12 July 2016
GPS audit trails are used by utilities and telecoms companies to ensure quality and compliance during survey and inspection operations. The biggest proponents of their use are the field teams themselves, as GPS audit trails provide users with live feedback so they can effectively manage their time. However, there are also benefits for management including advanced regulatory reporting and effective scheduling thanks to a live view of field users’ progress.
To ensure the best performance in any conditions, our engineering team has taken Ubisense myWorld’s GPS audit trails to extreme testing with a bike ride on rocky terrain. See the video below.
How is a GPS audit trail used with GIS data?
When completing a survey or inspection from a geospatial view, you are inspecting either a linear or a point feature. With my World Inspection & Survey, the GPS audit trail is combined with GIS data to determine which assets were visited and for how long.
For inspection of point features (e.g. a pole or critical valve type asset), we typically define a circular buffer around the GPS point at a user defined distance. All surveyable items within this circular search area are identified as visited or inspected.
Zones located around poles change green when a GPS point has registered in each an area
For inspection of linear features (e.g. gas mains), it is possible to use a smarter search algorithm for identifying assets that have been visited. Instead of configuring a simple point and radius search, myWorld Inspection & Survey drops an oblong search radius (with length and width depending upon settings) perpendicular to the path of travel when surveying linear features. This allows for more accurate identification of items, particularly for dual-pass surveys when the item to be surveyed is on the opposite side of the street from the direction of travel.
Linear buffers created along a gas main allow GPS audit along linear assets
To provide both field and office users a means to indicate that facilities were inspected when GPS was unavailable or when facilities were inspected from a distance due to inaccessibility, a manual survey option is also available.
The value of integrated GPS audit trail
The key to making this a valuable feature for field teams is to make it an integral part of how they work throughout the day rather than a tool just used at the end of the week. This improves efficiency by allowing fixes and checks to be made in the field when field teams are near the assets, avoiding the need to make costly additional scheduled visits.
Having a live view of progress as routine inspections are performed also allows managers to balance resources to keep on schedule. This workflow also helps avoid surprises by clearly identifying when sections or entire areas have not been inspected.
Live speed checks
Another new feature is the ability to issue an alarm when the surveyor is travelling faster than the allowable rate of speed for his surveying device. This can be both a visual and audible alarm and can also turn off recordings when speed is too high.
For more information about myWorld Inspection & Survey and the integration of GPS into your field teams’ day-to-day activities, see https://ubisense.net/en/products/myworld-inspection-survey