Uncovering the Value of GIS-Enabled Construction Inspection

Uncovering the Value of GIS-Enabled Construction Inspection
Uncovering the Value of GIS-Enabled Construction Inspection
Like many other industries, construction is under increasing pressure to perform faster and more accurately. GIS technology has several use cases in construction inspections to help your business achieve these goals. It supports the digital transformation of construction workflows, streamlining operations, mitigating risks, and connecting team members. It streamlines projects and helps teams meet stringent deadlines without sacrificing work quality. 

In today's rapidly evolving digital landscape, revolutionary technologies across industries are having an effect. In construction, geographic information system (GIS) inspections elevate project operations. Instead of relying on projection and estimations, construction professionals can build a detailed digital infrastructure capturing precise, geo-located construction project data during inspection. 

Like many other industries, construction is under increasing pressure to perform faster and more accurately. GIS technology has several use cases in construction inspections to help your business achieve these goals. It supports the digital transformation of construction workflows, streamlining operations, mitigating risks, and connecting team members. It streamlines projects and helps teams meet stringent deadlines without sacrificing work quality. 

What Is GIS-Enabled Construction Inspection?

GIS construction inspections leverage advanced technology to integrate geographical data with construction information. A GIS construction inspection provides geo-located construction project data, enabling you to visualize, analyze, and manage projects. During a construction inspection, the inspector can access detailed maps, project data, and on-site conditions in real time. 

Mapping and GIS software allows you to overlay construction data on geographic maps, identify issues, track progress, and make informed decisions quickly. GIS technology is a framework for collecting, analyzing, managing, and sharing location information between teams. This transparency ensures that construction activities comply with specifications and regulations. GIS technology allows you to map out and assess various points of interest, so it is suitable for many applications. 

GIS technology has the following uses:

  • Buffering: The buffering process creates zones within specified distances, allowing for detailed proximity analysis — the ability to visualize where points of interest are in relation to each other.
  • Creating visual representations of large areas: Simple GIS analysis allows you to overlay various data over different themes. For example, you could gather information on the different soil types at a construction site.
  • Finding clusters: GIS systems work with multiple algorithms to group sets of unrelated points.
  • Mapping data: GIS was initially developed to allow people to visualize data on a map. GIS transforms data into a mapped format that users can easily understand, allowing them to understand patterns and relationships on a construction site.

The Advantages of GIS in Construction

GIS is an established technology that is relatively new to construction. It is quickly becoming a popular option for gathering information and making informed decisions due to its many benefits in construction applications. Some of the many advantages of GIS in construction include:

GIS Automatically Digitizes Relevant Data

  • Enhanced accuracy and efficiency: Connecting geo-location data to your project pay items increases field efficiency with automated inspection workflows, providing asset management programs with the necessary digital content. Real-time data visualization and analysis support streamlined decision-making, allowing you to meet project deadlines without sacrificing accuracy.
  • Streamlined project management and quality control: GIS applications allow you to monitor every aspect of a project's progress or maintenance, providing quality information on spatial data. Tracking changes in conditions over time means you can make up-to-date decisions, maintain streamlined workflows, and boost project quality. Managers know the exact status of a project at any time, allowing them to improve project quality and conserve resources wherever possible.
  • Improved cost savings and return on investment (ROI): By better understanding travel costs and asset conditions, GIS can help you optimize maintenance strategies and resource allocation, saving long-term costs. Predictive analytics of required maintenance and project downtime simplify planning and boost your return through long-term planning.
  • Elevated risk mitigation and enhanced safety measures: GIS technology can help you identify potential hazards early in construction, mitigate risks, and inform your safety protocols.
  • Simplified environmental sustainability and compliance: GIS automatically digitizes the relevant data on construction projects, creating detailed compliance records in real time. These records also support long-term planning and sustainability objectives by making it easier to identify locations of interest and assess the environmental impact of construction on these areas. The information gathered from GIS software allows you to evaluate factors like habitat fragmentation, land use, and water quality to make informed decisions about reducing your environmental impact.

Implementing GIS Technology in Construction Inspection

GIS technology can revolutionize construction projects, boosting efficiency, accuracy, and profitability. It has several use cases in construction, including: 

  • Geographical analysis: GIS software allows you to analyze geological data that could benefit project planning and development. Information on elements like soil, properties, and groundwater conditions, alongside the related spatial data, facilitates identifying risks and opportunities.
  • Planning and design: GIS is an invaluable tool for engineering and planning teams in the design phase. It allows you to create detailed maps incorporating existing infrastructure and proximity analysis. You can use this information for large-scale construction, such as road networks and utility systems.
  • Site analysis: GIS mapping can help determine a site's suitability for construction projects. Teams can analyze spatial data alongside topography, soil composition, hydrology, and environmental constraints to determine whether a site suits a specific project.

Challenges and Opportunities in GIS Implementation

As a relatively new technology, GIS will likely encounter some challenges during the adoption phase, including:

  • Upfront investment: GIS technology represents a significant upfront investment. You must budget for hardware and software costs and training personnel to use the equipment. While the investment is substantial, GIS's value outweighs the costs and can result in considerable long-term savings.
  • Data inconsistencies: GIS tools are only as effective as your data. If your data is inconsistent or unreliable, it could significantly affect your decision-making. Geospatial data is often siloed, and every city, state, and country has its own data. This lack of data information across systems represents a significant challenge, making comparing data across geographic areas challenging. Data management services are essential to bridge this gap and ensure you only work from the most pertinent information.
  • Unfamiliar technology: Oftentimes, GIS technology can be daunting for field personnel to implement because it is unfamiliar to them. Being unsure of the technology and how that change will affect their processes is a key reason why many projects fall behind in terms of innovative solutions.

Despite these challenges, GIS offers significant value across many construction industries, especially for prime contractors. The GIS systems can take all the relevant data from the different sub-trades involved in a project and compile it to give an accurate representation of the job site as a whole.

You can streamline GIS technology implementation in your construction projects with the following tips: 

  • Prioritize the user experience: GIS solutions can transform your construction operations only if your team can use the technology easily. Consider testing different options for hardware and software usability.
  • Focus on awareness and education: Exposing your team to GIS technology and its benefits will help advance adoption rates within your business.
  • Provide training and certification: GIS training is critical for successful implementation. Ensure your teams have access to the relevant GIS certification programs and training workshops to get maximum value from your investment. The relevant team members should understand basic GIS information, cartography, and database management to leverage the technology fully. As GIS technology grows and evolves, ongoing training and support can keep your business a step ahead of competitors. 

Leverage Duncan-Parnell's Expertise

Leverage Duncan-Parnell's Extensive Expertise for Your GIS Needs

The latest technologies can help your business stay ahead of the curve and enhance communication with investors. GIS-enabled inspections can change how you operate, provided you partner with experts who can help you maximize the technology's benefits. As one of the leading distributors of technology products and services for the construction, engineering, survey, and design industries, we can equip you with the technology and skills you need to maintain a competitive edge.  

We have identified common challenges in GIS integration and have the skills and expertise to address them with cost-effective and efficient technology solutions. Successful projects start here. Contact us today to learn more about GIS-enabled inspections for your next construction project.

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