SDT’s Enhanced GIS Overlay System Offers Telecom Opportunities, Benefits

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | February 2012, Vol. 67 No. 2

Southern Diversified Technologies (SDT), a multi-disciplined telecommunications infrastructure services company based in Brookhaven, MS, has developed a method for using GIS (geographic information system) technology to design and build telecommunications projects.

GIS technology integrates hardware, software and data for capturing, managing, analyzing and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information, explains James Ezell, SDT president.

“The telecommunications industry has lagged behind other industries for employing GIS technology in outside plant engineering and construction,” says Ezell. “However, in the past few years this technology has significantly advanced, especially for mapping using GPS hardware and software which offer many benefits for telecommunications projects that include significant segments of underground construction.”

Ezell says that SDT, in conjunction with partners, Clearion Software and Esri, has developed proprietary GIS field data collection capabilities that enable fast, precise, wireless uploads of field verified construction data to the web, based on information collected as the project is being constructed. This is accomplished in the field via a hand-held device being used by the construction supervisor or inspector.

SDT’s GIS process integrates orthophotography, global positioning system (GPS) overlays, real estate data and other information with project management software, and with a mobile GIS application built by Clearion Software and ArcGIS technology from Esri. Using the system, SDT personnel can engineer and construct a project using absolutely accurate information taken in the field with tablet computers and, when appropriate, aerial photography.

“Real-time as-builds are made as the project is constructed,” he continues. “Reports can be seen on an iPhone, iPad, or Android device showing route construction and as-builds as the field engineer syncs daily to the server. Actual up-to-date invoicing is automatically checked for errors.”

Unique approach
Ezell says the technology is being used with great success on turnkey design/build projects for Long Term Evolution (LTE) backhaul and large engineering projects that include installation of underground fiber to connect towers. SDT has developed its own leading-edge approach for combining the latest GIS, aerial and remote data capture, and mobile computing technologies. Ezell sites key benefits as: