For the first AGI Asset Management SIG event of 2017, we touched upon data standards, and specifically PAS 128 (Specification for underground utility detection, verification and location) and 256 (Buried assets – Collection, recording and sharing of location information data – Code of Practice).
We had two great speakers in Dr Marc Hobell (Pitney Bowes) who has until recently chaired the Institution of Chartered Engineers (ICE) “Geospatial Engineering Panel”. The panel has developed PAS 128 (Underground Utility Detection, Verification and Location) and is currently developing PAS 256 (Buried Services – collection, recording and sharing of location information), due for release in March 2017. Marc gave an overview of the standards, which provides an important step towards companies with underground utilities being able to capture data to a measurable standard, and to start holding that data in such a format that it can be effectively shared. PAS 256 won’t be the final standard in the series, as the panel seek to infill gaps.
Our second speaker was David Varley of AECOM Ltd. David is a surveyor undertaking utility detection across the UK, and actively applying the PAS 128 standard. The standards appeared simple to apply, and the assignment of detection quality is clear and simple. David focused on Type B surveys, described some of the technologies available to the industry, including “Cat and Gennny” and Ground Penetrating Radar units and how the results are post-processed to turn this data into useable information.
David identified that the lack of consistency in being able to share data captured using the PAS 128 standard was a frustration, but was hopeful that PAS 256 would go some way to resolve that.
David explained to us that with improved accuracy and precision when detecting underground utilities, the expense of the highest standard of detection was obviously much more substantial. However, the benefit of the standard could support organisations in making much better commercial decisions, particularly when excavating near underground utilities. No one wants the expense of repairing a damaged service, and the reputational damage could ultimately lead to contractors not being allowed to operate on particular sites.
The importance of users understanding the standards was highlighted as an action for all of us who manage spatial data. We may be able to store data captured to a specific standard, but without wider appreciation, the data behind the line that appears on a map will be significantly devalued.
A bit about the Asset Management SIG…
Firstly, we would also like to thank Steven Eglinton who has chaired the group for the last 5 years; helping to keep the group relevant and active. He has stepped down as chair due to his recent election as the AGI Council’s Vice Chair.
Beyond the subject matter of the seminar, the group also held a workshop to generate ideas for future events; a number of themes came to the fore, including: Whole Life Asset Management, Soft Infrastructure and the use of Open Data within asset management.
Further to seminars, we are seeking to create content, whether this be articles, white papers or presentations. Off the back of a seminar in 2016, we have written a paper titled “The Geospatial Professional’s Role in on site safety” which we will be publishing this year and importantly, looking for our membership to join us in “exploring how we calculate and visualise risk and use spatial and temporal analysis to reduce and report on site risk exposure”.
We will also be launching one further opportunity to contribute towards papers during 2017, reviewing the industry’s ability to meet data management needs for effective asset resilience.