HxGN SmartNet for Highway Asset Collection

HxGN SmartNet - Satellite Positioning Services for Highway asset data collection

Reading Borough Council’s Highway department manages 436km of roads and footways in UK which includes thousands of assets regularly visited by multiple highway inspectors and operatives throughout their lifetime. All relevant information about each asset is stored and controlled in an enterprise Facilities Management (FM) database. The current database includes non-standard address entries which cannot provide a recognisable spatial reference.

UKPipeline were contracted by Reading Borough Council to carry out a comprehensive survey providing accurate location and attribute data for of all the street lighting, illuminated equipment and gullies within the borough.

UKPipeline was established in 2001 and supply engineering, survey, GIS and management services to asset owners, operators and contractors. The UKPipeline survey system provides a cost effective solution for the collection of data rich information in the urban enviroment, providing accurate information that is critical to the success of every asset management system.

Project Planning and Requirements

Reading Borough Council’s survey information was to be incorporated into an improved FM database to facilitate their planned move to a location based management system. To assure data integrity it was decided at an early stage that, rather than checking and modifying existing data, a complete new dataset would be collected. Every asset was to be surveyed systematically, road by road, and the existing database used to compare the results.

Reading Borough Council utilised Ordnance Survey mapping within their enterprise GIS and the survey required a relative accuracy of +/- 0.5m. Due to the nature of the data and the required accuracy it was identified at an early stage that a physical survey would prove more cost effective than vehicle mounted remote scanning. This enabled all of the attribute data to be recorded in a single visit by a single surveyor.

Rich Asset Data with Leica Zeno

GIS For such a large area survey, with high volumes of data and work in all weathers the choice of the right survey equipment was essential. UKPipeline selected Leica Zeno 10 3.5G handheld GNSS/GIS using Zeno Field software due to its compatibility with the existing Esri based GIS, its excellent mobility and screen performance, as well as the reliable technical support that is essential when adopting new equipment into a business or project. A key element was to ensure rich asset detail was captured at the point of survey, making sure all data could be captured in a single visit. The integrated 2 megapixel camera on the Zeno 10 was invaluable for internal quality processes and assessments, and enabled the staff in the office to understand and see exactly what assets those in therfield saw, making it easier for them to work together and ensure the right data was captured at the time. This meant revisits were eliminated, minimising costs and delivering datasets without delay. The SmartNet DGNSS Network correction service was used to meet the field data collection accuracy requirements requested by the client. It was chosen as it provides reliable real-time corrections via the internet as well as efficient and secure access to data for post processing if required.

Efficient Workflow

A single spatial database was designed and Leica Zeno Office software was used to create and manage a database containing all mandatory attribute fields requested by the client as well as other information such as survey notes and site photographs. Data consistency was recognised as essential and dedicated workflows were identified for each asset type. Unique survey forms were created which included mandatory field entries and drop down lists to improve data quality and speed of collection. The entire borough was surveyed by a specialist team of surveyors who collected 36,000 assets in six weeks.

Easy Workflow

On completion of data collection for each day, the Zeno Office ‘EasyIn’ workflow was used to update the database and a new project using ‘EasyOut’ completed. This ensured that each survey team member had access to the latest data to avoid duplication and also, for data security, allowed daily backup to the main office and UKPipeline’s cloud service provider.

Data Screening and Analysing

On completion of the field work, a comprehensive quality audit was applied to measure the overall accuracy of the data. This involved data screening on multiple levels; as well as sample bench marking against the existing FM database and, where necessary, review against Google Earth Street View. By creating a KML overlay, Google Earth Street View proved an effective tool in screening the data from a third point of reference where discrepancies could be very quickly inspected and analysed.

To corroborate the results five areas were selected at random for re-survey. From a representative sample of approximately 5% of the overall survey data an error rate of approximately 2% was found.

Less than 3 months after contract award the client received a comprehensive spatially enabled data set, which exceeded their requirements in terms of quality, cost and duration.