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GIS, IOT, and CG . . . Oh My!

You know what I like? Real-time data. The flow of accurate, real-time data is comforting and soothing … trust me. Want to see up-to-the-second water usage thanks to a smart water meter?


Yes, please! Now I can see if that old toilet is really running all the time or not.

What if you layer in location data, such as visualizing the location of my incoming flight home thanks to high-accuracy GPS devices, a global satellite constellation, and fun networks like ADS-B? I'll take that every day of the week and twice on Sunday! Watching my plane loop around, inch by inch, for the final approach on my phone assures me I’ll be on my way soon.

Access to this type of data helps folks, who continually ask the question "What is going on?" sleep at night. More importantly, it helps drive better decisions; should I replace that toilet, or do I have time to get a burrito? And we have devices all around us just waiting to give us their real-time data. These devices commonly fall under a large umbrella called the "Internet of Things (IoT)."

You know what else I like? Things that do stuff for me. Give me a device, solution, or app that takes care of mundane or repetitive work and I’m a happy camper. Automatically pay a bill for me? Sure! Vacuum my living room while I’m sleeping every night? Sign me up.

Having a system work for you reduces your workload, decreases errors in data entry, and virtually eliminates the "I forgot to do that" scenario. Who doesn’t want that?

We at Cartegraph are fond of calling these capabilities, "Automations" and have gone as far as to create a whole set of automation capabilities within our solutions. Having a system work for you reduces your workload, decreases errors in data entry, and virtually eliminates the "I forgot to do that" scenario. Who doesn’t want that?

Now, let me serve up a peanut butter and chocolate scenario. What if we combined IoT devices’ slick ability to give us real-time data, with the “my own personal assistant” power of Cartegraph Automations, and throw in some great location intelligence from our friends at Esri. What would you have? Breathtaking deliciousness.

Location-based IoT data streams (Here I am, I’m over here now) or event broadcasts (I'm over here and overheating; I’m exiting the area) can be used to trigger all sorts of actions. In the world of asset management, wouldn't it be cool if your GIS and operations management system could do the following:

  • Schedule staff to perform an inspection, at a specific location, and on a specific asset that is reporting an error or failure?
  • Alert staff and bring up a task record for a vehicle scheduled for maintenance as it pulls into the yard?
  • Change the routine cleaning schedule of storm inlets/grates when there is rain in the forecast?
  • Let you know when mowing activities in a park have been completed, and automatically capture how long it took?

If your answer was a resounding “Yes!” the good news is you most likely own some, if not all, the technology to make these possible. In the IoT world, most major automated vehicle location (AVL) devices can stream real-time location data in addition to other event data from embedded sensors (mower blade on/off, sprayer on/off, snowplow blade up/down). For utilities, water and wastewater assets such as pumps commonly have embedded sensors, continually monitoring things like operating time, temperature, and faults. In the transportation domain, it's common for organizations to have access to real-time traffic counts, traffic light operating conditions, and data from intelligent traffic systems (ITSs).

Esri’s ArcGIS system provides us the location intelligence, the ability to capture and process streaming and event data at scale, and even the ability to enrich the data captured. Solutions such as ArcGIS Velocity and ArcGIS GeoEvent Server provide the backbone, processing data streams and events as they come in, performing spatial analysis if desired (e.g., I entered/exited a location; my current location is in District X), and send the data along its way to be either shared via a map in one on several mapping applications (ArcGIS Online, ArcGIS Hub, ArcGIS Dashboard) or continue its journey to another system for additional action.

And at the end of the journey, an operations management solution such as Cartegraph can intake those enriched data streams and events from ArcGIS and take action via automations. Schedule an inspection, notify staff and assign work, change a preventative maintenance schedule, or automatically track and complete work. All these items can be addressed through configured automations. Too good to be true? Nah, just reach out and say, “Hey, Cartegraph! How do I better leverage my existing investment in IoT systems, ArcGIS, or Cartegraph?” and we’d be happy to chat!