Geospatial services have also played a key role in successful historical and natural surveys. WSP’s services include GIS, web mapping, mobile data collection applications and drone surveys.
“Geospatial data underpins a large proportion of the projects that WSP is involved with,” said Jay Puckett, director of the WSP geospatial analysis and cartography group. “Whether a client is asking for quality map making, analysis of factors across a landscape, or geospatial applications, a high level of expertise with GIS and geospatial data is required.”
Using geospatial data can improve the overall project by allowing spatially-enabled decision making and analysis.
“Many factors that go into planning or design projects involve looking for data across the landscape, and the proper collection, display and analysis of that geographic data can reveal trends that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to identify,” Puckett said. “Maps can serve as strong communication tools when conveying the results of analysis in a report or in providing data about a project to the public.”
A lack of quality data at the right spatial scale has long been a significant limitation of using GIS on many projects. This is becoming less and less of an issue as the quantity of publicly available data has increased and the cost of acquiring new datasets has decreased dramatically.
A large challenge that remains is the lack of understanding by some clients of the centrality of geospatial data to many of their projects.
“A client may think of their project as a pure planning effort without realizing the need for a comprehensive geospatial database to inform the planning effort or without understanding the value that geospatial tools can bring to the overall project effort,” Puckett said. “This leads to a lack of resources for geospatial staff to be involved beyond a cursory level and missed opportunities to deploy helpful geospatial applications on projects.”
Whether that geospatial data is core to the project itself or only tangential, an improved strategy of gathering, analyzing and displaying geospatial data can improve projects. WSP is providing expertise in every stage of these projects; whether it is in strategy and costing during the proposal stage, the development of geospatial applications to help meet project goals, or the mapping and exploration of spatial data during analysis.
WSP has developed mobile data collection applications that simplify field data collection by streamlining the data preparation, data collection and reporting functions into a single GIS-based system.
“This type of system can save time, improve the consistency of field data, and ensure higher-quality data by building quality control checks into the process,” Puckett said. “WSP is helping clients design and implement an internal strategy, regardless of the size of its operations.”