VertiGIS’ Pinpoint product allows users to effortlessly streamline locate activities within their GIS and supports development of more efficient damage prevention solutions. Parker Pierce, Product Director at VertiGIS, recently took some time to share the benefits of using Pinpoint for locate and damage prevention tasks. With discussion on how Pinpoint enhances operational efficiency, tracks data and works alongside network assets, Parker provides insight into how Pinpoint is advancing damage prevention and helping to create safer, better-prepared communities.
What is Pinpoint and what can it do?
[PP] For utility networks with buried facilities, Pinpoint makes damage prevention management easy by combining critical locating data with network maps in an intuitive interface. Pinpoint is a complete solution that enables underground facilities to perform all locate-related activities and data management. Pinpoint receives locate emails from a company’s 811/One Call agencies, displays them on a Web map alongside underground network assets, tracks user activity, and responds to 811/One Call agencies once work is completed.
How does Pinpoint relate to different stakeholders in the damage prevention process?
[PP] Pinpoint has facets that address day-to-day needs of managers, dispatchers, and field locators. Managers benefit from reports generated by Pinpoint data that provide insight into their company’s damage prevention process. Dispatchers gain value through accessing all locate requests in a single, map-based view that allows for rapid ticket management. Field Locators utilize the same intuitive UI which makes their everyday tasks of finding, examining, and closing locates easy and efficient.
What are some of the advantages to using Pinpoint? Are there any specific functionalities that Pinpoint offers that are superior to other competitor solutions?
[PP] Pinpoint is quick to deploy and easy to learn. Pinpoint’s UI provides confidence to users making critical decisions since it overlays spatial locate boundaries and task meta-data onto a Web map provided by their GIS. Pinpoint handles positive response to participating 811/One Call agencies so that users do not need to swivel chair between multiple systems. In addition, Pinpoint users can subscribe to various notifications related to damage prevention events which keeps them apprised immediately of critical incidents. Pinpoint tracks all user activity and generates metrics companies can analyze to improve their damage prevention processes.
Can you provide some examples of the types of organizations that are using Pinpoint?
[PP] In general, any organization that manages underground facilities can utilize Pinpoint. Specifically, gas, power, water, wastewater, and telecommunications providers can use Pinpoint to track excavation requests that may overlap with their buried assets.
How is Pinpoint helping organizations to perform tasks more efficiently?
[PP] Pinpoint brings efficiency to an organization’s damage prevention process in several ways. First, Pinpoint pulls all the information employees need to safely and confidently manage locates into one place. The UI displays dig sites with associated task information inside a company’s Web GIS, eliminating the need to access multiple applications or files to make informed decisions. Second, most states either require or recommend positive response – a confirmation message the facility owner sends to the excavator for each locate request. Pinpoint connects directly to the 811/One Call agency systems to provide positive response, automatically eliminating wasted effort. Third, locators can access Pinpoint from practically anywhere because it runs inside standard Internet browsers. Field locators can access Pinpoint via any device which has a connection to the Internet. Locators do not need to wait until they get back to the office to access maps, respond to locate requests, or view assigned tasks.
What are some consequences of not completing a locate request properly and how does Pinpoint help to solve these issues?
[PP] Not completing locate requests can be expensive and dangerous. Losses for damaged underground facilities vary depending on the environment, but repair costs alone typically surpass $15,000 in the US. Beyond repairs, companies also often experience losses from poor customer service and SLA penalties because of network damages. In the worst case scenario, missed locates involving gas and power networks can have incredibly tragic results for excavation workers and the surrounding population. Pinpoint ensures companies never miss a locate through its interface which clearly displays excavation sites alongside a company’s network maps. Further, Pinpoint immediately notifies subscribed users of crucial occasions, such as emergency locates, safeguarding the company from missed requests.
Can Pinpoint track past activities, for instance historical data?
[PP] Yes, Pinpoint tracks user activity and general metrics surrounding the damage prevention process in real-time. Managers and dispatchers can access a full event log for each locate at any time. In addition, Pinpoint provides access to historical data via a self-serve reporting site and a REST API. When companies combine the Pinpoint Reporting API with data visualization tools, they can build reports which provide valuable operational insight. Managers can quickly answer questions such as “Do I have enough locators?” and “How many locates do we clear without a truck roll?” which assist them in properly resourcing their damage prevention teams.
What does the future look like for the Pinpoint product?
[PP] We are pushing Pinpoint forward persistently so that the product will continue to meet the needs of our customers long into the future. Our current roadmap includes automated ticket assignment, quick clear features, and offline locate task management. Automated ticket assignment will make Pinpoint even more efficient through harnessing the power of AI and defined rules to send locates to specific employees. Quick clear functionality will provide a means for teams to respond more quickly to locates outside their network footprint. We know many locators work in remote areas with no or poor cellular activity and offline access to Pinpoint features will ensure those in the field are always able to work effectively.
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