There’s an explosion of external data sources that are available such as Geospatial, Land Registry, Ordnance Survey and IoT – but how can you ensure you don’t drown in the information explosion?
Getting the right information to the right people at the right time has always been a key driver of information management, no more so than when those people are working on site armed only with a tablet or mobile phone.
JT Mackley & Co Ltd, working with its Common Data Environment (CDE) supplier GroupBC, has solved this problem through adopting BIM standards and linking outputs to GIS on the Environment Agency’s Shoreham and Adur Tidal Walls project.
While the CDE was readily accepted in the office locations, site workers were still having trouble finding the right information. To overcome this, Mackley began investigating how to provide easier access to key site information using GIS tools but found progress unsatisfactory. Coincidentally, GroupBC, the company’s CDE partner, was investigating similar issues around usability, so they worked closely to develop a solution.
A massive step forward in usability
By implementing BIM standards such as document naming conventions and workflows, Mackley was able to upload Google Earth KML files to the CDE and link the site information to their project location using pinpoints on a map. The pins were linked to photos that the site engineers had taken, or the location of bole holes and related reports, as well as enabling them to highlight areas such as utilities. This allows any team member, whether Mackley engineers, design teams or EA staff, to find the relevant information quickly and easily, simply by clicking on the map.
Powerful saved search functionality within the CDE pushes only the latest approved information to the user, reducing the risk of working on out-of-date information.
It can also be used to improve health and safety on site. For instance, a user can click on the project location on the map and instantly access documentation about dangers associated with that site, and any issues they should be aware of.
“A massive step forward in usability of the Common Data Environment, where accessibility and ease of use dictate buy-in by staff on any project,” commented Trevor Mossop, technical services manager at Mackley.
Get the full picture
GroupBC customers such as Thames Water also find the solution invaluable in connecting project and assets to data sources across a £1bn-per-year capital investment programme.
The map interface provides a visual gateway to GIS and open data such as floodplains, local authority borders, SSSI etc, which can be time-consuming to research or locked behind firewalls but is now securely available to the team via the cloud.
Ultimately, the technology is about unlocking insights about the project or asset in a user-friendly interface, enabling timely and better-informed decisions that can result in a reduction of the associated risk, uncertainty and cost.
Providing a simple, visual, location-driven interface will ensure users fully engage with BIM.
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