Category Archives: Industry Solutions

Creating Smarter Communities

Creating Smarter Communities

How Geospatial technology is helping build better places to live and work

Technology is a vital component of delivering smarter communities, but technology alone is not enough. Smart communities are born when people, place and technology come together to deliver outcomes that improve our places and the lives of those who live there.

Increasingly, citizens, businesses and public sector organisations are working together to make decisions. Government should no longer be seen as something that is ‘done’ to people. Instead, citizens are playing an increasing role in achieving the aspirations of their communities through collaborative initiatives.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are providing the vital context to underpin and support decision-making, informing opinion and helping to test and shape policy, plans and the future. There are challenges ahead for everyone if we are to realise the vision of smart communities.

Read this Spotlight report by Smart Cities World which demonstrates the role of GIS in Smart Communities with in depth examples from:

Crossrail | Leeds City Council | Glasgow City Council | Greater London Authority

Click the link below to read the Spotlight:

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Transforming the Nuclear Industry

Transforming the Nuclear Industry

Using the power of spatial information to increase operational efficiency

Understanding location and spatial relationships is fundamental to increasing operational efficiency in the Nuclear industry. From site selection and environmental management to public consultation, construction and site operations, this interactive eBook explores the application of innovative technology to achieve significant operational efficiency improvements throughout the Nuclear Industry. Discover real world examples of how major nuclear sites in the UK are using digital mapping and spatial analysis to transform their operations.

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Northern Ireland Water

Creating a “place of opportunity” with enterprise GIS

When Northern Ireland Water selected Esri’s ArcGIS mapping platform as its new corporate GIS system, it didn’t just get all of the functionality that the business needed. It also gained a suite of additional tools, creating a “place of opportunity” for improving its customers’ experience, reducing costs and removing inefficient processes.

Call centre agents can deliver better customer service with instant visibility of emerging situations

Engineers can design new water networks for developers significantly faster with automated tools

Field-based teams can upload asset information direct to the Corporate Asset Register with mobile apps

The Challenge

Northern Ireland Water was founded in April 2007 as a government-owned company to provide water and sewerage services for 1.8 million people in Northern Ireland. In its first decade, the company underwent a significant transformation, developing new operating models to enhance the way that it delivered customer services and maintained 42,300 km of water mains and sewers. By 2017, however, the company’s aspirations for continued business improvement were being constrained by its two, separate, existing geographic information system (GIS) applications.

“The need for location-based services was growing throughout the organisation, not only for office-based staff but also for our mobile workforce,” says Sean O’Boyle, Asset Information Development Manager at Northern Ireland Water. “We urgently needed to replace our fragmented approach to GIS with a single enterprise system that would support the entire organisation and fuel our drive to deliver even better customer services.”

“ ArcGIS gives us all of the features and capabilities that we were looking for – but it also takes us to another place of opportunity. We can rapidly deploy new web and mobile applications using standard, out-of-the-box ArcGIS tools, to meet new business requirements and moreover we can do this all in house

Sean O’Boyle – Asset Information Development Manager, Northern Ireland Water

The Solution

Northern Ireland Water selected Esri’s ArcGIS because the solution’s capabilities exceeded the organisation’s predicted requirements. “ArcGIS gives us all of the features and capabilities that we were looking for – but it also takes us to another place of opportunity,” explains O’Boyle. “We can rapidly deploy new web and mobile applications using standard, out-of-the-box ArcGIS tools, to meet new business requirements and moreover we can do this all in house.”

With support from Esri Ireland, Northern Ireland Water completed the initial project implementation at an impressive pace, moving from no ArcGIS capabilities at all to a full enterprise ArcGIS platform in less than a year. The consultants from Esri Ireland passed on their knowledge to employees during the project, so that by the time the systems went live, in-house teams were competent in using and managing ArcGIS. “The whole project went live on budget and on time, according to the schedule we set on day one,” notes O’Boyle.

ArcGIS is now used daily by hundreds of users and is available to 1035 employees in total. It is integrated into key workflows right across the organisation and is a core part of the organisation’s Corporate Asset Register, the second most used application within the business after email.

A key solution for Northern Ireland Water is Esri’s ArcGIS for Water Utilities, a set of maps, services, apps and automated processes that have been specifically developed to meet the needs of international water companies. The integrated nature of ArcGIS means that business specialists can edit asset or customer data using ArcGIS on the desktop and then make it instantly accessible to employees via web apps and mobile solutions, all at the click of a button.

“ Northern Ireland Water’s new Corporate GIS, implemented using ESRI technology, gives us the advantage of being able to swiftly deploy spatial solutions to aid decision making

Sara Venning – Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Water

The Benefits

Responsive services for customers
The enterprise-wide implementation of ArcGIS gives all employees in the organisation instant access to accurate location information, which they can use to help them deliver a more responsive customer service. For instance, the locations of all issues reported by customers are streamed real-time on a web map. Displayed on a four metre screen in the customer call centre, this situational awareness map allows incident managers to better monitor the situation in real-time and react quickly to resolve issues.

More efficient business processes
ArcGIS has improved business efficiency by replacing numerous manual, paper-based processes and eliminating the unnecessary duplication of data. In the Developer Services team, for example, engineers now use ArcGIS to design water main networks for planned new residential developments significantly quicker than before, enabling them to deliver a fast, professional and cost-effective service for customers.

A streamlined approach to capital delivery
Northern Ireland Water has exploited the seamless functionality of ArcGIS platform to build a successful proof of concept which delivers the capability to manage the complete life-cycle from engineering design through approvals, construction and on to “as built” asset records making what Paul Davison, Head of Water Capital Delivery at Northern Ireland Water, describes as “A step change in collecting accurate asset data.”

Enhanced safety for personnel working in the field
Using Esri’s Survey 123 for ArcGIS, Northern Ireland Water is now developing a new mobile app that will help the company to identify and respond to potential health and safety risks more quickly. Employees will use their smartphones or tablets to collect data in the field about the locations of trenches, equipment, infrastructure and other potential hazards. Whereas this information might previously have taken up to two weeks to be typed up in a report, it will be transferred to head office in real-time, saving time and allowing managers to intervene rapidly if a safety issue is identified.

Better informed decision making
In a wide variety of ways, ArcGIS gives senior managers at Northern Ireland Water faster access to better quality information. The organisation’s Chief Executive Sara Venning says: “Northern Ireland Water’s new Corporate GIS, implemented using ESRI technology, gives us the advantage of being able to swiftly deploy spatial solutions to aid decision making. This has been particularly evident during incident planning where logistics and location information is of critical importance to us in striving to respond rapidly to our customer needs.”

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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.

 

 

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Fire and Rescue eBook

Fire and Rescue

Increasing operational efficiency and effectiveness

The role of a modern Fire and Rescue Service (FRS) has become much broader than simply putting out fires. From prevention of road traffic collisions to neighbourhood renewal, the FRS has become deeply embedded in the community. Activities such as education of young people, working with older people to keep them safe in their homes, providing first aid and preventing crime are all part of this wider remit. As a result, services have made a major contribution to ensuring safe and resilient communities, protecting people and places from harm and creating conditions for economic prosperity. They have driven a 50% reduction in the number of fires and a 20% drop in the number of fire fatalities since the 1980s. However, in the current economic and political environment, even more is expected.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are increasingly being used to meet these challenges. In this eBook, discover how this innovative technology unlocks the location component of data for greater insights, enables significantly more efficient automated field data collection and facilitates sharing up to date information with a wide range of internal stakeholders and the public through intuitive map-based visualisations.

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The Internet of Things – Why Location Matters eBook

The Internet of Things – Why Location Matters

How location transforms raw data into actionable intelligence

eBook

We are moving rapidly to an ever more connected world and the opportunities for the Telecommunications industry are significant, from new connectivity offerings based on dedicated IoT infrastructure to participating in the data market and the creation of new applications. At the core, since everything happens somewhere and all the things in the IoT have a place, location information is pivotal to maximising the potential and in particular to transforming raw data into valuable, actionable intelligence.

The ‘Internet of Things; Why Location Matters’ ebook is essential reading for understanding this potential, from management of mobile industrial assets and crowdsourcing air quality monitoring to targeted mobile advertising, smarter refuse collection and the Smart Home. It is an essential guide for telecommunications businesses to understand how to leverage the location information that will be the key to realising potential revenue streams from the IoT.

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Quocirca Geospatial Intelligence eBook

Quocirca Geospatial Intelligence

On The Move

eBook

Mobile GIS enables improved customer service by getting the right field worker to the right place as quickly as possible. However the capability extends further, to enable field worker activity and status tracking, which protects their safety and provides insight which allows operations managers to adapt priorities and make the right decisions in response to events on the ground.
Using out of the box GIS mobile Apps has allowed organisations to increase field worker productivity by up to 20%, by enabling them to stay organised, report progress, call for assistance, remain productive and minimise travel. At the same time data quality is significantly improved – if you get the data right first time and at the point of capture then costly errors further down the line are avoided.
In essence, field workers collect data through common or rugged mobile devices and that status information and the data collected is available immediately back at the office, viewable on a real time dashboard. Organisations like Thames Water, Westminster City Council, Colas, Willis Group and many more have seen significant benefits from this approach.
Independent analysts Quocirca investigated this technology and the benefits to organisations adopting it. Their conclusions are set out in this eBook. Download the eBook free now to find out more…

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Aveillant

Overcoming aviation objections to wind turbines

The high-tech company Aveillant uses Esri’s ArcGIS platform to identify the optimum sites for its ground-breaking radar masts that improve safety near airports. By replacing manual research tasks, GIS enables employees to work more efficiently and communicate more effectively with third parties including wind farm developers and planning authorities.

The Customer

Aveillant is a high technology company leading the way in delivering advanced 3D surveillance radar systems. Its Holographic Radar™ technology is applied to one of the most pressing concerns in the modern aviation industry today.

ArcGIS enables Aveillant to identify the strongest business opportunities and focus its energies on the prospects that are most likely to lead to sales

Employees can perform complex analysis and identify the most viable and cost effective radar sites

The company uses ArcGIS to demonstrate the value of its radars to wind farm developers and help them overcome planning obstacles

The Challenge

The air traffic control radars commonly used at airports today only provide a two-dimensional picture of airspace, making it hard for air traffic controllers to differentiate between a rotating blade close to the ground and a moving aircraft at 30,000 feet. Consequently, planning applications for wind farms near flight paths are often turned down on the grounds of radar interference, when the sites would otherwise be ideal for the generation of low-carbon energy.

Aveillant uniquely addresses this problem. Based on flat panel arrays, the company’s Holographic Radar technology identifies objects and intelligently removes unnecessary “clutter” from the air traffic control picture. Air traffic controllers can therefore get a clean view of their air traffic, enabling them to better manage their airspace and general safety around the airport. The company’s advanced radar systems are typically used by wind farm developers to help them overcome the problems that turbines cause and enable aviation objections to be removed.

With over 3,500 planning applications in progress for wind farms across the UK, Aveillant needed to be able to identify precisely those developers that would benefit most from its 3D radar system. It then needed to identify the best locations to site its radars to give the maximum amount of coverage for clusters of prospective new wind turbines and nearby airports, while taking into account a range of different factors from accessibility and cost to environmental sensitivities. The company had a lot of data that it needed to make sense of, but it was all in separate locations in written formats.

“ ArcGIS has applications in absolutely every part of the company

Ben Tilley – GIS Business Support Analyst at Aveillant

The Solution

The solution to Aveillant’s challenge came in the form of geographic information system (GIS) technology from Esri UK.

The company now uses Esri’s ArcGIS Desktop to plot the locations of traditional radars alongside planning applications for new wind farms. This enables it to immediately identify which proposed new developments could potentially cause radar interference. It then uses the GIS to analyse data, such as the size of the proposed development and the status of the planning application, to identify the strongest potential business opportunities.

Next, Aveillant uses ArcGIS tools, such as Esri’s Spatial Analyst extension, to conduct business and financial modelling to help it identify the optimum site for its radars to benefit large developments or groups of wind farms in a similar area. It can take into account terrain, roads, rivers and power sources to find the site that will deliver best coverage for least cost.

Then, when Aveillant is involved in negotiations and conversations with wind farm developers, airports and planning authorities, GIS is used again to produce reports clarifying the coverage of Aveillant’s 3D radar system. In coming months, the company plans to use Esri’s ArcGIS Online solution to give third parties direct access to its interactive maps. Ben Tilley, GIS business support analyst at Aveillant says, “ArcGIS has applications in absolutely every part of the company.”

“ The effect wind turbines have on aviation radars is holding up billions of pounds worth of investment in renewable energy. GIS helps us to deliver a solution, address airports’ concerns and encourage greater acceptance of wind turbines for the benefit of the environment

John Allan – Commercial Director at Aveillant

The Benefits

The use of ArcGIS enables Aveillant to focus its attention on those wind farm developments that are most likely to benefit from its radar technology. It can therefore increase its sales success and install more of its radar systems more quickly. “GIS is now a key part of all our prospecting, bids and investment decisions,” says John Allan, commercial director at Aveillant. “It is helping us to build the business.”

GIS has replaced many manual research tasks, enabling employees to work much more efficiently. At the same time, the business now has much better information at its disposal, which enables it to find the most cost-effective sites for its radars very quickly and easily. “We can potentially identify an exact site, within a few meters, before even leaving the office,” says Tilley.

Most importantly, GIS has become an invaluable tool for sharing information with developers, airports and planning authorities and helping these third parties understand the benefits of Aveillant’s Holographic Radar. GIS plays a particularly critical role in helping to reassure airports that proposed wind farms can go ahead, as they will have better radar information to help them manage their airspace and ensure safety around the airport. “GIS enables us to present an accurate dynamic map of how we can solve the radar interference problem,” Tilley says. “It gives everyone confidence that our solution brings them benefits.”

Aveillant is a relatively young company with big ambitions. In the years ahead, it hopes its Holographic Radar systems will be the catalyst that speeds up the spread of renewable energy sources across the UK. “The effect wind turbines have on aviation radars is holding up billions of pounds worth of investment in renewable energy,” comments Allan. “GIS helps us to deliver a solution, address airports’ concerns and encourage greater acceptance of wind turbines for the benefit of the environment.”

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