Industry News

Innovative Techniques in GIS and Mapping

Advisian, the independent consulting business line of the WorleyParsons Group a global engineering company, has seen successful project delivery thanks to its innovative techniques in GIS and Mapping utilized across a range of different project scopes.

The in-house Geomatics team from Advisian’s Geoscience’s group has developed a web-based GIS mapping viewer for visualizing all spatial data across the project using a portal accessible from any standard browser. The viewer is a combination of background satellite and aerial imagery and raster elevation models, project design, construction or operational data and other integrated data such as media files and documents, all georeferenced and symbolized in a single web portal to be readily digestible by a variety of users.

The viewer works by hosting enterprise database servers which store data which is referenced in the interface. It acts as a normal web page in that a user types in the web page (URL) to direct the data retrieval from a particular server on a global network. The user is blocked unless they have the correct username and password. The beauty of the interface is that the user does not need to be on the company’s own network or in any way connected to the company, just that their username and password are correct.

The web GIS viewer performs a number of services:

  • Rapid data retrieval and presentation; every member of the project team now has a self-service approach to design questions, basic analysis and printing which dramatically reduces turnaround times.
  • Ensures the consistency of data requests, and that data is managed in a standardized way.
  • Ensures that everyone accesses the latest datasets.
  • Ensures that datasets are geographically referenced to ensure they are spatially accurate, in turn allowing measurements to be accurate.

Advisian’s Geomatics UK Practice Manager Nick Vincent explains the importance of the system, “The software ensures that there is only one source for data across the project, which is hugely important to guarantee up-to-date, accurate and contextual information.”

All data is stored in a layered way, with each dataset representing a layer. Users can toggle which layers are displayed by using the table of contents. The user interface is specifically designed to be intuitive to non-technical users but with enough functionality to ensure that specialist users have access to the tools that they need.

Traditional techniques of mapping such as operator-based GIS or paper based techniques are very slow and the primary issue the client faces is the time lag before updates are enacted.

A key benefit to the web viewer is the integration of various forms of data and multimedia and documents into a single viewer, using geographical context as the key identifier.

The viewer is also highly customizable depending on the project. It can be modified not only on a project-by-project basis, but also at any stage from early design through to operations. Interface toolsets can be activated for applicable stages. Additionally, the system can be adapted to certain users, for example managers who will have different information requirements to engineers.

The mapping tool was utilized on a major offshore pipeline project for a tier one operator. The web GIS viewer was very successful and registered hundreds of log-ons per month, both Advisian and WorleyParsons personnel and operator stakeholders for a project of around 100 staff, and continually increased as the project developed.

The key benefit was that users could interrogate every pipeline asset that would traditionally be shown on an alignment sheet, to find out all the information known about it, such as asset type, size, installation information, etc.

The software was also successfully applied to a coastal LNG plant where unexploded ordnance (UXO) was a real issue. Near-live updates were performed to reflect the progress of site clearance.

On a day-by-day basis, the site area was updated to show the sub-areas that were cleared, being cleared or had yet to be cleared.

This provided a real-time model giving clarity on which areas were clear for access and, importantly, which weren’t accessible, enabling the project to manage work-fronts safely and effectively.

For more information, visit website www.advisian.com

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