Gateway to collaboration
Gateway to collaboration
“One drive through with the Trimble MX9 Mobile Mapping system equals 4 or 5 walked surveys which significantly reduces the carbon footprint because there is less travel to and from the site.”
Michael Ambrose (Technical Lead on the National Highways Concrete Roads Programme)
In our first article on the National Highways Concrete Roads Programme, we took a close look at how and why Trimble’s MX9 Mobile Mapping system is being used as part of the organisation’s strategy to improve the inspection and maintenance of concrete roads through data driven technology.
In this, our second article, we will be examining why the KOREC Portal was a deciding factor in the decision to go with KOREC and Trimble technology. We’ll also be looking at how the portal is being used to address three key questions for National Highways:
How can we handle and share the dense data generated by mobile mapping systems?
How can we use this data in the office for better collaboration?
How can we use this data in the field for greater efficiency?
Handling dense pointcloud imagery
National Highways cited the superior functionality of the KOREC developed desktop portal as one of the reasons why KOREC was selected to supply technology for the Concrete Roads Programme. The KOREC Portal is unique in its ability to handle securely the large, dense point clouds generated by any manufacturer’s mobile mapping system. This is achieved via the cloud (where information is stored on internet servers rather than your computer’s hard drive) which allows access to all permitted stakeholders across an organisation. The alternative to handling this vast amount of data would be through the use of hard disks and the costly licensed software required for managing it.
The standout benefit of using the KOREC portal is that it allows all stakeholders to work from a single, current data source, all held in one place and accessible from anywhere with internet access. The easy access to the portal and its attendant functionality is a key aspect in assisting full collaboration between all those working on the Concrete Roads Programme.
Using the portal and a useful customisation
Leveraging the newly collected digital data was of primary importance for National Highways. In conjunction with KOREC, a straightforward but highly functional workflow was developed to enable best use of the data by all stakeholders. Once processed and cleaned, the point cloud, video imagery and photos captured by the Trimble Mobile MX9 system (or from other manufacturer’s systems) are uploaded to the portal where the initial view is of a map of the UK clearly showing where the mobile mapping surveys have been completed. On the right of the screen is a dropdown menu for zooming in and out of specific schemes which are identified in blue on the map. An additional advantage, is that because National Highways has an OS MasterMap license, the KOREC Portal can incorporate these background maps through its managed service for even clearer viewing. All users can see and carry out basic measurements and interrogations of this data.
Previous to the introduction of a digital system, it was extremely hard for National Highways to record useful information about each defect. This meant that the concrete roads team lacked the sort of historical information that would allow them to build up a record of how, when and by whom each defect was repaired. The new system will ensure that all attribute information attached to each defect will be easily accessible for interrogation, viewing etc.
For example, in the portal a designer can examine a section of road that has been surveyed and using one of the portal tools, draw around an area with defects, extract them and examine each one from the video and photographic imagery before deciding on the best type of repair. The record will also bring up details of any previous work on that defect. Once the repair has been validated, the designer can then upload this information back into the portal in preparation for it to be shared to a mobile device. On receiving the information, a remote contractor can use it to locate the defect and carry out the agreed format of the work.
The dashboard can also display information in many different formats, such as pie charts, making it easy to interpret by everyone in the organisation. All the project progress dashboards are customised to National Highways specifications for clearer interpretation. For example, each classification of defect is marked in its own colour on the map so that it is instantly recognisable.
Automated shift reports
However, one of the biggest benefits for National Highways in terms of time saved is the portal’s automated generation of shift reports from information gathered on the KOREC Capture Roadway app out in the field. This simple automated feature can save hours of office time by assimilating all the information captured by the field app into a report that can sometimes be 200 pages long. This PDF or word document can include information on scheme details, contractor information, visitor notes, weather reports, incidents and POI summaries, repairs, maps, photos etc.
The automated shift reports are a vital part of the new workflow as is the field data capture that enables their generation. Therefore our final article will look at the field-based side of the programme including the advantages of a 360° workflow that allows for real-time data collection and easy transfer of this information between the field and office. We’ll also take a further look at automated shift report generation, handling of health and safety information and lone worker functionality.