• Thanks to cloud storage and mobile applications and devices, your staff can obtain asset-related data in real time no matter where they work.

file under: 3D/4D Design, Chemicals, Food and Beverage, Government, Industrial, Metals and Mining, Oil and Gas, Power, Water

Linking Systems and Tools with GIS and Dashboard Technologies

There's No Need to Spend More. Harness the Power of Your Recent Investments.

You have likely invested hundreds of thousands of dollars (if not more) updating or purchasing new technology to support your operations in recent years, only to blink and open your eyes to new and improved systems and tools emerging in the market. Before you decide to dip into your budget and invest more, consider the alternative: developing a cohesive framework around your current systems to maximize return on investment and harness the power of your existing technology for longer. Add geographic information systems, or GIS, and dashboard technology to fully experience the capabilities of your data, no matter where you are.

Jayson BrennenJayson Brennen, GISP

With advancements in mobile and cloud technology providing access to data at an unprecedented pace, disparity between ever-changing devices and systems makes leveraging that data increasingly difficult. Subsequently, many owners and operators have data resources spread across their organization—from spreadsheet databases at one facility to 3D/4D modeling at another—that are not linked well. This situation can lead to challenges in collecting and sharing data in different formats between various systems, data duplication, impacts on asset maintenance, and ineffective decision making.

Despite these issues and the pressure to refresh technology often, there are some simple, cost-effective steps to make your existing systems work better for you now. The process begins with establishing a data management framework that ensures that critical business systems interact with one other effectively. Doing so will strengthen and ease data collection, visualization, storage and manipulation, and reinforce the linkage between systems that previously seemed disconnected. All the technologies actively being used—mobile, Web, or desktop—may then effectively communicate regardless of file format or operating system disparities. Additionally, end users collecting or using the data will not be heavily burdened with learning new complex technologies, saving time and costs.

GIS technology can further improve your ability to interpret, visualize, and apply the unified information to increase your return on investment. GIS lets you view data in a spatial context. In other words, you are able to locate assets and obtain details, such as when maintenance last occurred or the typical lifespan of an asset, via an online map of your facility or site. As field staff are out performing inspections, office staff can—thanks to cloud storage and mobile applications—see in real time where those inspections are taking place, where an asset is located, what condition it is in, and what the risk of failure is for one or a group of assets. Furthermore, through the use of dashboard technology, staff personally have the ability to access and analyze complex information from multiple business systems through a single, streamlined interface. Think of it as “one-stop shopping.”

The neat package pulled together by GIS and executive dashboards of back-end business system information supports improved management and maintenance of assets now and into the future. With more information in one place, decision-making becomes more effective related to capital planning, regulated reporting and customer service. Streamlining the visualization of widespread data sources helps establish which operations are underperforming and which are doing well, providing the intel needed to make better-educated business decisions and more meaningful improvements.

Jayson Brennen, GISP, is a technical strategy leader for CDM Smith’s management and technology consulting group. He has more than 25 years of experience with the implementation of geospatial and technology solutions within the government, utility, transportation and industrial industry.