets”, enthuses McElvaney. “Masdar will use GIS to visualise energy and water usage for the city as a whole and communicate the status to residents in novel ways… helping everyone in Masdar City work together to cut down on resource use.”

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform

Homes in Havering

Improving business efficiency and customer service with mobile GIS

Use of a mobile GIS solution from Esri UK enables Homes in Havering to deliver more efficient and effective services for the residents of over 10,400 homes in East London. Employees use Esri’s ArcPad on tablets to halve the time required to complete property inspections, instigate maintenance tasks more quickly and improve the quality of business data.

The Customer

Homes in Havering (HiH) was formed in July 2006 as an arms-length management organisation (ALMO) working on behalf of the London Borough of Havering. It is responsible for managing 10,411 tenanted homes, 2,207 leasehold properties and 2,830 garage units in East London.

Mobile employees can undertake property inspections and other reports 50% more quickly than before

Residents benefit from faster resolution of maintenance issues, which improves their satisfaction and quality of life

ArcPad has created more efficient processes across the business and led to improvements in the quality and timeliness of business data

The Challenge

As a not-for-profit organisation, HiH aims to operate as cost efficiently as possible, reinvesting income to create homes and communities that residents can take pride in. At the time, staff carried out surveys of estates by filling in paperwork by hand, then typing them up when they got back to the office or sending them off to be manually transferred into an electronic format. “By the time that the information was available in our central systems, it was often out-of-date,” explains Roy Ojelade, Estates Services Manager at HiH. “Our processes were slow and disjointed.”

There were other challenges too. When staff went out on site, they sometimes found it hard to determine if pieces of land were the responsibility of HiH or other organisations. Consequently, it wasn’t uncommon for a lot of effort to go into dealing with issues that were not HiH’s responsibility. In addition, staff often found it hard to describe exactly where issues were on an estate. As a result, contractors and maintenance teams sometimes wasted time because they couldn’t find the locations mentioned in reports. All of these issues meant that residents didn’t always receive a prompt and effective service.

“ Tasks that used to take our mobile staff considerable time are now done more efficiently with any data collected being available to be disseminated among other departments within the organisation

Roy Ojelade – Estate Services Manager at Homes in Havering

The Solution

Soon after its foundation, HiH took the bold decision to extend and develop its mobile working strategy, believing this approach would improve operational efficiency, increase the visibility of staff on estates and provide a better service for residents.

Esri’s ArcPad mobile Geographic Information System (GIS) software was deployed on lightweight, portable computers to 35 employees including 12 neighbourhood wardens, 16 tenancy and neighbourhood officers, 3 senior estate managers and 4 caretakers. Through the use of ArcPad, these mobile employees can access detailed maps of each of HiH’s properties while on site and attach a precise location references to their electronic property report.

Mobile GIS is now firmly embedded into the organisation’s processes, if an area of grass has not been cut, mobile workers can see if it is the responsibility of HiH or another organisation. If a tree requires any work, they can direct the contractor straight to the exact tree at any location. Ojelade says: “We use ArcPad for just about everything, whether checking a tree for storm damage, conducting a routine estate inspection or reporting a pothole in a path.”

“ ArcPad helps to ensure that the data collected is geographically accurate and consistent, so it can be used for comparison and analysis. It eliminates the paper trail and improves the overall efficiency of our teams

Benefits

More efficient business processes
The use of ArcPad has helped HiH to develop a more efficient and standardised processes, generating better data across the business. “ArcPad helps to ensure that the data collected is geographically accurate and consistent, so it can be used for comparison and analysis,” says Pluck. “It eliminates the paper trail and improves the overall efficiency of our teams.”

Time savings of at least 50%
HiH estimates that its mobile solution has reduced the amount of time required for completing inspections and other reports by at least fifty per cent. Ojelade says: “Tasks that used to take our mobile staff considerable time are now done more efficiently with any data collected being available to be disseminated among other departments within the organisation.”

Greater information sharing with residents
Caretakers use ArcPad to record the precise location where bulk rubbish, such as old mattresses and broken furniture, is found. This information is then uploaded from the mobile devices to HiH’s central systems, where it is then compiled into monthly reports and published online. “The data collected allows us to re-charge residents for bulk rubbish with precise information about what has been dumped and where,” explains Ojelade. “ArcPad provides a fast and accurate way for us to collect this information.”

Improved maintenance of properties
Mobile teams can quickly report faults and issues which means these problems can be rectified more quickly too. Likewise, staff can identify where contractors are failing to meet standards and point out areas that need greater attention with more precision. The use of ArcPad has enabled HiH mobile working strategy, delivering a more streamlined process in the overall maintenance of HiH’s estates and to a corresponding improvement in resident satisfaction.

Phone
Contact Us

Tel: 01296 745599
E-mail: sales@esriuk.com

Document
Download Case Study

Use our form to access a complete .pdf version of this case study

Phone
ArcGIS Free Trial

Try out a free trial of the entire ArcGIS platform