We are living through what many are calling the Fourth Industrial Revolution, a digital age "characterized by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres." The automation of cumbersome manual work is a key part of this new revolution.

The word "automaton" has its roots in Greek mythology; Homer used it to describe automatic door opening. In the 19th and 20th centuries, automation was applied on a large scale to both agricultural and industrial production, helping to save both time and money. In the digital age, automation is being driven by computers.

Geotechnology is one of the cornerstones of the emerging digital age, helping us recreate our physical world within a computer system, often called a digital twin.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are one of the key geotechnologies. Storing real-world items digitally and representing those items or assets on a map is an important part of a GIS platform. Having a digital twin allows us not only to visualize distributed assets on a map, but also to answer questions. In the case of GIS, questions often start with the word “where.” For example, a water utility may ask “Where are our water related assets?” A GIS platform provides a quick, accurate answer.  

The Automation of Cost Estimates

ArcGIS is a powerful GIS technology enabling the visualization of distributed assets like water systems and helping to answer ‘where’ questions related to these assets. At GISinc, we are ArcGIS experts. Recently, we have focused on applying ArcGIS to help automate time-consuming manual tasks. We noticed a pattern of frustration among our utility clients regarding cost estimation. That is, estimating new, replacement and repair costs of assets. Narrowing in on water utilities, we spent time better understanding this problem and developing a solution.

RSMeans data from Gordian provides the most comprehensive, “accurate and up-to-date cost information helping owners, architects, engineers, contractors and others to precisely project and control the cost of both new building construction and renovation projects.”

Gordian produces various RSMeans data publications, tracking asset costs across multiple sectors. Using RSMeans data, water utility staff could calculate new, repair, and replace asset costs accurately. But the process remains manual, which can be time-consuming. Recognizing this challenge, GISinc teamed up with Gordian to find a digital solution. The result was Cost Map, an ArcGIS-driven web app which automates the cost estimation process using RSMeans data.

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Cost Map Cost Estimate

What once took days of work now takes seconds. Cost Map is designed to be intuitive and super simple to use. Generating cost estimates for selected assets requires just three clicks.

 

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