Airport Business

APR 2018

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AIRFIELD MAINTENANCE were not conducive to the rapid deployment that the airport was seeking. The consultant team found the product that worked for ATL almost by chance, when it discovered a program that initially came packaged with the engineering software Civil3D, called AutoCAD Utility Design (AUD). This software, developed by Autodesk and now sold and supported by Spatial Business Systems, was originally created for power companies to map power plant infrastructure. The functionality lends itself well to mapping utilities in and under large airfields. With AUD, the consultant team was able to render the data into images that offered clickable links to information and, because of the program's compatibility to Autodesk's Civil3D, they also were able to render the data into 3D images rather than 2D. This was not one of ATL's original requests, but turned out to be very helpful in being able to see how cables and ducts were routed over, under and around others underground. "If a series of lights go out because of a faulted circuit, airport operations can now easily see where the circuit is and how to access it without having to physically investigate or rely on a data set," said Lee. ATL was impressed with the functionality of AUD as a way to map their current system, but there are some drawbacks to using the program. Unlike using a customized software solution, the airport will have to purchase the program and licenses required to be able to access and read the files the consultant team created. A customized software would have interfaced directly with AutoCAD, a computer program the airport already owns and understands how to use, without the additional licenses and software costs. Whether the technology was custom created by the consultants or purchased through a pre-made program, there will always be a learning curve for airport employees. By using AUD, the curve will be heightened somewhat since it does not have a familiar interface. Another challenge is that the consultant team had difficulty receiving support from Spatial Business Systems and Autodesk on the program and information on help issues was not easily accessible online. The consultant team will provide an introduction to the AUD software based on their user experience to ATL's engineers after the project is fully completed, but formal training on the software is not readily available. While these issues may be a deterrent to some, the more AUD is used by airports to capture utility data, the more collective knowledge will be gained and can be shared among airport professionals — a benefit that would not be true for a custom software solution. Creating an inventory of an airfield's utility system as it currently exists is a worthwhile endeavor for saving time on maintenance and operations, especially at large airports. It provides a specific set of standards for all future consultant projects and ensures everyone is working from the same set of data. In addition, the ability to augment the asset management systems of the airport, creating in-depth records on condition and maintenance history, will translate directly into financial savings throughout the lifecycle of the various systems. Utility inventories give airports a better understanding, by way of modelling and GIS-linked data, of the health of any system, and will enable more careful, targeted repair and upgrade projects in the future. This is the goal of any asset management program — to be able to guide better decisions in spending limited capital resources. AUD worked well for creating a visual, interactive system for ATL, but there are several ways to capture utility data. GIS and other programs continue to work well for airports across the country performing this kind of full utility inventory. In the end, the airport must consider its specific needs, its budget and timetable for the work and deliverables, and the way in which it will use the information it is collecting. ABOUT THE AUTHORS Tim Fredlund, P.E., Principal Aerospace Program Manager Tim Fredlund has been driving client success through design and construction for over 20 years. He is a Principal with Pond, a progressive, full-service A/E/P/C firm providing quality services to government, corporate and private sector clients throughout the world. Currently, Tim leads as Pond's Aerospace/Aviation Program Manager, directly serving the needs of commercial service, general aviation and DOD airport clients and their projects around the globe. Contact: 404.748.4791, Tim Lee, P.E., Senior Electrical Engineer at Pond Tim Lee has over 23 years of electrical engineering experience in aviation and industrial facilities projects, including more than 10 years of experience working commercial airfields throughout the Southeast. He has extensive experience in the design of airfield lighting, NAVAIDS and airfield lighting controls. Tim specializes in lighting systems, power distribution, alarm systems, UPS systems, generators, and airfield lighting and signage, with exceptional skills in coordinating electrical components with multi-discipline operations. Contact: 404.748.4746, Creating an inventory of an airfield's utility system as it currently exists is a worthwhile endeavor for saving time on maintenance and operations, especially at large airports. Pond & Company 42 airportbusiness April 2018

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