The true power of GIS lies in its ability to visualise natural features and societal development – this allows us to explore how to optimise our impacts to achieve best outcomes including Circularity, Natural Capitals and Societal Values.
Doug Marsh Technical Director, Sweco, Advisory & Planning at Sweco UK
What is GIS?
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer mapping system that analyses, manages, creates, and displays geographically referenced information. It uses data that is linked to a location, showing where things are and what they are.
In an increasingly digitalised world, most of the information that exist contains a location reference that is used for the simplest tasks in day-to-day life: Where I am? How do I get to somewhere? Can I have groceries delivered from my closest supermarket?
GIS is rapidly growing in popularity and necessity, impacting almost every industry on the planet. Over the past year, enhanced visualizations of geographic data in dashboards have helped the scientific community understand the spread of COVID-19 around the globe in real terms rather than simply presenting base data. In the fight against climate change, GIS enables scientists to not only analyse but also visualise change, making it easier to predict the future and plan a more sustainable tomorrow.
At Sweco the use of GIS in earth sciences, engineering and planning helps our consultants to identify risk areas, appraise site based on multi-criteria assessment or to facilitate their data collection tasks on site.
We understand that accurate referencing and collaborative stakeholder management are vitally important for any large infrastructure scheme. It is important to ensure that this information is saved in an easily accessible manner and kept up to date throughout the lifetime of a project.
Raquel Martin Trivino GIS Team Lead at Sweco UK
Our GIS services at-a-glance
- ArcGIS Online
- Web GIS applications
- Digital dynamic reports
- Operations dashboards
- Fieldwork apps (Collector, Field Maps & Survey123)
- Geotagged photos and information
- Enables ROI throughout the life of the program
- Bespoke data capture methods
- CDE: Spatial data management and distribution
- Spatial ETL: extract, transform and load (FME)
- Provide own data model / workflows
- Data is stored directly in the database and can be updated in real time
- Spatial database design
- Linear Referencing Systems (LNR)
- Network modelling (e.g. route analysis)
- Automated analysis tasks
- Feasibility analysis
- Creation of profiles or 3D surfaces
- Zones of Theoretical Visibility
- Bespoke figure production
- DMRB report drawings
- EIA, ecological and ground investigation figures
- Infographic visualisations
Sweco’s GIS services in action
GIS & BIM integration
Traditionally, GIS data and BIM data were used separately, but to maximise the value, we can combine these in GIS/BIM integration. In doing so, we ensure more efficient workflows and will not lose data along the way during the building process. In the planning of a new construction, geographical analysis can be carried out in the early stages, with several BIM models simultaneously visualised in the correct geographical position for full context.
Thanks to geodata and data analytics, it’s possible to see connections, patterns and trends that otherwise would not have emerged – even using a ‘Zero Drawing Construction’ methodology. In this way, one can take into account how buildings should best be placed in relation to various different factors such as good communication opportunities, proximity to green spaces and community service, safe traffic situation and accessibility.
Driven by data
We are facing a transition, not least in the public construction industry, to more digital and more sustainable processes. Adjusting your business to take advantage of the opportunities with geodata and digitisation requires knowledge of both data, information and systems that Sweco’s consultants can support with. We give you knowledge and understanding of current processes and needs, and how these can be adjusted to take advantage of the opportunities with digitisation. Not least as a support in the work with challenges in sustainable societal development with reduced climate impact as an important goal.
Geodata and smart sustainable cities
Data has very limited value if it cannot be linked to a location. A traffic measurement is uninteresting if we do not know which road is meant. This is also geodata that can be used for various analysis. In addition, there are several other data sets such as business data, investigation data, and data collected from citizens, residents, and other stakeholders who are important to include in decision-making, which ultimately affect planning processes and determine how we can better design and manage our cities.
Geo and BIM data as the foundation for digital twins
If we work wisely with digital data in the form of geodata and BIM data in the early stages, and take the information further in subsequent processes and refine it, we can form the basis for a digital twin of what is ultimately built: a digital model that can then be used in the management of the building, facility or city using sensor data, real-time data and other valuable information.
Cross-sector GIS consultancy
Sweco UK has a dedicated team GIS Consultants providing expert advice across a wide range of projects, from straightforward ecological and transport planning projects to complex multi-disciplinary road schemes. Together, we assist teams and individuals with data management and analysis, smart data collection, data visualisation and exploration, modelling and automation, sharing information and collaboration, and creating bespoke geospatial desktop and web-based solutions according to the clients’ needs.
By collating all available/relevant information in one place, in a visually engaging format, we can help you interrogate efficiencies within a proposed project, and look at the future development from all angles to give you the insight you need to fully validate landscape designs and built environments – or mitigate risks that become evident during scoping.