Using Geospatial Information for Asset Management
Geospatial Information is becoming essential asset management companion. With ageing infrastructure and increasing regulations, fixed asset-intensive organisations are increasingly relying on Geospatial information to augment the performance of their fixed assets. Particularly, the capability of geospatial information which can be used across multiple layers and patterns of asset information makes it appealing for infrastructure-intensive asset management.
Geospatial Asset Management 101
With most other asset tracking technologies like Barcoding or RFID, the location of your asset is the reference for tracking it. With geospatial asset management, the position of Earth’s surface is the reference to track your assets. It is this intrinsic capability of Geospatial systems that allows it to show different types of data and references on one map.
Using geographic positional attributes like longitude, latitude, address and postcode. Asset Managers can use different sets of information about their assets and map them individually or together. For example; type of soil can be mapped with roads which can be mapped with electric grid lines. A holistic model surrounding the assets can be developed which provides deeper information and control over the management of fixed assets.
Once you start to use earth’s surface as a reference point to manage your assets – multiple teams can use the geospatial information as the basis to communicate and manage your assets more effectively.
For example; If a council is using a GIS system, its street lighting team can view how the roads are laid out. At the same time, customer support team can view where the properties are located so that any repairs can be effectively handled. The lighting team, the road team and the repair team can all view the same information differently from a common GIS system.
GIS augmented with Barcode or RFID
An example here is your water meter and water pipes. Water pipes can be mapped using a GIS system and water meter can be managed using barcode technology. GIS is about the location of your asset and barcoding is about data of your asset.
Even with RFID – It is about tagging the asset. Just as with barcoding you can augment your fixed asset management combining GIS and RFID as well as Barcode. Just in case if you are interested, here are the headline differences between RFID and Barcode Asset Tracking Systems
Applications of GIS
GIS offers unique capabilities to manage underground and over-ground assets. Coupled with Barcoding and/or RFID asset tracking technologies – location and conditional mapping of assets adds significant value to fixed asset management.
Due to these capabilities, GIS is widely used in;
Infrastructure Industries – Example use; Mapping traffic and road conditions to reduce accidents
Facilities Management – Example use; keeping facilities data updated with geographic conditions
Utilities – Example use; Mapping soil conditions for laying out water pipes
Energy Management – Example use; Geologic conditions for feasibility studies
Agriculture – Example use; Farming conditions and produce based on soil data
Natural Disaster Management – Example use; Layout precautionary measures based on flood risk
Local Governments – Example use; Mapping public assets like libraries, hospitals and schools on local map
GIS Adoption and Challenges
There are a number of options to implement GIS right from using UTI data on Spreadsheets to using Google Earth and Commercial options like ESRI and Hexagongeospatial.
GIS is a niche area – Good talent in this area tends to be complex industries like oil and gas or utilities. The availability of talent for other industries is one of the main constraints in leveraging GIS systems. Also, implementing GIS systems involve investment decisions as the systems are not exactly cheap.