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Are you AR ready?

Extensive and complex networks of underground infrastructure – water, sewer, or natural gas, telephone, and fiber-optic lines are a part of the underground around the world. As more infrastructure goes underground, the underground network is becoming more complicated, making accurate identification of each element more and more difficult. Since utility workers are unable to see buried assets directly, they rely on maps and information provided by others, and some of that information is antiquated or inaccurate.

Augmented reality is considered to be the future for all size enterprises everywhere. It displays real-time visuals of the world in front of your eyes (on AR supported devices, like AR glasses, your phone or a tablet) and layers on additional information from other sources — like geographic information systems (GIS) — to provide an "augmented" view of a person's surroundings.

By combining AR and GIS, on-field workers can know exactly what is laid in front of them in the ground. They can point their smartphones on the ground and see exactly where the cables are buried.

But before you can start using this high-end technology yourself, you need to be accurately prepared. The problem with most utilities has been the fact that they create their GIS data from old paper maps. The asset locations, as a result, are often approximate at best or, in a worst-case scenario, only schematically correct.

You can't use AR, if the GIS assets are not accurate!

How to Get Ready

The combination of AR and GIS can save time, reduce costs, and improve work efficiency. So, what do you need before starting your AR journey?

  1. Create an accurate strategy: Got an exposed asset? This is the time to locate it precisely, in all dimensions (X, Y, and yes, Z).
  2. Prioritize location flaws: AR can't be used in areas where asset location is unreliable. So, identify areas of your network that have known location issues.
  3. Find location clues: Even if assets are not exposed, their location can be improved. How? By looking at clues as to their most likely location. For example, a duct bank must start and end at a manhole. Locating these manholes exactly would improve the location of the connecting duct bank (not precisely, but improved).

The three steps above should get your GIS in much better shape and a lot closer to start using augmented reality. Fortunately, today GIS is more ready than ever to accept the accuracy, meaning that there is absolutely nothing stopping you!

Connect with our specialists and get more info about introducing AR into your company!

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