Facility Mapping

Facility Mapping Solutions

When it comes to mapping facilities, GBA has developed a unique solution using innovative technology. Facilities have thousands of underground and above-ground assets creating a complex network of utilities and infrastructure. When these assets are not tracked in a comprehensive database, it becomes a challenge for all members of an organization to easily access information. GBA’s facility mapping services provide a turn-key solution that puts access to asset information at an owner’s fingertips. Whether it is used for future improvement planning or as an aid to quickly locate a defective water pipe, GBA will create an asset database that connects an owner to the information they need.

Capturing Assets
Comparison of UAS imagery and traditional.
UAS (bottom) provides a clearer view for owners compared to traditional imagery.

Each facility mapping project begins with capturing high-resolution aerial imagery of the site with an unmanned aerial system (UAS). UAS imagery increases the accuracy of the final product by producing survey-grade aerial imagery. For example, GBA can place valve or structure points directly on top of the feature within the imagery. UAS imagery pairs well with the GIS software used in facility mapping.

The data collection phase is the most crucial part of the facility mapping process. Here, GBA reviews plans and detailed documents for data, which is provided by the client, to include in the facility’s GIS database. The types of data that are generally included are pipe type, pipe diameter, pipe material. data source, contract or plan information and year. Similar data is collected for structures and assets such as manholes, valves and electrical structures.

Map Development

Next, GBA uses GIS software to georeference the provided plans to known features on the survey-grade aerial imagery, such as building corners. Once positioned, the digitization in GIS can begin. Data is added to each line and point mapped from the plan sheets. As GBA maps several contracts or plans, it quickly becomes apparent just how many assets are beneath the client’s feet. An added benefit of using GIS software is that it can be linked to most well-known asset management programs.

During the map development stage, GBA works to fill gaps of knowledge and provide a full picture of assets for an owner. Many surface features mapped from construction plans are not always visible in the imagery, and not every utility cover visible in the aerial imagery is included in a plan set, which can require additional investigation. To address data gaps in the resulting GIS database, GBA schedules time on-site to discuss known data gaps with the client. Many of these gaps can be addressed with on-site interviews with facility personnel, while other gaps take field investigations to uncover the answer. These gaps may include features that were installed without records. Field investigations may include metal detecting, utility potholing or dye testing. After interviews and investigations are complete GBA incorporates these updates into the GIS database.

Delivering Data
Screenshot of facility mapping application
The final web application compiles gathered information into one database.

After the digitization in GIS is completed with QA/QC, the GIS database is ready to be published to a web-based mapping application. GBA’s GIS specialists customize a web-based map to meet the client’s needs. The application can be used on any device with a network or cellular connection and a web browser. The web application not only includes GIS vector data mapped from the plans, but each feature contains links to view PDF sets of the plans if more information is desired. The application’s mobility makes it a useful tool for employees at all levels of an organization. Once complete, the client has a product that allows them to access important asset and utility information from the comfort of their office chair, standing next to an open trench looking at an exposed pipe or in a conference room discussing potential future facility improvements.

Let GBA Map It For You

Our team of facility mapping experts can serve owners in a range of industries in both the private and public sector. Our scalable service can provide benefits for any size facility. Additionally, creating an asset database built from years of plan sheets and institutional knowledge will streamline communication and information sharing at your organization.

Are you ready to take the next step to improve your facility’s operations? Contact us to learn how GBA can create a remarkable solution for you.