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Managing Preventative Maintenance work without an Asset Inventory

March 31, 2017

Using VUEWorks to manage and map Preventative Maintenance work orders without an asset inventory in GIS.

It is a common misconception that you must have an established asset inventory in a database or GIS in order to schedule, track and manage preventative maintenance activities for a specific asset. Although it is very desirable and useful to have all your assets in a GIS inventory, sometimes that is not the reality you are faced with.

When you cannot start with the ideal (and yet you need to start), you must start with the practical. That can be as simple as creating and tracking recurring work orders by a location for key assets and expanding from there.

Recurring work orders are work orders that are created in the VUEWorks Work Order module for an activity that you set to automatically reschedule itself for a user-defined date or timeframe into the future.

Managing and mapping a recurring preventative maintenance activity for an asset can be as simple as creating a work order record in the VUEWorks Work Order module and clicking the work order to the assets location on an ArcGIS Online Street or aerial map. If you have your own street and aerial maps, so much the better!

Work Order A work order pin on the map for monthly debris cleaning for an unmapped culvert.

The preventative maintenance work order can be tailored to a specific activity and/or type of asset even if you do not have the asset in an Esri ArcGIS Feature Service or a VUEWorks Facilities module. The work order can be identified as Preventative Maintenance using the “Type” field.

Preventative maintenance work orders can be created as a onetime event or they can be scheduled to recur on a user defined basis. Each work order being set to recur can have its own timing, patterns and date ranges in which they recur.

Preventative work orderA recurring preventative maintenance work order for debris removal from unmapped culvert.

Work orders can then be assigned for execution by field crews using MobileVUE. Upon completion of the work order, VUEWorks will automatically reschedule the work order based on the user defined parameters. VUEWorks allows you to include time periods and specific days of the week to schedule out your preventative maintenance, which allows you to balance your workload by spreading it out over specific days and timeframes.

If you are just starting out with proactively scheduling your preventative maintenance work orders, you may want to consider starting slow. This way, you do not overwhelm yourself by scheduling more PM’s than your limited resources may permit you to complete. In keeping with our culvert work order, you may have hundreds (or thousands) of culverts along your roadways you would ideally clean on a regular and frequent basis, but resources may not permit that. So what do you do?

First, start by prioritizing your assets within an asset class, like culverts. As you prioritize your individual assets, two to four levels of priority should emerge- these will be based upon past experience and your ability to maintain them. Your most critical assets are those that have repeated service requests, create known problems, or are in high-use areas.

For example, a smaller culvert that causes flooding (due to frequently trapped debris) is a higher priority and will require more frequent touches. Whereas a larger culver in a less densely traveled area requires less frequent maintenance. With the VUEWorks recurring work order function, you can schedule routine bi-monthly debris cleaning for the smaller culvert, and an annual debris cleaning for the larger culvert.

Once you have your preventative maintenance programs configured as recurring work orders in VUEWorks, you will be able to manage your workload through VUEWorks Work Order Calendar. You will also be able to manage other PM’s, requested work and capital projects.

Maintenance work orderPreventative maintenance work order- along with other types of work orders in VUEWorks Work Order Calendar.

Are you ready for the best part? This same concept applies whether you have an asset inventory or not. If you are fortunate enough to have an asset inventory in ArcGIS or VUEWorks Facilities, simply associate the asset inventory record to the recurring preventative maintenance work order.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss how your organization can begin scheduling recurring preventative maintenance work orders using VUEWorks, call one of our Subject Matter Experts at 407-382-5222.

Maintaining Pavements in a changing Climate

March 2, 2017

Hot Pavement

We’ve all seen the news recently reporting climate changes that have caused extreme stress on our transportation and utility infrastructure across the nation. Whether it is failing dams, erosion of highways due to flooding and shifting soils or fires from extreme droughts, climatic changes affect long term performance of these systems. In today’s environment of drastic changes in climates from year to year, it becomes a challenge to understand the forces that continually deteriorate our transportation infrastructure.

The long-term effects of climate changes on pavement are significant. They include significant reduction in stiffness of subgrade and asphalt concrete surfaces, faster deterioration with a drastic reduction of performance life and a faster and non-linear increase in maintenance costs. Such increases in cost are not apparent from predictions that do not consider climate changes. How does pavement performance deteriorate differently with climate change and its uncertainty?

Climatic changes can result in dramatic moisture variations within the soil, more frequent freeze-thaw cycles and extreme temperature variations. These conditions often result in heaving of the roadbed soils, reduced load bearing capacity and erosion of the soils, void formation beneath pavement layers and deterioration of the pavement surface. Do you know when and how often these changes occur within your network? What are the effects on the pavement condition when these climatic conditions occur?

In some regions, an increase in heavy rainfall events may cause extreme erosion, especially in an environment previously in drought conditions. Frequent, long periods of rainfall result in saturated conditions due to a significant increase in the rainfall volumes. Large amounts of surface runoff through pavement edge infiltration, thermal condensation due to these temperature fluctuations and additional moisture infiltration from unsealed pavement cracks all increase the subgrade moisture. Depending upon the climate and region, extreme drying can also occur in the winter.

An increase in frequency of extreme heat days and multi-day heat wave events in the summer, especially in the south, also add to the drying of soils and evaporation of surface water. These climatic factors and environmental conditions affect the pavement structural properties, deteriorate pavement response under loading, decrease pavement performance life and increase the rate of deterioration, resulting in a change in the frequency and type of maintenance and rehabilitation required.

How can we better understand these changes and how they affect our pavement structures? Consistent and accurate pavement condition rating will help you understand the changes occurring in the pavement structure. A regular frequency of condition evaluations every 2 to 5 years will help monitor isolated distresses and provide a better deterioration curve for more accurate prediction of future performance. Survey areas should be equally spaced and marked within the segments to represent the overall conditions, in general conformance with ASTM D6433, such that they can be surveyed consistently for each cycle.

A quick study and review of weather conditions, including seasonal rainfall and temperature changes, will help determine the extent and timing of changes that may be occurring in the pavement system. After severe climatic changes, a small sample condition assessment of select survey areas may indicate if significant deterioration has occurred since the last survey. Understanding how these changes will affect pavement performance will help avoid reactionary repairs and help control costs by improving preventive maintenance.

In addition to pavement condition rating, we also need to understand how the climate changes affect the engineering properties of the pavement materials by reviewing the actual distresses observed to determine what forces may be causing the observed distress. Further engineering evaluations, such as deflection testing, ground penetrating radar or soil sampling may be needed to understand if the distress is related to moisture in the subgrade or other factors that are producing the change in properties of the materials.

A complete review of the soil conditions and properties are vital in understanding the cause of distress and determining the most appropriate maintenance solutions. This is important in not only finding the correct repair, but also in determining the risk associated with potential failure and proper preventive treatments to apply to a pavement structure before the distress occurs.

While proper assessment of the causes for pavement failure is important to determine proper maintenance, when to apply the treatments should be determined through optimization of maintenance for the pavement network. Use of good asset management software, such as VUEWorks, allows users to apply risk factors to the decision process and to quickly perform numerous scenarios to determine which maintenance strategy is the most effective in reducing maintenance costs and maximizing the benefits.

These risk factors can be used to apply more weight on pavement segments with sensitive environmental conditions that may be affected by the climatic changes. According to annual studies performed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the US transportation infrastructure is graded as a D.

With new leadership in Washington, we have heard reports of a new emphasis on funding to improve the condition of our infrastructure, yet each local agency understands this may be too little, too late. Now, more than ever, asset management tools are necessary to keep up with the changing environmental conditions that affect the performance of pavements and the funding needs.

If you are interested in learning more about pavement management best practices and opportunities, please reach out to us!

VUEWorks 2017 Training & Workshop Opportunities

February 9, 2017
The following are the preliminary dates and locations for VUEWorks Training and User Interactions. The logistics, agendas and details are being finalized. For planning purposes, we wanted to let our user community know so you can start planning for any or all of these you would be interested in attending.

Please check back on the Events page for additional details, agenda information, etc. Registration for these events is open now through the website by clicking the link there for each individual event. Registrants will be provided webinar login information separately after registration.

Workshop Series Webinars


Performance-Based Asset Management Best Practices – Making Your Data Work for You with Dashboards

February 7, 2017


We are all familiar with the day-to-day activities happening throughout our organization. Lots of things are happening and this information is being captured in our Asset Management System throughout the day, week, month and year. Information is an asset in and of itself, but it is neglected at many organizations because of the focus on “today’s” activities.

Dashboards can provide a passive way of visualizing data so that Performance Metrics can be monitored (e.g. How many Issues are older than 24 hours?). It can also provide Insights into your data that are not easily seen in tabular layouts of data Filters and Reports. This information should be presented to the Asset Management user in a way that is relevant to their day-to-day activities and should be interactive, giving the user control over the information in front of them.

VUEWorks set out to create this exact user experience when we decided to overhaul our Dashboard tools. The following goals were presented to the Development team along with their associated User Stories. This process would focus on the User, so we also enlisted many key clients from our customer base to provide the guidance necessary to achieve these goals:

  • Provide a Unique User Experience, focused on the Individual User as well as Groups of Users who share the same, common information
  • Provide a Wizard-driven User Interface (UI) to make it easy for anyone to author their own Dashboard Widgets
  • Expose all Data Sources and GIS Layers to allow for ANY type of Dashboard to be created
  • Provide a series of commonly used Dashboard Widget Types and share them among users within the organization

  • Integrate with / Leverage Existing Filters throughout the VUEWorks interface to make it easy for users to get their specific data delivered to their Dashboard without having to re-create anything.

  • Provide a series of Mathematical Functions (e.g. Count, Average, Min, Max, Sum) that can be organized by Values (Good, Fair, Poor) or Ranges of Values (Bins).

  • Allow the user to change the Appearance (2D or 3D), Legend Settings (Marker Types, Position) or General Settings (Labels, Font and Margins) related to the Widget.

  • Integrate with Existing User and Role-based Security found throughout VUEWorks.

  • Provide easy to use Help and Online resources to help train users and expose them to new functionality.

DTS will be hosting a webinar on Monday, February 13, 2017 at 2:00 PM EST to more fully review the dashboard functionality with our VUEWorks User Community. If you are interested in learning more, please register for the webinar on the events page of our website.

Register Today!


DTS and SmarterBetterCities Partnership Extends 3D to Asset Management

October 4, 2016

VUEWorks and CloudCities bring powerful 3D mobile tools to asset management


San Francisco, Calif. – October 4, 2016. DTS and SmarterBetterCities are pleased to announce a partnership that brings 3D tools and sharing to asset management.

The world is not flat. Why run an asset management system that only allows you to track work management, perform condition assessments and generate projects for a capital improvement plan in the second dimension? This partnership will make the interaction with VUEWorks both richer and more intuitive.

Using VUEWorks and CloudCities together brings many benefits to organizations. Seeing assets in 3D provides operational context that speeds up the understanding of important issues. Tying together the planning and management of assets means lower costs and better results. More effective actions planned in 3D make fixing and managing assets easier.

Many types of organizations will benefit from the ability of VUEWorks and CloudCities to combine existing asset data and BIM, CAD and GIS data with reality data (e.g. 3D photo meshes from drones.) Transportation agencies can use it to provide insights using realistic and thematic 3D visualizations of infrastructure and blend reality data with asset data to compare existing and planned scenarios. Facility managers can use it to leverage 3D dashboards that show key performance indicators (KPIs) such as occupancy, space costs, renewal rate and energy use costs ratios per space unit.

In addition, campus planners benefit from having an interactive 3D inventory of buildings and campus assets as well as planned changes to the campus. Public works officials can combine and convert existing data from AutoCAD, Civil 3D, InfraWorks, ArcGIS and Microstation into 3D for a real life integrated view of campus infrastructure.

VUEWorks and CloudCities work via the desktop or web so users can get access to their information on any device, anytime, anywhere. “The partnership with DTS brings to CloudCities powerful tools for asset management,” comments Jan Halatsch, Chief Product Officer of SmarterBetterCities. “In turn, seeing assets in 3D brings a whole new level of reality for asset managers using CloudCities.”

Facilities and fixed assets require a system of record and attention to their full life cycle. Work management, risk, condition and valuation and also the generation of capital improvement plans are enhanced when tied to GIS. This partnership takes the next logical step to model the real world in 3D.

More information

SmarterBetterCities: SmarterBetterCities is a fast growing 3D web startup based in Walnut Creek, CA, and Zurich, Switzerland founded in December 2012. They offer business-to-business solutions for decision makers, urban planners, municipalities, local governments, consultants, architect offices, real estate agencies, construction companies and more.

CloudCities: CloudCities is an online application for hosting, sharing and visualizing smart 3D city models. It is designed to be incredibly easy to share 3D content on websites, blogs, social media and mobile devices. Users just upload their 3D content to a server where it is securely stored. Various internal and external data sources can be integrated into the visualizations. With a few mouse clicks, users can add stunning dashboard visualizations and layer controls. After it is saved, users can easily link it to their social media accounts or embed it directly into their website.

Data Transfer Solutions (DTS), Makers of VUEWorks, is the leader in performance-based asset management. DTS provides mobile asset collection, work and asset management and custom geographic information system solutions.

Contact DTS