by   |    |  Estimated reading time: 3 minutes  |  in Asset Intensive, Energy, Utilities & Resources, IFS Applications   |  tagged ,

I have to admit it is some time since I attended a geography lesson at school. The little I remember involved knowing capital cities of the world and crop rotation. I am unsure of the connection between these two topics but am certain that’s what we were taught.

Now, of course, it is completely different and if you are thinking about geospatial themes then the world today is your oyster, so to speak, especially if you are thinking of IFS Applications 9.

Within IFS Applications, we have always had the capability to hook business objects within our database into a map view, as the screenshot above illustrates.

Back in 2004 we had some of our network and grid customers running a solution that integrated with both a GIS and SCADA third-party product. And what we have done since then is some small scale refinements. Then we undertook some major development and an update.

What we now have in the latest release is considerably enhanced functionality for managing both linear assets, compatible units plus other energy and utilities strategic asset requirements; and a deep integration capability to GIS tools: for example, ArcGIS from Esri.

This new feature was recognized by Esri for a special achievement in GIS award in 2014; and at the beginning of November 2015, one of our top development experts presented at the Developers Conference in Berlin on how we had embedded the ArcGIS in our ERP application.

The solution has been developed such that it could be configured with any third-party product, and we are looking to initiate some work with Intergraph (now part of Hexagon AB) and start to join up the full business visualization theme with hooks and integration to some of their asset design and BIM tools.

The other unique feature with the GIS Integration design this time is that it is built in such a way that any business object or entity within the database can be geospatially referenced onto a map.

For example, you could present a list of all of your customers within a specific area or region, or you could monitor all of the incidents that occur on your estate.

Near misses, accidents or health and safety concerns are a critically important element of understanding the risks associated with managing a large geographically spread-out area like a port or an airport. If all incidents are recorded within the business application, then detailed analysis like heat maps can be created to identify physical areas requiring investigation and improvements.

I am certain there are many, many more scenarios where connecting an entity within IFS Applications and representing it on a map would be hugely beneficial to customers and users. By far, though, most of the benefits today are coming from asset intensive type-organizations like water, power or gas distribution companies.

They are typically well versed in using GIS products, but now they have the additional benefit of seamlessly integrating that capability into their business applications.

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