Convergence of Capital Planning and GIS: Smart Asset Management
Integrating geospatial data into public works can help a city streamline its municipal operations and boost productivity by ensuring field crews and their managers always have the most updated data available. But what if you require a system that also helps you plan capital spending? You may arrive at something similar to Ontario, Canada’s City of Hamilton’s Integrated Right-of-Way Infrastructure Support System, or IRISS, for short, which is built on Intergraph’s GeoMedia technology. Hamilton presented IRISS at HxGN LIVE 2013, Hexagon’s annual international conference, which was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
IRISS provides a spatial and integrated approach to coordinating water, sewer, and road projects, taking into account each asset’s service level, financial risks in rehabilitation, and estimated cost of replacement. Through simulation, it optimizes every dollar spent, thus, simplifying the decision-making process. By assimilating all right-of-way requirements, Hamilton can build an optimized infrastructure program (or many) that makes sound financial sense and adheres to asset management best practices.
Having the ability to perform simulations against the City’s assets – incorporating a multitude of asset degradation, risk, and financial parameters along with management decisions – and then visualize and analyze the results within the GIS provides immense benefit. For instance, IRISS helps save money by coordinating work along individual right-of-way segments so as to avoid reworking the same section of road multiple times (e.g., replacing a sewer main and then re-paving the road above at one time, rather than executing these tasks in reverse order a year apart). Similarly, the geospatial component helps to develop long-term budgets through visual identification of potential projects, which may otherwise not be readily detected or planned in advance. Ultimately, the cost savings inherent in the utilization of this technology means cities can use the same number of tax dollars to maintain more assets or better maintain existing ones.
What is the True Goal of Asset Management?
While ‘cost-savings’ is an obvious answer, it is no more than a result. Perhaps the goal should be maximizing ‘asset sustainability.’ Saving money comes from that. And smart technology allows it to happen.