Nearmap Aerial Imagery Helps Lindy Paving Improve Processes
Innovative employees know how to make a job flow more smoothly for a company. For Lindy Paving Inc., based in New Galilee, Pennsylvania, employees took on a collaborative effort between operations and IT to develop a field data collection app that helps the company manage increasing numbers of paving projects. Project Engineer Kyle Monceaux and Senior IT Business Analyst Steve van Vliet reached out to Robert Carroll, the vice president of commercial initiatives for Nearmap, a location content provider specializing in high-resolution, aerial imagery, to set up a mapping technology within the app. Now the new app helps Lindy Paving lower expenses while increasing revenue.
The field data collection app is browser-based and designed to increase efficiencies in communication and project management of its 400 plus paving projects conducted each season. Created for both field and office use, the browser app replaces reams of paper maps, spreadsheets and PDF files, while allowing planners and estimators to prepare for projects without physically going to the site. “We needed a simple, mobile map to relay project progress and provide communications between Lindy field staff, estimators, project managers and executives,” Monceaux said. “It also helps provide the planning information we need for next year’s projects.”
Monceaux explained that Lindy Paving crews operate in urban environments where it is often difficult to get to the project site to assess each parking stall or piece of pavement. In the past, the company had to send a field engineer to walk the site and take pictures of problem areas. General consumer grade technology such as Google Earth could not provide them the detail that project managers needed, but Monceaux spoke directly about the quality he can get from the Nearmap professional grade technology. “The imagery is so clear we can see cracks that need to be addressed.”
Carroll explained how the images are collected.
“We use manned aircraft flying at high altitudes to get over the noise of air traffic, yet can get the high resolution clients need. We developed our own camera and data collection system.” The Nearmap photography takes tens of thousands of high-resolution pictures over an area, and then technicians use cloud-based processing to stitch the images together seamlessly to reveal pictures of sites with clarity down to three ground inches or better. Lindy’s custom app shows active and archived projects on a map merged with Nearmap aerial imagery that can be zoomed in and out as needed by the user. For example, one of their clients – a large utility company – works with Lindy to repave roads and sidewalks of the hundreds of infrastructure repair locations they work on each year. The aerial images show Lindy crews the exact locations of their projects.
“It makes it very easy for us to look and see where our projects are located for planning and execution purposes,” Monceaux said.
Planning is something Nearmap can assist clients with thanks to the regularity and frequency of flights and image collection. Carroll said the flights take place several times a year, which means pictures are updated on a regular basis, keeping images current.
“We’ve been collecting since 2014, so some of these areas have six or seven refreshes. So we can see and track changes over time. We can see erosion or construction changes or other contributing factors” to an area’s change, and give that additional data to an agency for pavement maintenance planning.
Lindy Paving Inc. is the largest asphalt paving contractor in Pennsylvania. Lindy has consistently delivered award-winning asphalt paving and product manufacturing. By 2009, the company had garnered three of the National Asphalt Pavement Association’s Sheldon G. Hayes awards and has continued to attain Quality in Construction awards since then.
The company boasts five asphalt plants and a terminal in the state to serve its own paving crews as well as customers. The drum mix plants are set up to produce any mix design for commercial, municipal or state projects, including warm-mix asphalt when needed.
Monceaux said he couldn’t speak highly enough about the encouraging culture at Lindy Paving where award-winning work and ideas can flourish. The collaborative team had leadership’s full support in developing the field data collection app.
“Lindy Paving is family oriented and they give freedom to develop ideas. If you bring an idea forward and they like it, they’ll let you go the distance with it. You can approach any one of their executives and sit down to discuss an idea.”
He explained that even an idea that isn’t fully “attainable” may have a part that someone will help you expand. It’s a culture of encouragement and innovation for the end result of growing an entire business. Nearmap’s aerial imagery allows all the players to come to the table through the app.
In future versions of the app, Lindy plans to build in tools allowing calculations and drawing directly on the Nearmap imagery to determine exactly where objects will go on any given project, which will help in developing estimates.
Lindy built the storage and retrieval system using SQL, ArcSDE, ArcGIS Server, Amazon S3 media storage, and aerial map services provided by Nearmap. Lindy Paving’s field data collection app is proving to be a big hit among the company’s project managers, estimators and planners by providing:
- Better planning and estimates—Nearmap aerial imagery allows Lindy to view new projects and better plan without onsite visits, resulting in cost savings and faster estimates.
- More efficient crew management—The Nearmap imagery allows crews to see the project site before they physically go there. It does not require a lot of clicks and steps to get to the information they need.
- Pre- and post-construction information—Nearmap within the app provides all the key data points and a whole view of the project lifecycle. Visibility and access to all key data points allows Lindy to better plan and prioritize projects, which leads to increased projects and revenue.
- Reduced staffing—The increased effectiveness of all parties involved has eliminated the need to add additional staff to manage the more than 400 projects completed in a single paving season.
“We are grateful for our partnership with Lindy Paving,” Patrick Quigley said. He’s the senior vice president and general manager, North America at Nearmap. “They are utilizing Nearmap aerial imagery in a unique way to improve their business processes and strengthen their bottom line. This type of innovation allows Lindy Paving to make informed decisions rapidly. They plan and deploy resources in a highly efficient manner.”