GIS technology is on the rise in a field which has been dominated by CAD software and now BIM technology. GIS is increasingly viewed as a valuable tool that can supplement the capabilities of these other two systems. If you want to compare your project's data to other aspects of the environment, like an aerial photo, a site's topography, soil types, slopes, or other nearby projects, GIS provides an intuitive platform to do that.
GIS tends to play a useful role on large, regional construction projects. GIS can be used to not only share real-time information regarding the status of various construction tasks at a granular level, but it can also convey information about the progress of project phases. This information can easily go mobile and be brought into the field due to recent advances in hardware and robust cellular networks able to process large amounts of data.
Lean Construction Management principals are rapidly becoming integral in many major construction jobs. Many firms have a “Lean Advocate” who works toward implementing Lean concepts. GIS helps teams fulfill many of the major tenets of lean construction. Lean Construction is modeled after Lean Manufacturing principles, used and promoted by Toyota as the Toyota Production System (TPS). The overarching goals are to maximize value by reducing waste. Traditional wastes are as follows:
- Unnecessary transport or conveyance
- Over-processing or incorrect processing
- Excess inventory
- Latent skill
On construction jobs with a regional scope, using a GIS to streamline communication across an enterprise empowers all stakeholders (workcrews, managers, tradesman, agencies) to get the information they need to make the best decisions. Examples of applications where GIS can be useful are asphalt overlay, streetlight conversions and high speed rail construction. Creating an interactive map as a platform to communicate has proven to be very effective at reducing inefficiencies, getting the most out of fieldcrews and creating a pull-production environment, where systems are organized to deliver products and services “just-in-time.”
Evari has used GIS on regional construction jobs like a $10 Million Asphalt Overlay project which involved paving streets across the city of San Diego. GIS was used to clearly define areas where work was to be done allowing for much more accurate estimates of project supplies and work crew time needed to complete project tasks.