Autodesk Topobase software enables Stadtwerke Augsburg in Germany to cut its costs and improve its public utility services.
“Autodesk Topobase provides a tool and surface for professional users to access all the data within Oracle Spatial. They don’t need any database expertise. Using Autodesk Map 3D, they work with the data in a classic CAD environment that includes all the geospatial visualization and analysis capabilities they need.”
—Juergen Biedermann, Stadtwerke Augsburg's Documentation and Data Processing Manager
An independent public utility, Stadtwerke Augsburg delivers a wide range of services to the 350,000 residents of Augsburg, Germany. From gas, water, and electricity, to district heating and local public transport, residents look to Stadtwerke Augsburg to manage the infrastructure assets they depend on as they work, commute, and relax each day. To streamline efficient asset management, Stadtwerke Augsburg turned to Autodesk® Topobase™ to provide the capabilities it needed to store all asset data within a single Oracle® database. Using Autodesk Topobase along with Autodesk Map® 3D (now known as AutoCAD® Map 3D), Autodesk MapGuide®, and Oracle® Spatial, Stadtwerke Augsburg is:
- Instantly completing tasks that once took 30 minutes
- Delivering timely asset information to field technicians
- Eliminating the need to maintain duplicate asset data sets
- Improving service to customers
Prior to Autodesk Topobase, Stadtwerke Augsburg stored its asset data in multiple systems. One system housed all tabular asset information, such as installation dates, cost data, parts information, and unit size. Other systems within the engineering department contained infrastructure design and spatial information. When Stadtwerke Augsburg’s engineers needed design, location, and tabular asset information, they wasted time querying the systems and reconciling the information. They were also forced to maintain multiple data sets for each asset, which was equally time-consuming.
According to Juergen Biedermann, a manager in Stadtwerke Augsburg’s central documentation and data processing services department, “Maintaining our asset data sets cost us a great deal of time and made it difficult for us to respond to customers as quickly as we wanted. We were also concerned about the data quality. With multiple data sets, costly data errors and inconsistencies between systems are inevitable.”
In 2002, Stadtwerke Augsburg’s management team decided to implement an integrated asset information system. The team began by identifying a number of key attributes that their new system must include. They wanted a system that leveraged their experience with Autodesk design applications, such as Autodesk Map 3D. They also preferred to use a system based on open data standards to avoid locking their valuable asset data into a proprietary format. Most importantly, the team wanted a system that would help them to manage and maintain all types of data simultaneously.
After evaluating the options, Stadtwerke Augsburg chose to deploy a system built around Autodesk Topobase and Oracle Spatial. “We liked the fact that Autodesk Topobase offered us a way to integrate all our asset data within the Oracle Spatial database and then maintain the data in the normal course of our work,” explains Biedermann. “The whole solution is based on open data. That helps to both protect our investment and use our asset data with other applications, including our SAP customer accounts system.”
Complete Asset Data Management
Today, Stadtwerke Augsburg stores more than 100,000 objects and 2.3 million attributes along with 6,000 digital land-register maps with Oracle Spatial. Engineering staff access the data through ten specialized Autodesk Topobase tools for electric, gas, and water utilities and land management applications. Autodesk Topobase translates attribute and utility network connectivity data into features and objects that Autodesk Map 3D recognizes, helping engineering staff to work seamlessly within a familiar Autodesk software environment.
From planning to design to construction, Stadtwerke Augsburg uses its integrated system to manage all the events that take place in the lifecycle of infrastructure assets. For instance, when the organization needs to replace an aging section of water utility pipe, engineers create construction plans for the project, determine which residents must be notified, and schedule the project. Once field staff replace the pipe, engineers add relevant as-built information and register the project as complete—all within a single software environment.
“Autodesk Topobase provides a tool and interface for professional users to access all the data within Oracle Spatial,” says Biedermann. “They don’t need any database expertise. Using Autodesk Map 3D, they work with the data in a classic CAD environment that includes all the geospatial visualization and analysis capabilities they need.”
Increasing the Value of Data
After implementing its integrated system, Stadtwerke Augsburg realized that employees without engineering expertise, such as customer service agents, managers, and field crews, would benefit from ready access to the asset and spatial information by speeding business decisions and customer support. Stadtwerke Augsburg turned to Autodesk MapGuide to make the data available over the Internet on dynamic, intelligent maps.
Biedermann notes that Autodesk MapGuide has been so successful among desktop users that Stadtwerke Augsburg decided to expand data availability even further. He says, “Using GPS-enabled handheld mobile devices, our field technicians can access the coordinates of all transformer locations. If there is a disturbance on a line, they use the information for navigation, which allows them to respond faster.”
Saving Time and Improving Service
With Autodesk Topobase as the data management backbone of its integrated solution, Stadtwerke Augsburg has been able to save time, ensure the integrity of its asset data, and improve service to customers. “Previously, customer service agents needed over 30 minutes to answer asset location-related questions for customers, but now it takes less than a minute,” notes Biedermann. “With Topobase and Oracle Spatial, we no longer have to maintain multiple data sets, and we have reduced the risk of data entry errors. Our system is definitely helping us to deliver higher quality work, faster.”