Augmented Reality and GIS Data for Visualization

All municipalities are faced with the challenge of maintaining, operating, replacing and upgrading their infrastructure. However, with many of these assets located underground, it can often be a difficult and costly process to avoid or mitigate construction impacts. A new comprehensive augmented reality platform, vGIS, is being used to visually locate assets, improve data quality and enhance safety. As an early subscriber, KCI has been testing and presenting this technology to new and existing clients in the United States.

Combining augmented, mixed and virtual reality, the vGIS platform uses CAD or survey data converted into a GIS format to create a visual representation of utilities in three dimensions. Assets are displayed in 3-D over top of a physical world view, leveraging the camera function of a mobile device. This allows the user to see depths and sizes of the utilities and understand the spatial relationship of the features to one another.

We have piloted the technology on a few projects, which has allowed us to understand how various groups could use it. From planning to construction, it is another tool in our toolbox that helps us capture, show, display and integrate data sets into mobile applications.

Dustin HenryGIS Analyst, Senior Project Manager

Dustin Henry

Functional on a variety of devices, including mobile phones, tablets and the Microsoft HoloLens, crews can easily visualize the infrastructure around them with an increased level of situational awareness. The platform’s patent-pending calibration process quickly establishes elevation and locational accuracy, and the device’s GPS location updates when moving around the site. In the app, users can pan, zoom and identify features, which are color-coded and vary in size to easily distinguish one asset from another. Features can be quickly selected, fields updated and notes added. A recent release allows our team to capture new features while in the field. This helps to create a safer work environment by allowing users to validate the location of an asset without having to cross a busy street or intersection. By comparing assets present to those being displayed in augmented reality, records can be easily updated and improved.

With an accurate visualization of the assets located both above and below the ground, municipalities can make safer project decisions, and crews can avoid costly damages to facilities.