Smart maps unveil the secret life of assets

Sep 15, 2014 -- New real-time technology is expected to shave millions of dollars from the operational costs of Australian businesses, according to an industry expert.

Esri Australia Business Solutions Manager Doug van Gelder has advised leading asset managers how smart mapping technology is set to revolutionise the way organisations manage their infrastructure at the Asset Management and Maintenance Conference in Brisbane.

Mr van Gelder said Geographic Information System (GIS) technology creates smart maps of information which can track assets through their entire lifecycles – from initial planning and acquisition to maintenance, operation, emergency responses and disposal.

“With these smart maps, asset managers can drill further down to other data sources such as PDF files that include user guides, maintenance records and the full history of each and every asset by simply clicking on an icon,” Mr van Gelder said.

“Currently, many facilities and assets are managed using tables and charts, which do not provide a clear visualisation of the significance of a certain location – a key contextual component when making critical business decisions about an asset’s value.

“By integrating asset management systems and enterprise resource planning systems with smart mapping technology, organisations can dramatically increase their insight and share information across the business.

“Ultimately, smart maps provide a common language for communication within an organisation to enhance decision-making, increase efficiencies and save money.”

Locally, utility company Energex implemented smart mapping technology and were able to identify $500 million worth of assets such as underground pillars and cable joints that had not been previously tracked – a result which led to increased revenue of $21 million a year through return on capital.

Globally, transport organisations such as the Honolulu Rail Transit and Iowa Department of Transportation are using smart mapping technology to design, build and manage entire rail and road systems.

Mr van Gelder said large local governments such as Brisbane City Council and City of Gold Coast had also embraced GIS technology because of the sheer scale and complexities of their operations.

“Smart mapping enables large organisations to seamlessly manage millions of assets,” Mr van Gelder said.

“For example, if a pipeline or road is damaged, public or staff can instantly identify the problem and an appropriate response can be immediately established.

“In an emergency, smart mapping technology provides accurate on-the-spot analysis of the impact on assets in affected regions and allows for an immediate – and informed - response to urgent situations.”


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