GIS technology has revolutionized the world of information management and has become the perfect ally of utility companies. Efficiency, speed, cost reduction, among others are the main benefits of using it, hence the GIS is a technology with a great future ahead.
Today, we face an exponential growth of information generated daily; hence the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) play a fundamental role in providing the necessary infrastructure for institutions and enterprises to improve management and strategic knowledge of its surroundings from such information.
Thus, this allows having location information, status, trend, routes, guidelines and/or models. Therefore, GIS technology has become a perfect ally of utility companies. And, in the field of utilities providers, such as gas, electricity or water, it is vital that there is an optimum use of its resources.
All of this, with the main aim to achieve maximum efficiency in its operation and to improve management processes and decision-making, mitigating costs and therefore resources for these companies. We tell you how.
GIS technology benefits for utility companies
GIS technology can be used in different application areas. In other words, they can be adapted to utility companies to achieve different objectives.
Some examples are a better planning in land use; the use of natural resources, optimization in environmental analysis or better urban planning, transportation or logistics.
GIS technology is therefore, an established tool in the sector of large utility companies, because it allows them to manage network infrastructure assets (for example, wind farms, piped water distribution or fibre optics), through of a data model connected to the entire corporate structure.
Thus, it is possible to make operational and business decisions relying on a single source of real information and constantly updated, thanks to the GIS technology.
It is also possible to use this GIS technology with other business management programs to improve the effectiveness and operational efficiency and increase flexibility to face business changes. In short, as we said above, it is important because its main objective is to take the best business decision.
In this sense, it is concluded that the technology improves efficiency utilities project, since production processes are simplified: resources are optimized; increasing thus, productivity; process costs are reduced and ultimately, competitiveness is promoted.
Moreover, thanks to the GIS technology, we have clear and relevant information, and that is why operational efficiency is improved due to reduced operating costs and an effectively answer to the requirements of users or customers.
On the other hand, not only traditional GIS technology is used in recent years, but we have been moving towards mobile GIS applications, which can operate connected or eventually disconnected.
The main purpose of this mobile GIS technology is to allow updating field data on many occasions, in real time, expediting the process flows.
Showcase of GIS Technologies for Utilities: Akvo
GIS technology is so important in the utilities, therefore companies have begun to emerge, making a faster development this field. In fact, they are making a “revolution” in the world of mapping, through the data and information are continuously generated, it is the main objective of the Spanish startup CARTO.
In short, what the company intends is to offer, by the GIS, a simple way to extract geo-data (for example, from sensors or other equipment provided by the users themselves) and represent them on a map.
It is a tool in the cloud to make maps, which allows visualizing, analyzing and storing geospatial data more easily and effectively.
Geographica develops powerful tools to organize, understand and explain the information generated, fully adapted to each person, event or company. One of the success stories is Akvo: a platform that combines and analyzed geographic information by business information, for a better and effective management of water utilities.
Among its main features include versatile data exchange, combining GIS information with commercial and Big Data or continued use of analysis tools, providing an appropriate analysis of the state of infrastructures and forecast future investments.
It should be noted that this analysis is done in real time, which would lead, for example, learning first-hand and in real-time a possible case of breakdown, leakage of water discharges…
To represent all this information, Akvo uses extensive graphics and displaying graphically data and business indicators. All this is done by multiple platforms, integrating desktop, web and mobile.
Using Akvo, calculations analysis and management are faster, because proprietary algorithms are used; consequently, increasing productivity. Another benefit of this platform is that the high costs of GIS solutions are considerably reduced, thereby, reducing the process costs.
And as we discussed above, Akvo uses the latest technology in visualization and information management, as well as using CARTO, QGIS or D3JS. In short, this tool is directed to architectural firms, universities, environmental companies, Administration, scientists … in order to integrate the data of various kinds (economic, geopolitical, demographic, urban …) provided by GIS technology.
The future of GIS technology
In short, we are in the Age of Big Data. We are surrounded by information, data and connected devices, which in some circumstances may be sensors. Urban environments are full of sensors that can give us information, and so, we have to give them sense. The ability to use GIS technology is completely changing information management.
GIS technology is continually progressing. In fact, we can conclude that it has become the geographical infrastructure of “everything”. Ask capabilities and display geographic data are easier to find every day; and as time passes, this technology is cheaper and accessible to anyone in the world, hence its current importance.
Many disciplines have benefited (and are benefiting) from the GIS technology, including supply utility companies, being, in this case, one of the sectors where could have multiple options of performance in the future.
And is that as we have seen, the benefits that GIS provides to utility companies are innumerable: cost reduction; increased productivity; calculations and information management more quickly and efficiently; promoting competitiveness… all with the firm intention to take the right operational and business decision.