SAP Integration of Road Defects and GPS

By Tim Price

Transfield Services provides integrated solutions for road network management and operations. They offer a diverse range of services to many of Australia’s, New Zealand’s and North America’s government and privately funded highways, tollways and tunnels.

As part of their asset management activities, Transfield have teams that inspect their linear assets for condition and defects.  When defects are found work orders are created to initiate the repair of the defect.  The location and extent of the defect is record in addition to other specific details required by the work crews before visiting the site.

Transfield use SAP to manage their business processes including asset management, fault locations and work orders.  A mobile version of SAP, developed by Sky Technologies, is used by the road inspectors to enter specific details of defects and work orders.  The Sky Technologies application manages the connectivity with the main SAP databases and uploads and downloads data whenever a connection is available.  When a connection is not available the data is stored until it becomes available.  Transfield have in house resources to develop data entry forms for SAP, this gives them the flexibility to change the data entry forms as projects dictate.  However they also required a mechanism to capture their location in a manner that was compatible with the SAP asset management system.  Data in relation to linear assets are typically recorded using a linear referencing system.  A linear reference is simply a distance along a road asset from a defined point.  This is distinctly different from the geographic coordinate systems used by most GIS.


RIA Mobile GIS developed a software application for Transfield that would display any linear dataset on a map base as well as the current location of the asset.  When the operator records a defect using the system, the current location is converted to a linear reference linked to the current asset. The mobile SAP application is then initiated and the linear reference is automatically populated.  The operator then proceeds to enter the remaining details via the SAP forms.  All captured data from the SAP database is then displayed in the map display.

The system is flexible enough to support any linear asset regardless of project provided that a linear referencing system is established for that asset.  The ESRI linear referencing model is used by the RIA application and this can be generated using standard commercial off the shelf ESRI GIS software.  This ensures that Transfield can use the RIA software on different projects without needing to make changes.  Variations for each project are implemented via the SAP interface managed by Transfield staff.

The software that performs the linear referencing is based on ESRI’s ArcObjects and is implemented using an ArcEngine licence.

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  • Client: Transfield Services
  • Tasks: Integration of mobile GIS with SAP
  • Categories: Asset Defect Capture, Asset Management