BETTER VISUALIZATION FOR MULTIPLE-SITE INFRASTRUCTURE PROGRAMS USING GIS

Tarek Hegazy

Department of Civil Engineering, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1

E-mail: tarek@uwaterloo. ca

Abstract

This paper introduces a model for optimizing and visualizing infrastructure maintenance programs of multiple-distributed sites. Two unique aspects of the model are discussed in the paper: the underlying Geographic Information System (GIS); and the powerful scheduling engine that optimizes execution plans. The GIS system stores and represents two main levels of information about the scattered sites involved in a construction/maintenance program. The first level pertains to pre-planning data such as resources, locations, optional estimates, and work constraints. This information is then used by the scheduling engine to generate an optimum schedule, and accordingly, a second layer of GIS information is generated containing activities’ start and finish dates and the assigned crews. This layer of information is then used by the GIS system to visualize the crews’ work assignments in a legible manner. An implementation program BAL is presented on an example application to illustrate the benefits of using GIS to support municipalities and owner/contractor organizations administering large number of infrastructure assets, such as buildings, highways, and bridges, etc.

Keywords: infrastructure, GIS, scheduling, optimization, resource management

Introduction

In recent years, interest in developing management systems for infrastructure networks, such as high­ways, bridges, airports, and water/sewer systems, etc., has grown rapidly to help sustain infrastruc­ture services. Management systems concern mainly with prioritizing capital assets for maintenance and repair (M&R) purposes. The majority of management systems, however, provide little or no decision support during the execution of M&R programs, thus leading to cost overruns and delays. Among the biggest challenges facing the execution planning of M&R programs is the repetitive multiple-location nature of M&R programs and the difficulty in representing the large amount of information involved.

Currently, there exist many software tools for maintenance management. Some of these systems may provide traditional planning and scheduling features such as bar charts to schedule operations. While these systems are beneficial, they address some but not all aspects of infrastructure execution planning. They are not formulated to respect a given deadline and do not consider the distributed and repetitive nature of operations. In addition, they provide no decision support for cost optimization and do not legibly represent the large amount geographically dispersed data, particularly related to the assignment of resources among the sites. As such, the need has emerged for a new decision sup­port tools that use GIS technology to support effective management of infrastructure M&R programs with multiple sites.

This paper provides details on the use of GIS technology to facilitate the development of a generalized model for optimizing and visualizing M&R programs that involve distributed sites. An example application is then used to illustrate implementation issues.

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M. Pandey et al. (eds), Advances in Engineering Structures, Mechanics & Construction, 793-800.

© 2006 Springer. Printed in the Netherlands.