GDOT Improves Bridge Inspection Efficiency with inspectX
Updated: Aug 17, 2022
Learn how Georgia’s transportation department uses AssetIntel’s inspectX to simplify their bridge inspection workflow and save precious time.
“InspectX is very user-friendly and has all the data [we] need to run an inspection program efficiently.” - Bryon Patterson, State Bridge Asset Manager, GDOT
Established in 1972, the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) owns and manages over 15,000 bridges and culverts. To inspect these bridges, GDOT employs in-house inspectors, rather than outside consultants, who collect span-by-span element-level data on all the bridges.
The Challenge: Inefficiencies caused using complex bridge inspection software
Previously, GDOT relied on Georgia Asset Management System (GAMS), developed by AgileAssets, for inspecting and maintaining bridges. However, using GAMS, GDOT found over time that appropriately managing their bridge inspection operations was easier said than done.
First of all, the system didn’t provide proper dashboarding functionalities for GDOT to view and arrange all their essential data.
Additionally, the inventory managers found it challenging to run queries related to NBI and agency fields. At the same time, running queries based on element-level or defect-level data wasn’t possible.
In the field, the lack of an offline data collection app from AgileAssets compelled bridge inspectors to slog through their data collection process using pen and paper, together with a digital camera. Then, back in the office, GDOT inspectors had to manually enter and upload all their data to GAMS, which was quite time-consuming.
GAMS also failed to provide adequate features for planning and scheduling inspections. For this reason, personnel from GDOT’s IT department had to develop database queries to generate monthly future inspection schedules. Besides, the system would become slow at times, leaving the users frustrated.
Bryon explains, “We had trouble getting the vendor to customize the product to meet our needs and they were slow to make repairs to their program.”
The Solution: Full-scale inspection data visibility in one place
Preferring a more efficient asset inspection system, GDOT decided to go ahead with AssetIntel and their bridge inventory and inspection software, inspectX.
Accordingly, AssetIntel migrated 16 years’ of GDOT’s historical bridge inventory and inspection data from GAMS. The migrated data included users, assets, documents, multimedia, inspections, and notes, amounting to over 2TB of data.
“AssetIntel is always quick to respond and handles any requests or problems very quickly,” says Bryon.
Next, AssetIntel collaborated with GDOT’s IT team to deploy inspectX on GDOT’s servers. As a part of this collaboration, the teams worked together to integrate inspectX with GDOT’s maintenance management system, for which the DOT uses GAMS.
Under the new circumstances, inspectX allows GDOT to efficiently plan bridge inspections as well as collect data in the field, electronically review inspections, and generate PDF reports – all in one place.
Monitor bridge inventory data
The dashboards and the filters in inspectX let GDOT slice and dice their inventory data based on counties, districts, bridge conditions, bridge owners, and more.
Bridge inspectors and program managers under GDOT can even generate pie charts, tables, or bar graphs displaying meaningful bridge inventory information in the dashboard. This functionality provides fast and quality insights into the data collected during bridge inspections, laying the groundwork for future investigations of bridges.
Moreover, program managers can identify potentially incorrect data when the inspectX dashboard automatically analyzes bridge statistics.
Process queries and plan inspections in a convenient way
Bridge inspectors need to be able to create complex queries, and inspectX provides them fast answers to their questions, tying those queries to a GIS interface.
As for scheduling inspections, GDOT uses inspectX to easily keep track of overdue and upcoming monthly bridge inspections according to the FHWA inspection frequency requirements.
Efficiently collect field data
Sometimes, it can be challenging for inspectors to know the exact location of a particular bridge. The inspectX tablet app plots the bridge data on Google Maps to overcome this problem, providing turn-by-turn directions to bridges.
Through the app, GDOT inspectors can also collect data in the field without an internet connection. This feature facilitates a smooth workflow, even in remote locations.
Ditching the old-fashioned pen-and-paper method and moving on to tablets, inspectors don’t need to carry digital cameras, either. Instead, they can take photos right from the tablet and associate those with any defect, element, agency or NBI item, or maintenance items.
Rather than typing text while recording data, they’re able to save time by using the speech-to-text functionality.
Once done with their inspection work, inspectors simply upload the data to the server. Before submitting the inspection data for approval, all they need to do is review the information electronically.
The Benefits: Magnifying efficiency across bridge inspection teams
The powerful built-in analytics under inspectX helps GDOT’s bridge inspectors ensure and implement data accuracy throughout their workflow. Having a tool like inspectX enables them to electronically zero in on precisely what has happened, and changed, since the past inspections.
Apart from keeping a regular pulse on upcoming bridge inspections, along with powerful filters to drill down data, GDOT has been able to consolidate their visualizations and analyses of bridge and inspection data onto relevant dashboards.
This functionality translates into a paperless workflow with 360-degree visibility and greater transparency – where inspectors, as well as program managers, can access their data in inspectX more efficiently, thereby saving valuable time.
In turn, the efficiencies created by this inspection workflow have freed up the GDOT bridge inspection team to focus exclusively on their bridge investigations, rather than deal with the hassles of manually collecting and uploading data.
“InspectX is very user-friendly and has all the data [we] need to run an inspection program efficiently,” says Bryon.
Today, by leveraging the observability and analytics of crucial bridge data through inspectX, GDOT inspects Georgia’s bridges with amplified operational efficiency and effectiveness.
Change the Way You Inspect Bridges Today
With dashboards, maps, offline field data collection, and more advanced features, inspecting bridges with inspectX has never been more efficient.