Innovation with 3D geospatial data is the ethos of our company and when Swindon Borough Council (SBC) and Switch On To Swindon (SOTS) came calling with a need to visualise major economic development in an engaging way for a large audience, they knew which local company to approach.
A major part of the event, held at the Nationwide Building Society HQ, was to update business leaders and the public on the latest economic development construction projects across the borough. Swindon has a lot to offer now and in the near future. so it was key that this was communicated in a way that would make the audience sit up and take notice.
After receiving the brief, which had a challenging time frame, The Carto Group (TCG) team quickly got to work on story boarding ideas internally, to then share with our partners. The original brief was to create a film, that would be broadcast on large screens. Although films are good, they have been done before, multiple times over, and this event needed something different, something even more captivating.
Whilst discussing the possibilities, it was agreed that an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) application, that could be demonstrated live on the night and also downloaded by the public at a later date, was the way forward. Susie Kemp, CEO of SBC was to be the narrator whilst Shaun Landy, Game Dev at TCG, flew interactively across the borough visiting each development site that included Architect 3D models and showcase development images.
The beauty of developing the ‘geospatial way’ is that the app is driven by data. This delivers immense value in the creation of apps of this kind and their flexibility. We are using geospatial streaming technology and databases which allows for quick updates and enhancements of the app so it will never be out of date. Completely future proofed and delivers time and cost savings. We are also using already invested in construction data, which show how the journey of information can be used throughout a construction project lifecycle but also by as many stakeholders as possible.
Over the past 3 years we have developed a number of web mapping applications on top of the Mapbox geospatial technology and certainly consider ourselves as experts. We have pushed the boundaries of 3D GIS by building mapping applications, integrating Mapbox and Unity gaming technology that includes bespoke service-on-demand and Augmented Reality navigation applications as well as a number of custom mapping apps for construction.
We are impressed with how far Mapbox has come with their platform and how open the technology is, allowing us to develop targeted apps that solve real world challenges or simply bring joy to others.
We have had a number of successful requests from the developer network already and look forward to our continued use of Mapbox geospatial technology.
An Innovate UK grant funded project, LAMP (Live Automated Materials Planning) is an SaaS based software solution designed to provide better efficiency and cost management, increased speed and reduced environmental impact on large construction sites. The LAMP project involves three key partners; The Carto Group a specialist Geospatial consultancy and solutions provider focused on the construction sector, Skanska UK Plc, the fifth largest construction company in the world and BRE (Building Research Establishment, a centre of building science in the United Kingdom).
The UK construction contracting market is worth £61bn pa. 100 companies within it have a turnover of >£60M pa (2013). Significant quantities of materials are utilised (58.5M tonnes sand & gravel, 1.83Bn bricks, 71M square metres concrete products, ONS 2017). Market size means that improvements in construction efficiency will bring significant economic benefits, plus increased opportunity for exports. The trade deficit in construction materials and components continued to widen in 2016, with imports more than double the value of exports (trade deficit; £9,1Bn).
The target market for LAMP is construction project planners and managers, especially those dealing with large materials movement to/from site. LAMP will create productivity improvements and savings in project delivery. It will form part of an overall toolset, providing data-driven intelligence-based insights and enabling project teams to better plan, estimate and manage risks associated with materials, plants and people logistics. Most construction projects have risk pots as part of the bid process, LAMP will enable reductions in these risk pots.
Linking open geospatial with machine learning within the construction sector is innovative and scalable. Access to, and scalability of, intelligent big data from disparate sources is something with which the sector has struggled. LAMP will expose complex, intelligent and information-rich patterns and relationships that are almost impossible to replicate in isolation from siloed spreadsheets/databases.
Construction is due to begin this month on what will be Bristols tallest building, Castle Park View. The building, designed by Chapman Taylor for property development company Linkcity, will be constructed by Bouygues as the main contractor.
Our CEO, Tim Hughes, says; “Arguably one of our most high-profile and challenging projects completed to date, it’s always rewarding to when planning is approved and even more celebrated when constructions begins, Most of all, this building will enhance this area of Bristol City Centre and provide much needed housing for the local area. This shows how important Verified Views are to completing a successful planning application in sensitive areas. We are also involved in a similar project in Swindon, Falcon House, providing surveying services to provide affordable homes in Swindon Town Centre and enhance an area that has been derelict for 20 odd years”.
The scheme will contain 300 apartments for private rent and 75 affordable homes.
We will be following this project closely as construction moves progresses over the coming years, with conclusion due to be in 2022.
You know when you walk past something everyday and it just looks wrong? Well…
For the last few months I have walked past a sign stuck to a lamp post which says “WORKSHED 50m ahead”, which, in itself isn’t offensive but the navigator in me blatantly knows that it is definitely NOT 50m.
Days go past and each time I past the sign a little tick starts occurring and I find myself cringing, but what do you do? Luckily for us at The Carto Group, we have always have a bit of survey gear around thanks to our Lead Surveyor, Tom Ridgway being in the office.
On this day, Tom had been out doing some rectification work (getting the correct real world coordinates to make sure a model could be put accurately in a geospatial context) and we had a Trimble R8s hanging about…..so Tom and I set out to calm my curiosity.
The Trimble R8s is a great bit of kit, allowing 440 channels (think of a channel as a satellite signal – 440 channels allows the unit to ‘lock on to’ and search for up to 440 satellite signals simultaneously for improved accuracy and speed of survey) and is lightning quick, thanks to all those channels getting a good fix. With a precision of 8mm, making sure we got the measurement right was never an issue….though being close to the wall was.
Little known fact – In built up areas GPS signals (radio waves) can be blocked, called shadowing in the trade and this means getting a good bit of equipment is important. This is why your mobile phone can sometimes be a bit strange in city centres!
We managed to get a good fix and within 10 minutes we measured the distance. It was not 50m and my curiosity is now quenched. The measurement? That was 38.5 metres. Remember that next time you pass the lamp post on London Road, Swindon, which has the sign and try not to let it bother you that it is wrong.
The judges said, “This project addresses an industry-wide problem of connecting and integrating information from multiple sources. Collaboration with multiple stakeholders has helped to provide engagement and buy-in up and down the supply chain”.
Mark Farmer, Co-Chairman of Constructing Excellence said, “The construction industry needs to change, now more than ever, particularly in light of the physical and commercial catastrophes of Grenfell (June 17) and Carillion (January 18) that continue to hold media attention”.
These were the opening words for the awards evening. The Carto Group have been focusing our expertise on bringing people and organisations together to deliver more reliable, efficient and sustainable construction projects. We are proud of our ethics of ‘GIS for good’ and know that innovation projects, like VISUALISE, can help deliver the government targets for construction by 2025.
VISUALISE is all about using geospatial and Building Information more efficiently, in a joined up manner. Adopting this approach throughout a project lifecycle will bring massive benefits to all involved in major infrastructure projects, but also to the ones that need to maintain our built assets, like highways and the assets that are associated with that and building or facilities management. The value of reliable geospatial data capture, management, querying and visualisation has been overlooked for too long, and we are impressed with our long term client and partner, Skanska’s, approach to change in the industry, they will reap the rewards of this innovation work.
Lastly, a huge thank you to our consortium partners, and of course the people involved within The Carto Group team who are helping deliver this innovation project, but also changing an industry.