Argis Lens

Addressing Aging Infrastructure: Make AR Part of Your Solution

GIS data shown through augmented reality technology can help communicate discrepancies during the remediation process for upgrading underground infrastructure. 

By Alyssa Grant 

The Flint water crisis highlights the consequences of aging underground infrastructure and the deeply negative impact it can have on a community. Remediation can be a daunting, complex process. The remediation efforts to replace Flint’s lead and galvanized steel pipes with copper piping will be winding down by the end of the year. As of September 2018, 15,031 pipes have been excavated and 7,233 pipes have been identified as requiring replacement, underlining the scope of this headline-making water utility remediation project. 

Flint is not alone—aging underground infrastructure is a nationwide issue. The 2017 Infrastructure Report Card gives America’s drinking water a “D,” communicating that communities across the country are in dire need of water pipeline upgrades. 

Outdated natural gas pipelines are another concern. Old pipelines can leak, damaging the environment, even resulting in explosions causing property damage and fatalities, like the Merrimack Valley gas explosions on September 13, 2018 that resulted in 80 fires and one death. 

Updating aging utilities can be a complicated task.  Gregory Korte’s investigation on the state of our nation’s natural gas pipelines for USA Today revealed that the aging gas pipelines in Merrimack Valley were acknowledged to be a challenge to remediate:

“. . . Columbia Gas warned state regulators that replacing pipes in places like Lawrence would be difficult. The pipelines were in densely populated areas dominated by paved surfaces. They're intertwined with other utilities in crowded rights of way. " 

Unfortunately, the explosions occurred before improvements could be fully addressed. The costs related to the resulting damage could reach $1 billion

The complexities of underground infrastructure and the delicate excavation that can be involved in remediation underline the need for a sophisticated way to view and share mapping data. Some companies and municipalities are finding that augmented reality technology meets that need. 

What is augmented reality (AR)? This technology interposes computer-generated images in a real-world setting. Imagine being able to see GIS data through a cell phone camera—a scene you might see through the camera’s eye with AR could be a sewer line below a sidewalk intersected by a natural gas pipeline that crosses underneath an adjacent roadway. 

With the Argis Lens, a mobile AR application, that imagined scene is reality. The Lens quickly visually communicates what lies beneath the ground because a picture is worth a thousand words, especially when the complex GIS data of water or natural gas pipelines and sewer or stormwater systems are involved. The Argis Lens dynamically translates GIS data into AR imagery on mobile iOS devices.  

Using AR, underground infrastructure stakeholders can project their GIS data on new job sites to show foremen and construction crews where underground assets are located in real time. In addition, with the Lens, they can confirm that all assets are marked appropriately before excavation begins. Leveraging this technology, these companies are seeing a new level of collaboration between their asset protection teams and contractors because they are using AR to communicate high-risk areas where particular care needs to be taken before digging.

Cities, pipeline, and utility companies can all benefit from increased productivity on the job site, improved communication, and data quality confirmation. As infrastructure below the ground continues to deteriorate and become obsolete, proactive stakeholders with underground assets will turn to new technology, such as the Argis Lens, for more effective solutions as they upgrade and improve what is hidden.

ArcGIS and CAD Featured on Esri

ArcGIS and CAD Featured on Esri

Argis Solutions recent work with Silver Lake Construction Company has been highlighted in depth by Chris Andrews on Esri’s ArcGIS blog. Andrews recognizes the value augmented reality (AR) adds to GIS data, noting: 

 “As a product manager driving 3D, BIM, and other related software efforts at Esri, I’m always looking for applications of geospatial technology that can improve the lives of real users.  We get asked about AR a ton and whether through partner apps, such as Argis Solutions, or through development using our ArcGIS Runtime SDKs, it’s great to be able to report that real partners and customers are building AR applications that are transforming the experience of GIS in the field.  I expect to see much more like this in the future.”

2-Dimensional vs Augmented Reality: What's Next for the Digital Map

2-Dimensional vs Augmented Reality: What's Next for the Digital Map

Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.  The composite view of AR brings that necessary connection between maps and the real world. It is the missing link to a seamless user experience. Users can make better decisions faster because they can immediately interpret their data in context with the world it is intended to represent. 

Argis Lens + Esri: Winning Combination

Congratulations to the team who used our AR application, the Argis Lens, at CODE4PA Hackathon last week and won the  “Best Use of #Geospatial Tech Using #Esri” category. Argis Solutions is excited to see the implintation of GIS into the educational sphere. Watch the whole video

Final 5 minute version of Harrisburg University's team HackU presentation pitch for Code4PA 2017.

Interpret Views AR through the Argis Lens

View from the Argis® Lens at the Interpret Offices

View from the Argis® Lens at the Interpret Offices

Robert Poynter, Graduate GIS Consultant at Interpret, recently tried out the Argis® Lens. Check out his take on it and how AR will become the industry standard.  

Augmented reality is the next big step for location intelligence. Just as basemaps helped define and communicate spatial data on a 2D plane, augmented reality does the same with the world around you. We’re no longer limited to looking down - we can look forward, under, above and through. This is a fast-moving and competitive industry on the edge of a major boom, and we’re excited to be a part of it!

I’ve been trialing a new app called Argis® Lens from a small Colorado start-up, Argis Solutions LLC, to explore and visualise Christchurch’s storm water system. While polygons and lines don’t always look too exciting on a screen, the experience of being inside the layer is more entertaining. Using a feature service on a dev server, I’m able to add layers to my scenes on an iPad and then walk around in them. The interface is simple and intuitive, offering the user a variety of options and inputs – camera height, visibility distance, a grid for referencing, and the ability to navigate across the entire map from an office chair if the weather’s rough.

Check out complete post here

Podcast: Digital Politics with Karen Jagoda

Paul Hoemke, Business Analyst at Argis Solutions, did fascinating podcast with Karen Jagoda at the Esri UC earlier this month. Listen to the whole podcast at Digital Politics with Karen Jagoda. We've reproduced a few of the highlights here.