How GPRS Reimagined GIS Technology to Bridge Construction Data Gap

The Data Visualization, Damage Prevention, And Project Management Company Built A New Delivery Mechanism For Its Customers

How GPRS Reimagined GIS Technology to Bridge Construction Data Gap

The Data Visualization, Damage Prevention, And Project Management Company Built A New Delivery Mechanism For Its Customers

If there is one thing almost everyone in construction and facility management can agree on, it’s that the construction industry can be slow to embrace digital technology.

An infographic citing the Building Smart Alliance’s 2022 statistic that there has been only a1% overall improvement in productivity in architecture &construction-related industries in the last 20 years.

How Early GIS System Technology Was Used for Subsurface Infrastructure Management

In 2001, The Alphabet Company purchased a geographic information system (GIS) mapping platform called Keyhole and rebranded it as Google Earth, which they released free to the public.

In 2007, GPRS began exporting its GPS-enabled files to help customers receive and store digital infrastructure information. The company developed a digital Job Services Report(JSR) that allowed customers to view and download their .KMZ and PDF utility locate files, and to upload them to Google Earth, should they wish, to keep track of all of their subsurface infrastructure files, and other project documentation. GPRS still offers complimentary .KMZ and PDF files with every outdoor utility locate.

It has taken some time for the industry to embrace GIS software tools and the idea that itis possible to capture existing condition infrastructure documentation geospatially. However, once Google Earth made the impossible, possible, other cloud-based GIS platforms rushed to market in the hope that project managers, general contractors, and facility managers, among others, would pay for cloud-based GIS. Even Google had paid versions of its free platform, called Google Earth Plus and Google Earth Pro, until they made the decision to make all their GIS systems free in 2015.

"Over the last 10 years, businesses, scientists and hobbyists from all over the world have been using Google Earth Pro for everything from planning hikes to placing solar panels on rooftops. Whether you're planning a new office building or a trip to the mountains, check out Google Earth Pro and see how easy it is to visualize your world."

– Stafford Marquardt, Google Earth Pro Project Manager, in 2015

“If It Ain’t Broke”… The GIS Information Gap

Google Earth can do many things. However, as the industry became more comfortable with geospatial data software, project management requirements began to show the weaknesses in the system.

For instance, like most GIS platforms, Google Earth requires the user to upload files to the system themselves. And, while you can draw line work like tracing a gas line on the satellite image, and take rough measurements, you are reliant on the quality of your existing as-builts as to whether any feature you upload or draw is in the right place.

Further, if you want to keep all of your project or company files on Google Earth, you must upload everything onto one computer to house it. What happens if the person with the computer can’t be reached, the computer crashes, or you reach the limits of its memory?

The information bottleneck is real, huge, and highlighted by the graphic below, created by IFMA, and shows the steep loss of project data post-construction.

The IFMA study echoes the 2021 study conducted for GPRS by Finch Brands. In that report, the majority of the 150 facility managers surveyed reported that they kept various portions of their as-built documentation in as many as four different places, and had difficulty finding accurate subsurface feature information.

However, few of them thought there was a way to “fix” the problem…

A problem that routinely leads to expensive and dangerous underground utility strikes with an average cost of $56,000 each.

Other paid GIS systems have sought to bridge the gap by offering cloud-based Data Management, but the user still has to do the heavy lifting of uploading their own information, which is often outdated or incomplete, and that information is often not easily shareable without paying additional licensing fees.    

How GPRS Fixed The Information Gap

Creating a "seamless customer experience” is one of GPRS’ key missions. So as the company’s Project Managers in the field heard the growing frustration of AEC and facility management professionals with the limitations in digital reporting and delivery, GPRS knew there needed to be a better way to deliver subsurface utility & infrastructure data to its clients so that they could visualize everything on site, above and below ground, in a single source of truth that eliminated bottlenecks and siloes to keep projects on time, on budget, and safe.

So, they’ve spent the last three years building a project & facility management application that provides accurate existing condition documentation to protect your assets & people. And they named it SiteMap®.

SiteMap® bridges the gap for GPRS customers by providing a single source of truth in an easy-to-use cloud-based interface that not only does “the heavy lifting” for you, but provides field-verified 99.8% accurate utility mapping in an interactive, layered template that includes grid lines, northing and easting lines, is labeled, and gives you a color-coded legend for your subsurface infrastructure information.

There is nothing for you to upload; your GPRS job data is automatically uploaded, layered, geolocated, compressed, and updated. And in most cases, your 99.8% accurate utility location information is available within five minutes of job completion.

If you have “legacy data” with GPRS – previous utility locating jobs attached to the same email address – that legacy data will already be housed in SiteMap® for your use, so you can track updates to your subsurface as-builts with the click of a button.

Depending on your SiteMap® subscription level, even your own institutional records, as-builts, specifications, plan views, and reports can be uploaded into SiteMap® to create an actual single source of truth for your project. Plus, the organized and aggregated file management inside SiteMap® removes much of the risk of human error because GPRS does it for you.

Below, you will find a simple chart that provides a snapshot of the differences between Sitemap® and Google Earth for infrastructure visualization and project management needs.

SiteMap® vs Google Earth Comparison Image
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The GPRS Difference – Removing Risk Every Day

Speaking of removing risk, when you hire GPRS to perform any infrastructure visualization – whether it’s a simple utility locate, a NASSCO-certified video pipe inspection report, or a complex integrated 3D BIM model created by our Mapping & Modeling Team from 2-4mm accurate GPRS 3D laser scans – everything that lives in SiteMap® is underpinned by GPRS’ commitment to Subsurface Investigation Methodology (SIM).

SIM provides the backbone of GPRS’ rapid response team’s 99.8% accuracy in utility & concrete scanning, pinpoint leak detection, video pipe inspection, and 3D laser scanning & photogrammetry. The SIM process is what turns our technicians into Project Managers, an elite nationwide team of professionals who are experts in deploying multiple complementary technologies to pinpoint utility lines and underground features, find just about everything buried in your concrete slabs, and can map your sewer lines or entire facility with accuracy and ease.  

GPRS built Sitemap® to be an exclusive delivery and visualization platform for GPRS customers, so every GPRS client receives a complimentary SiteMap® Personal subscription to view their utility maps, scans, and information in our secure software. What’s more, everything in your SiteMap account is exportable, so you can download or copy your records as needed. Plus, SiteMap® provides data portability that supports any other existing GIS platform you may wish to use, and provides you with a secure mobile application that allows you and your team to access your infrastructure data on demand, 24/7, whether they are on site, or across the country.

GPRS built SiteMap® to help you plan, dig, manage, and build better. Learn more about SiteMap®, here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kinds of data does GPRS provide for construction professionals?

GPRS provides
  • 99.8% accurate underground utility locating & mapping
  • 99.8% accurate concrete scanning & imaging
  • 2-4mm accurate 3D laser scans
  • Rectified orthomosiac 3D photogrammetry
  • Virtual Tours via WalkThru 3D
  • 2D CAD drawings and plans
  • 3D point clouds, meshes & BIM models
  • NASSCO-certified video pipe (CCTV)inspections
  • Pinpoint leak detection for pressurized water lines
  • And more

To request a quote or learn how GPRS can help you Intelligently Visualize The Build World®, click here.

Can I upload my own information into SiteMap?

Depending on your subscription level, your historical site data, records, plans, etc., can be directly uploaded to SiteMap® by our team. They will be geolocated and tagged to the specifically mapped area they cover, and available in SiteMap’s Map Viewer and Digital Plan Room.

SiteMap® can house the following types of data:

  • Layered, Interactive Utility Maps
  • Concrete Scanning Mark-Out Photos
  • NASSCO-certified Video Pipe Inspection Reports Via WinCan
  •  Pinpoint Leak Detection Reports
  • 3D Laser Scanning Data
  •  Rectified 3D Photogrammetry
  • 2D CAD Drawings
  •  Utility PDF & .KMZ Files
  • 3D Point Cloud Data
  • 3D BIM Models 

How do I find out if I already have data in SiteMap?

If you are an existing or previous GPRS customer, you can create your SiteMap® Personal account login, here.

Once you have received your credentials, you can log into your account to view any GPRS jobs in the system.

If you don’t have a SiteMap® account, you can learn more about how to get one, here.