Making the Most of Existing Geospatial Datasets
Updated: Mar 25, 2019
If your site is running a Fleet Management or Dispatch System then you are potentially sitting upon hundreds of thousands of geospatial records, ripe for extraction and integration with other data sources.
What steps are required to extract this information?
You need to find out what coordinate system is used by systems at your site. Understanding this now could save you pain further down the line when you are ready to plot the data.
Why is This Important?
In order to combine geospatial data from different sources, you may be required to carry out a coordinate transformation.
Flattening a sphere (the Earth) into a two-dimensional planar surface (a map) creates distortion in the spatial relationships between objects. A spatial reference, including a coordinate system, provides the ‘key’ to the parameters used to define and minimise this distortion, enabling data from one system to be transformed or reprojected for use in another.
Where Do I Start?
A good place to start is by talking to the surveyors on site. Ask what local coordinate system is in use, and if they use any truncations.
Speak to you system administrator for help locating the GPS records and extracting them.
Extracting Stored Geospatial Records
Depending upon your needs, the extraction process can be carried out manually using SQL queries, although in our experience automation is the most reliable method of dealing with large volumes of data whilst removing the risk of human error.
We recommend the implementation of a scheduled export of raw GPS data from your FMS or Dispatch System into a separate database for transformation, followed by a scheduled import directly into your preferred system or tool.
Logging Current Geospatial Records
Due to the volume of records, raw GPS data for mobile plant is routinely overwritten, with lookups providing only the ‘last known’ position. Creating a history of GPS requires this data to be consistently monitored, stored and processed.
MTS have a variety of tools to do this and can also configure a system to work with 3rd Party attached GPS modems.
Using and Presenting Geospatial Data
We are fond of open-source software that provides us the freedom to configure, combine and layer our data. Off-the shelf products are available, but we think the ability to batch upload CSV files in Google Earth is a great place for beginners.
Perhaps you could plot truck GPS data and begin to think about how you could use this to data optimise your haulage routes.
We hope this gives you some ideas on where to start, but if you have any further questions, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.