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

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

• Significant reduction in project timelines and cost management at a cost commensurate with conventional approaches;
• Creates transparency in project progress;
• Improves quality of deliverables without increasing costs; and
• Can lower long-term maintenance costs for owner/operators if the final GIS data is leveraged.

“SDT is not the first or only contractor to apply GIS-based technology to the telecom industry,” says Ezell. “But we are unique in using many applications of several technology layers and weaving them together, specifically applying LIDAR [optical remote sensing technology that can measure the distance to a target or other properties by illuminating the target with light] and high resolution orthophotography [geometrically corrected, ‘orthorectified’ photography so the scale is uniform -- the photo has the same lack of distortion as a map].”

This, he explains, enhances desktop engineering capabilities through greater detail and resolution with tighter survey data tolerance. SDT also continues to tweak various capabilities to meet the needs of specific customers and projects with the ultimate goals of providing value and speed to market for clients always at the forefront.

To test the process and prove its capabilities, SDT initiated a trial project at its own expense with one of the company’s largest customers.

“We wanted to prove to ourselves and our customer that GIS technology as we applied it is the wave of the future,” says Ezell.

Following the successful test, the new applications and processes were used on a large engineering project that was completed in record time and at budgeted targets.

“With success under our wings and fear of the unknown behind us and our customers, the attitudes began to change,” said Ezell. “Now we have customers requiring many of the components we brought to market as part of their design specification packages.”

What is the future for GIS technology applied to telecommunications construction and other markets?

Actually, answers Ezell, the power industry has been using some form of GIS technology in infrastructure designs for many years.

“We have simply taken a proven technology and process used successfully in other industry sectors and applied those same processes to the telecom sector,” he continues. “SDT has morphed and applied several different technologies from military, motion picture and other industry applications such as transmission and pipeline mapping.”