Black & Veatch surveys 30,000 assets in just 6 weeks

Working on behalf of UK Power Networks, the integrated consulting and construction business Black & Veatch has succeeded in surveying a massive portfolio of 30,000 cable pits, in just six weeks, using Esri’s mobile GIS.  This highly efficient project has not only saved months of effort, but also resulted in better quality data and a cost saving of over £130,000.  

UK Power Networks owns and maintains electricity cables and lines across London, the South East and East of England and needed to assess the condition of 47,000 cable pits.  It appointed Black & Veatch to help it accurately locate and survey these assets, but after the first 17,000 cable pits had been surveyed it became clear that traditional paper-based methods were incompatible with the enormous scale of the task.  Recommending a new approach, Black & Veatch quickly developed a mobile GIS app to accelerate the survey process and was subsequently able to complete the remaining 30,000 visits in just six weeks.  

Black & Veatch estimates that its use of mobile GIS for this project saved UK Power Networks in excess of £130,000, as it reduced the amount of time crews can often waste going to the wrong streets and hunting for cable pits that no longer exist.  In addition, Black & Veatch was able to make efficiency savings in its workforce, because it was no longer necessary to have a team of people printing paper maps, allocating maps to survey teams, sorting through hand-written notes and manually entering data.  Furthermore, the cost of the mobile GIS was negligible; Black & Veatch developed the solution in just six days using out-of-the-box solutions already included in its existing Esri ArcGIS platform.  

Using the GIS app, Black & Veatch and an appointed sub-contractor were able to collect more valuable information for UK Power Networks.  For example, the teams of surveyors were able to take pictures of cable pit covers in their street context, using their tablets, and upload these images with accurate location coordinates.  Consequently, when UK Power Networks starts to implement its maintenance programme for cable pits, the company will be able to plan its projects more effectively and accelerate the implementation of measures to enhance safety across the capital.  

“ArcGIS enabled us to do, in weeks, a project that might otherwise have taken years.  What is more, we now have a mobile app that will allow us to offer highly competitive services for other clients in the future.”
Paul Hart, Information Management and GIS Specialist, Black & Veatch 

Find out more about Esri's mobile solutions here