A glimpse into Insight GIS’ latest Spatial Forum

by | Jun 3, 2024

The GIS industry has faced a number of challenges over the years. From resource constraints such as limited personnel, time, and money– many GIS professionals are forced to take on dual roles making it difficult to fully focus on GIS tasks. Despite these constraints, there is a large space of opportunity and performance enhancement within the industry, particularly in the government sector. 

Watch the full spatial forum here ->

At our most recent spatial forum last May 28, we addressed the various key insights and challenges facing the GIS industry today whilst highlighting the rich stories of individuals working within the industry every single day, namely Paul Markey from Sorell Council, Panika Puri from Insight GIS, and Dorset Council.

In addition to our discussion with our speakers, the spatial forum also touched on how Insight GIS has adapted to provide services across various platforms, including ESRI and Open Space. Moreover, we also tackled the integrative work we have done for local councils all across Australia. 

Below, read through some of the key highlights from our May 28 spatial forum: 

Waste collection service transformed: Sorell Council 

At Insight GIS’ May 28 spatial forum, Paul Markey from the Sorell Council explained how their waste collection service was transformed with the help of Insight GIS and Konect Waste Collection platform. 

The project began in 2016 to address issues with the council’s green and hard waste collection. Residents frequently called about missed pickups, often due to the waste not being put out on time or exceeding size limits. Without evidence, contractors had to return to collect the waste, causing inefficiencies.

The Sorell Council had previously used the Konect’s mobile data collection platform for fire abatement and decided to adapt it for waste collection. Initially, the process involved manual data entry every Friday, taking an hour and heavily relying on specific staff. Insight GIS was brought in to automate the process, which significantly reduced the workload.

Konect’s platform was user-friendly, allowing quick training for the waste contractor’s team. They used iPads to navigate and collect data, including taking photos where necessary. This streamlined process allowed for real-time monitoring and better customer support, as staff could see the status of collections and provide accurate information to residents. This led to fewer missed collections and more efficient service.

Additionally, Duri Bradshaw, a Senior Consultant at Insight GIS, discussed how they used FME to further streamline data flow between the booking system and Konect. Automating data handling with FME reduced the manual workload to a five-minute task on Fridays. The integration involved pre-processing data, automatic matching of property IDs, and handling discrepancies through fallbacks and automated emails. This setup improved efficiency and consistency, ensuring timely updates and minimal manual intervention.

The project resulted in happier residents due to improved service and the ability to leave specific instructions for waste collection. Insight GIS and FME’s automation transformed a cumbersome manual process into a streamlined, efficient system that the council and contractors prefer.

Data management and its performance with Panika Puri 

From Insight GIS, Panika Puri presented on data management and its importance, focusing on a recent project that highlighted various challenges. The project was urgent, time-constrained, and involved creating maps for a client’s council meeting after their GIS person left. Despite expectations of quick map production, it took seven weeks due to several data management issues:

  • Incomplete Data: Missing play spaces and associated facilities.
  • Missing Data: Lacking necessary spatial layers for facilities.
  • Mixed Formatting: Data in various formats required conversion.
  • Broken Workspaces: Original QGIS workspaces had incorrect file paths.
  • Unknown Versioning: Multiple copies of data sets without clear versioning.
  • Blank Data: Received data sets were empty.
  • Naming Convention: Poor naming made it hard to identify data layers.

These issues delayed the project, increased costs, and impacted other projects. The solutions involved addressing and communicating the issues with the client, requesting extensions, recreating data sets, and validating data thoroughly.

With this, Panika concluded that proper data management is crucial for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Ensuring data accuracy and consistency upfront could have significantly reduced the project timeframe and costs. The presentation emphasised the importance of data validation, consistent formatting, and clear versioning to avoid similar issues in future projects.

Infrastructure Maintenance Inspection Platform with Dorset Council

For the final segment of the spatial forum, Dorset Council presented a project involving Insight GIS for asset management. Dorset Council currently uses a paper-based system for inspecting its 685 km road network. The new project aims to transition to a cloud-based infrastructure management platform, enhancing the ability to capture, manage, and maintain civil infrastructure data efficiently. The system will use mobile devices for data collection, including photos and GPS attributes, and provide real-time updates, improving transparency and reducing reactive maintenance.

The platform, based on Konect, was developed by Insight GIS and is designed for location-based field data collection, creating maps, and managing custom workflows. It supports offline data capture, which is crucial for areas with poor mobile reception. Konect will streamline the process, enabling better planning, scheduling, and reporting, thus enhancing overall efficiency and safety.

Michael highlighted issues with the current system, such as lack of transparency and inefficiency in scheduling and addressing maintenance needs. The new platform will provide a more proactive approach, allowing for comprehensive visibility and management of road conditions. The project aims to reduce costs, improve service delivery, and ensure a safe road network by effectively prioritising and addressing maintenance needs based on a structured intervention level framework.

In summary, the spatial forum concluded with a discussion on the integration of Konect with existing systems like Maximo through APIs, its cost-effectiveness, and its potential to expand beyond road maintenance to other municipal assets.

Watch the full spatial forum here ->