Three broad categories of information are combined in GIS. As a point of reference, let's consider how a utility company would use these three:
- Landbase information typically comes from outside sources and depicts the natural (earth) and built (man-made) environment in which the utility operates – roads, rivers, and so on.
- Grid information, defining the physical system (power lines, transformers, substations, power generation sites) the utility owns and operates, this information comes from their engineering, surveying, and maintenance crews.
- Customer information is generated in-house and includes names, addresses, services provided, and maintenance schedules and requests, in addition to billing information.
- outage management systems
- workflow scheduling
- damage prevention
- routine operations and maintenance
- asset management
- workforce optimization
In order to effectively use GIS, mapping software (like LatLonGo) must be developed that works across a number of different mobile hardware platforms to maximize its utilization. It must also be able to integrate with ERPs, asset management apps and other business solutions. Specialized software platforms are needed that support GIS integration with mobile devices.
Compressing data is another requirement so mobile devices have the space available to store GIS data, and so it remains accessible even when connectivity is lost. Collecting data through text and voice notes, photographs, and redlined maps and drawings are also essential and must be synchronized back to the main GIS server for collaboration and review.
Kevin Benedict, Head Analyst for Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and SMAC analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.