First publishedin World Highways
Faster and safer utilities works are the benefit of innovative data sharing moves – Mike Woof writes
Utilities works in urban areas can cause major problems with regard to traffic congestion, as well as posing key safety issues for road users and site workers. Better planning of utilities operations can help tackle congestion and prevent jams, while also ensuring that on-site personnel have a safer working environment.
To ensure that site workers know the exact location of buried utilities, comprehensive mapping operations that provide access to accurate data are vital. These speed working and cut traffic delays, while reducing the risk of accidental electricity cable-strikes or damage to gas pipes, which can be extremely dangerous for site workers. In addition, the risk of flooding from striking water mains or causing Internet and communications blackouts from damage to fibre optic links can be avoided.
In the US, contractors can call up a central information centre to find out details of buried utilities. However in the UK this has now gone one step further with the availability of information to all interested parties on buried utilities being placed on-line.
This innovative approach to the management of utilities works is the result of a partnership that has produced the Intelligent Trench. The novel underground mapping solution is also being combined with PelicanCorp
’s beforeUdig service to deliver a comprehensive and accurate national record-sharing service for underground assets in the UK. The new no-charge service allows local authorities and contractors to use the Intelligent Trench portal to access utility plan information directly from the portal’s data base, as well as to initiate utility plan requests for additional plan information through the beforeUdig service.
And the data is available through a one-stop operation. The service provides asset data quickly and efficiently, saving time and money for all stakeholders, helps improve the on-site safety of workers, and protects underground assets from accidental damage. Steve Voller, industry solutions director for Bentley Systems
, representing Intelligent Trench, and Marcus Edwards, managing director of PelicanCorp (UK), have jointly stated that the service has been developed to meet the need for a solution combining direct access to underground asset data using the Intelligent Trench portal and an automated plan request service. The web portal is based on Exor
technology, which is part of Bentley’s AssetWise platform for asset lifecycle management. With this combined service, planners or contractors requiring information about these assets can reduce the time required to source key data. As a result, they reduce their costs and benefit from the timely delivery of the location records they require.
Intelligent Trench combines advanced radio frequency identification (RFID) asset marking from 3M
, field-based GPS data collection software from Trac-ID
, a web portal and Exor spatial asset data base from Bentley Systems, and industry best practices, such as non-invasive surveys, from Infotec. Together, these technologies enable every excavation to be accurately and cost-effectively recorded, photographed, and mapped on a web portal. Access to the stored data is provided free of charge to registered users.