Argis Lens

A Commercial and Residential Mobile Home Park Finds Value in AR: How the Argis Lens is Providing Positive Results for Crawford Properties, LLC

The Argis Lens, a mobile app that integrates ArcGIS data with augmented reality, helps a commercial and residential mobile home park in El Jebel, Colorado visualize and refine their GIS data, saving time and improving safety outcomes.

by Alyssa Grant

Improved safety outcomes, more accurate GIS data, and time savings are all positive results Crawford Properties, LLC, a commercial and residential mobile home park, is seeing after adopting the Argis Lens as part of their utility location process. Located in El Jebel, Colorado, Crawford Properties consists of approximately 289 mobile home lots, 15 apartments and rental homes, 29 commercial units, and an assortment of tenants renting open space for storage. They are a Tier One member of Colorado 811, with a total team of six field crew members, three of which are certified locators. The locator crew handles approximately 10 locates a month. 

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Even before Colorado’s recent Subsurface Utility Engineering (SUE) legislation was passed, Crawford’s property manager and owner, Prentice Hubbell, began to look towards augmented reality (AR) as a possible solution for their business needs. For almost 60 years, foreman Noel Crawford gathered an almost encyclopedic knowledge of Crawford Properties’ 5.4 square miles of underground assets-- water, sewer, gas, and electrical infrastructure that supports life and business for El Jebel’s 1600 residents. The sewer infrastructure consists of plastic piping with no tracer wires, so it wasn’t a simple process for others to access what Noel had mentally catalogued through his years of work. With Noel’s well-earned retirement on the horizon, Hubbell began to consider the Argis Lens, a mobile app that translates ArcGIS feature services into augmented reality in real time, as the solution for cataloguing and communicating the valuable information that was currently only accessible through Noel.

The Argis Lens was attractive to Hubbell because he recognized that its integration with ArcGIS would allow his crew to create a database of this geolocational information so that any of them could access it quickly and confidently. His newer generation of technical-savvy field crew members were comfortable with the intuitive layout of the Lens app, so implementation was easy. Communication was now streamlined. Immediately, in one if its first uses, they noticed that operating the Lens made it much easier to perform sprinkler system maintenance on the town’s baseball field. Spatial confusion was quickly becoming a thing of the past.

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Crawford Properties’ next step is to complete the rollout of the new AR Ticketing Management System (ARTMS) to streamline the process Crawford uses to show positive response required of all Tier One members for Colorado 811 transactions in their area. The system already ingests Colorado 811 marking requests and allows users to give a positive response directly from the field within the application. Tracking workers, ticket assignments, and situational awareness in AR for the crew member working in the area of interest associated with the ticket are just some of the additional benefits of using the system. 

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What does a workflow for Crawford Properties look like for common issues, for instance, a water leak? First, a tenant calls in a leak, and Colorado 811 locates gas and electric lines. Then the Crawford team makes their own marks to denote their own infrastructure, and the crew starts digging. After the assets are uncovered, using the Lens, they create a photographic record, make the needed repairs, and update their geolocational information so that in the future they have the benefit of a more precise GIS record. Hubbell’s advice on implementing the Argis Lens into a workflow: “Just start. Start. Start with your street signs. Then add your roads. And eventually you will have good GIS data. Add notes in your attribute area for the field team so they know. Add ‘just a guess’ if you aren’t sure. At least it gives them something.” Hubbell remains pleased by the results Crawford’s field crews have been able to achieve with the Argis Lens in their virtual toolbelts.

Silver Lake Construction Uses ARCAD App to Improve Accuracy in Foundation Construction

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.”

Silver Lake Construction Company builds residential foundations in the Las Vegas, NV area. First on the construction site, Silver Lake must be accurate and efficient. Brett Willis, Silver Lake’s president, was researching avenues for increasing his company’s accuracy in construction. His question: Did a tool exist that could help his crew dig foundation cuts on bare-earth plots with better than two-inch accuracy?

The answer to Willis’ question was found in augmented reality technology. The Argis Lens, a geospatial AR app created by Argis, projects ArcGIS data into the real world using a mobile device. For this particular problem, the Lens was modified to help Willis meet his goal of two-inch accuracy for foundation construction. Typically, the Lens uses onboard GPS within the mobile device or paired GPS units to achieve the required accuracy, but Silver Lake’s accuracy needs were more exacting. 

 Up to the challenge, the team at Argis created a new application, ARCAD, which uses computer vision technology. Computer vision enables a computer to see something and make a decision that a human no longer has to make. Photos of fruit affixed to stakes were used to mark known locations on the construction site. Through computer vision, ARCAD was able to recognize these complex images, anchor the precise geospatial location, and project the building plan onto the ground. While still in the field-testing stage, ARCAD is meeting the 2-inch accuracy requirements.

 Overall, the Silver Lake crew is cautiously optimistic about ARCAD’s ability to streamline their work process while allowing them to achieve the high level of accuracy needed for foundation construction. Looking to the future, Silver Lake sees many additional possibilities for further ARCAD app development. 

Mitigating Risk by Visualizing Hidden Assets with AR

Esri Case Study: Whiting Petroleum 

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Esri recently released a new case study titled Mitigating Risk by Visualizing Hidden Assets with Augmented Reality, which details how Argis Solutions is providing real return on investment for Whiting Petroleum’s One Call Department. This paper delves deeper into how Whiting is using the field ready Argis® Framework and Lens to improve their geospatial data on remote wellpads. With this software and mobile application, Whiting Petroleum saves not just time and money, but are now able to quality check the geospatial data as they locate, which improves safety for their underground assets as well as for the technicians and contractors who work with them:  

Coupling Esri® GIS with Argis in Whiting’s One Call department has enabled the company to save an average of 30 minutes locating each asset. For Whiting, a company that locates thousands of assets a year, this saves a huge amount of time, resources, and money. The new process reduces paperwork, eliminates time-consuming analysis, and provides a higher level of quality assurance. Whiting field staff can now perform their operations more efficiently and effectively while maximizing the company’s return on investment.

Whiting is not the only company taking advantage of this new technology made accessible by Argis Solutions. The cost of our annual licensing fee is minimal compared to the amount of time, money and ultimately lives saved. We invite you to try the Argis Framework and Lens for yourself and see how AR will change how you do business in the field.