Entering 2021, we highlighted some of the trends and themes we expect to see across civil infrastructure over the coming year. Of these, common visualisation, collaboration and decarbonisation come out top of mind for an industry focused on resetting, recovering, rebuilding and reimagining a better-built future. For the first blog in our 2021 predictions series, we take a look at what’s driving the next wave in civil infrastructure: common visualisation.
Visualising and communicating data is an incredibly important aspect of civil infrastructure work. A visualisation platform, paired with engineering-grade data, has the power to unlock tremendous project efficiency and sustainability when applied at scale, at every stage of the asset lifecycle.
Given the size of many project areas and the rapid development of construction sites, it can take teams months to digitise a large site manually and extract the relevant information fundamental to making decisions. Historically, blueprints, paperwork, and updates have been recorded using pen and paper and passed around manually or communicated via phone calls. A system like this can be rife with information silos which, in turn, cause mistakes that can lead to rework, project delays, and cost overruns. With such high volumes of traditional form filling and paper worksheets, as well as documents and data stuck on hard drives, a more efficient and effective approach to updating and communicating site progress is required.
For construction workers who have experienced any struggle to access or share information, development in platforms over the past few years have been a hugely positive step forward. Many construction companies have begun incorporating new technologies into their daily activities around centralising and visualising project data in one collaborative and accessible online workspace.
Being able to visualise data in a single common platform, accessible by all who need access to data, will be fundamental to civil infrastructure in 2021. A step up from a common data environment, a common visualisation not only centralises all infrastructure data in one place but can make it more usable and understandable. By bringing a live site or project online and translating it into an accurate digital copy, any stakeholder on a project can surface the data required to make important decisions at the right time. This not only means better analysis but also greater transparency in all operations and processes.
It’s the next wave of visualisation platforms that will underpin data-led transformation for the industry that is building the economy of the future. Aggregating and integrating data in one place from across infrastructure systems, in a single platform, will enable digital representations of the real world to drive smarter decisions, greater efficiency, and enable companies to control costs while increasing revenues and laying the foundation for a more sustainable built environment.
There is also a compelling economic benefit to adopting a common visualisation platform, and Sensat expects to see many companies moving in this direction in 2021. Not only does this type of platform have the ability to remove data barriers and help companies better use the information at its fingertips, it also helps users navigate a project or site in real-time through a digital replica, making decisions easier and more effective.
Visualisations derived from drone topographical data allow anyone in your team to work with a visual and intuitive 3D representation of your project–sharing snapshots of a site with stakeholders and clients to seamlessly communicate progress on a project’s status, and easily detect problems. Topographic data hosted on cloud-based visualisation platforms, like Sensat’s, enables vital collaboration and information exchange where traditional systems have been stretched.
For example, in Sensat’s common visualisation platform, it’s possible to get access to all above and below ground data and information, including:
Geospatial and topographic site information
Integration of buried services and below-ground utilities
Masterplan models and BIM integration of all associated commercial
Residential structures, and all engineering design information for the associated infrastructure.
This ultimately gives civil infrastructure companies a single source of truth (SSOT) of a development site or project, so everyone with a project interest can work on the most up-to-date information to create a holistic project overview that can be shared across teams.