Construction Tools and Trends

7 reasons to use GIS mapping in construction

GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping software, is a specialised tool that’s often used by Engineers and construction delivery teams to help you manage, analyse, and visualise geographical information related to your project.

This kind of software allows teams to capture, store, and study spatial data on virtual maps, which can then be used to improve ongoing plans and schedules on your site.

Why you should be using GIS mapping software in construction

1. Site analysis

When a project is first getting started, contractors and other stakeholders sometimes use GIS mapping tools to help figure out whether or not a potential site is suitable.

By analysing spatial data, teams can assess factors such as topography, geology, soil composition, hydrology, and environmental constraints. All of that information can then be taken into consideration when trying to figure out if the site is right for the planned project.

2. Planning and design

GIS software can be an extremely useful tool for planning and engineering teams during the design phase, as It allows you to create detailed maps, that incorporate things like existing infrastructure, and spatial relationships.

Teams can also use this information to aid in the design of road networks, utility systems, water distribution, and other infrastructure that needs to be considered as part of the project.


3. Better project management

Thanks to the data gathered from GIS software, planning and engineering teams in construction are better enabled to project management tasks that might need to be carried out in the future.

For example, if you needed acccess to work on a particular area, you’d be able to use GIS mapping to work out if that section falls within site boundaries.

Time frames — access to land (site boundaries) what land do we have access to so we can plan works that we have permission to enter.

Where can I work, what can I see and what’s around us?

Having this extra level of information also helps in coordinating key activities, tracking project progress, and managing resources (as mentioned above).

4. Improved resource management

Resource management is one of the many things that can be greatly improved with the kind of real-time mapping and spatial data that you get from GIS mapping software.

Because construction teams are able to build a better understanding of the site (and available spacing around things like infrastructure). They are able to improve:

  • The way equipment is deployed
  • How deliveries are tracked
  • Where people are allocated

And any generally get better at distributing resources. In turn, this leads to reduced spending and more efficient management.

5. Geographical analysis

GIS mapping software allows you to analyse and interrogate all kinds of geological data that could be beneficial to the planning and development of a project.

Information on things like soil properties, groundwater conditions, and other environmental factors (and the related spacial data) can all be used to identify potential risks and help make better planning decisions.

Globe spinning

6. Disaster management

Believe it or not, GIS mapping software plays a crucial role in aiding emergency response and reducing the risk of potential disasters (natural or otherwise) that could impact the project and the people working on it.

Construction teams can use GIS tools to help analyse areas that might be prone to natural disasters or may be close to potentially hazardous areas to help develop and identify critical infrastructure that may be impacted, or that has the potential to cause hazards themselves.

This information can also be used to aid in the development of things like evacuation plans. It can even be used during emergencies to provide real-time data visualisation to aid in response coordination and resource allocation.

7. Assess environmental impact

By now, we’re all well aware of how important it is to try and reduce carbon and improve the environmental impact of the construction industry. And as it happens, GIS mapping software is great for conducting environmental impact assessments (EIAs) which are used to assess and improve the environmental impact of your project.

With the information gathered from GIS software, contractors, owners, and stakeholders can then assess factors like land use, habitat fragmentation, water quality, and noise pollution. Then make more informed decisions on how to reduce the negative impact on the environment.

Introducing ArcGIS integration with Aphex

At the end of 2022, we added an ArcGIS (from Esri) integration into Aphex that allows users to use GIS mapping whilst building out their short-term schedules and lookahead plans.

As you can imagine, having that extra level of detail at your fingertips allows users to make much better plans without having to leave the app.

For those that aren’t familiar with ArcGIS, it’s one of the most popular GIS mapping applications available in the construction industry; and it comes fully kitted with a range of tools that help with spatial analysis, data management, collaboration, visualisation, and risk assessment.

With the ArcGIS integration, users can:

  • Build plans in Aphex using a real-world base map.
  • Add feature, map, image, and tile layers for extra context and a better understanding of the live site.
  • Use work areas (taken from Aphex) for improved data analysis.
  • Add or remove layers of information for a more dynamic view of your project.

GIS Aphex

Nice, but what does that mean?

If that all sounds a bit techy, then the gist of it is that the integration with Aphex allows you to use real-world mapping information at the same time as building your plans. Meaning more accurate schedules and fewer chances of delays and unexpected issues.

Pretty cool.

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