by Stephen Brockwell
In the field, it is essential to capture construction and inspections data as accurately and concisely as possible. With the ability to geocode inspection data, the utility has access to as-built information to assist in design and additional construction, and also has the inspection data at its fingertips in the home office, along with imagery and asset information.
Using an integration of BIM 360 Field and web-based GIS, we have developed an app that can be employed in the inspection and work-order process that can gather data in the field for use in the office for scheduling, reporting and analysis.
In Image 1, the map shows assets, sites and upcoming inspections. The map is dynamically configured and can also be displayed in AutoCAD. It is hosted from a SQL Server database on Azure or Amazon infrastructure or on local infrastructure, and can be synchronized or used in a disconnected state. The layers are composed of WFS, DWG, SHP, and other spatial services.
Image 2 shows that the assets are directly linked to the 360 Field records so they can gather pertinent information in the field. The user can select an asset (label A), either a site or a location, and then click the inspection button (label B).
The asset is linked directly to the map and is opened for reporting or analysis in the BIM 360 Field site (Image 3).
Capturing Field Data
Recording the asset information and the results of the inspection is simple.
Step 1: Go to the site. Our example is an existing wall-mounted hydrant, but the site can be any location, site or equipment – new or existing assets.
Step 2: Select the asset in BIM 360 Field. At this point you can enter any field notes or other data. You can also take photos at other non-asset locations.
Step 3: Use the camera feature in the mobile device to take an image of the asset. iPad photos are automatically tagged with the GPS location.
Step 4: Synchronize with the home office once you’re in range of WiFi or if you have a hotspot or LTE. The sync button synchronizes both the BIM 360 Field equipment and inspection data and the spatial database.
Once the synchronization is complete, the map is updated to reflect the inspection. The inspection location is displayed on the map shortly following the sync after a manual refresh.
You can view the inspection record as well as the notes and any images you captured.
Capturing field data can be valuable for a variety of reasons and will vary between organizations. Some utilities will find it useful to prepare for their upcoming construction season and others will find the asset information and images important for analysis of a certain class type of equipment throughout the organization. But the ability to see your assets and a record of any additional notes and images can offer more visibility and let you review certain characteristics without the costly time and effort associated with repeated visits to the same equipment.
We know what our customers are saying about how this helps them – but we want to hear from you. How can a simple integration work for your organization? What do you want your data to look like – a set of numbers or rich imagery and useful data?