Building a SuperGIS Facility Inspection Solution

Background

The modern civilization is supported by infinite unseen or often underrated public utilities including electrical grids, water supply and sewerage channels, gas pipelines, etc. In Taiwan, 2017, one of the largest petrochemical groups initiated a project aiming to manage its numerous gas pipelines and field inspectors with advanced geospatial technologies. The giant in petroleum industry soon turned to Supergeo to seek a suitable solution since its project team has rich experience in completing such demand with the flexible combination of SuperGIS products.

After several discussions, Supergeo’s project team decided to develop a field inspection system called Facility Inspection Solution, which includes a mobile app for field inspectors and a web system for task management. The following paragraphs listed the challenges that the client encountered.

Challenges of the Mobile App:

In the past, most utility inspection systems are developed on PDA. They didn’t have the capability of positioning nor taking photos. Field workers need to record the abnormal status with various forms, which reduces the overall efficiency. As technology develops, Android tablets become widely used and provide numerous functions. Therefore, the client expected the inspection solution created by SuperGIS should base on Android so that the features like photo taking, positioning, and web browsing can be easily included.

Challenges of the Web System:

The pipeline and facility data of the client were originally stored in desktop computers without geocoding and mapping. Therefore, asset managers would feel difficult to understand the spatial relationship between facilities and their surroundings. Also, the previous system lacks a proper mechanism to summarize the daily reports from different inspectors, so it is a time-consuming job for the manager to check them one by one.

Solutions & Results
Field Inspection App

The mobile app is designed for field crews to record their surveying results. They can simply bring any device had installed the app and walk along the scheduled route for inspection to checking the status of facilities. Because the facilities like box culverts, utility holes, valves, etc. are all implanted with microchips, the inspectors should first tag their handheld devices to the facility to access the checklist. Then, items on the list can be checked one by one to make sure the facility runs well, and inspectors can also take photos to keep the records. If there is a construction or suspicious situation nearby, they can also be recorded through photos and functions like “construction site” or “abnormal site.” Furthermore, the mobile app enables users to mark the location of facilities on Google Maps and hence helps inspectors to identify the direction. After completing the inspection task, field workers should bring the app back and upload the records to the web system to finish their work.

Storage Tank Management System

The official name of the web system is called storage tank management system. It allows users to display all pipeline data and facility data on maps as well as integrate the inspection records into a single form. Therefore, the spatial  Also, it is equipped with various functions, such as records searching, management, and exporting, enabling field surveyors to organize their daily reports and the administrators to grasp the latest status with ease.
This project will allow users to visualize the pipeline and facility data on the map, and clearly display the spatial relationships among all facilities by overlaying the satellite images with digital basemap. The platform also supports management purposes, users can edit, delete, or update the facility data here to keep the information up to date. Another highlight is that this platform integrates everyday inspection records, field inspectors can export their survey report from here and query their data. For the supervisors, they can assign the workers to do further investigation to solve the problems at abnormal sites reported by field inspectors.

Workflows
Fig. 1 The entry page of field inspection mobile app.
Fig. 2 The checklist lists the items needed to check and location of facilities.
Fig. 3 The photos of onsite inspection.
Fig. 4 Select the reason for abnormal status.

If the microchip of the facility has defected, inspectors may also use the “GPS Positioning” to search the nearby facilities and choose the right one to enter its inspection checklist.

Fig. 5 Find the facilities nearby according to the GPS position of user.

When there are any abnormal conditions or constructions found on the side of roads during an inspection, inspectors can add a point on the map by selecting “abnormal record” or “mark constructions” and enter the detailed information about the abnormal site or even include photos.

Fig. 6 Report the abnormal status.

The system will automatically enter the GPS position and inspection route. When the internet is available, it will also enter the address.
In addition, the APP also provides a general inspection list and map display function. The general inspection list allows inspectors to see all facilities on the inspection route and their distances from the current location. Also, when the microchip sensor and GPS are both out of order, inspectors can still enter the “data input” page from this list. On the other hand, map display function clearly pinpoints the position of each facility on the route as well as the current location of the user.

Fig. 7 The checklist of inspection route has icons for different facilities.

As shown in Fig. 7, the check mark means the inspection is completed. The number represents the distance between the current location of user and the facility.

Fig. 8 The map will show the location of each facility. After clicking the icon, the ID will pop up. The icon in grey indicates the inspection is done.

After the inspection is done, through “Uploading Tables”, users can upload the inspection checklist, the abnormal status list, and the construction lists to the web system and finish the work.

Fig. 9 Upload the inspection checklist and the abnormal status list.

After the inspection is done, through “Uploading Tables”, users can upload the inspection checklist, the abnormal status list, and the construction lists to the web system and finish the work.

Fig. 10 The pipeline map on the web system. Click on any facility and check its detailed information on the pop-up window.

Click on any facility and check its detailed information on the pop-up window.

Fig. 11 Using the TGOS Map API to find the facility by mileage.

Since most of the facilities are recorded as Intercity Expressway OO Southbound XX Kilometer, users can find the exact location with this feature more efficiently.

Fig. 12 The ability to edit and create facilities.

It will show the photos taken onsite and whether a specified facility performs well. Also, the same page will display the time that the microchip has been read. Therefore, the administrator can grasp the inspection progress with ease.

Fig. 13 Display the inspection record.

It will show the photos taken onsite and whether a specified facility performs well. Also, the same page will display the time that the microchip has been read. Therefore, the administrator can grasp the inspection progress with ease.

Fig. 14 Check the constructions and abnormalities.

When encountering constructions or abnormal conditions, users can record the current location through the APP and include other information. After uploading to the web system, administrators can check such information directly on the web map.

Fig. 15 Edit the inspection data.

Users can add remarks or upload additional photos.

Fig. 16 Export the inspection records.

In the past, inspectors needed to export the photos from their cameras and post them on the .doc file to finish the report. Now, with the web system, reports can be easily took out via this function.

Fig. 17 Manage constructions and abnormalities.

Inspectors can edit the stage of processing and the operator; the management can know the latest progress and set the status as “Completed” after the task is done.

Phone: +886-2-2659-1899
Fax: +886-2-2659-0612
Taipei City, 11493, Taiwan
5F, No.71, Zhouzi Street, Neihu District