Infrakit is particularly aimed at digital collaboration on infrastructure projects, with strong BIM and geospatial integrations.
Keeping an eye and ear open for new SaaS construction software startups, I was pleased to hear from Helsinki, Finland-based startup Infrakit, particularly as it has strong relevance to the civil engineering sector, and also because of its focus on geospatial working and on open standards.
Founded in 2010, the now 13-strong company says it was born as the result of research on construction automation conducted at the University of Oulu. Like many other projects, this identified that progress and completion of infrastructure projects was frequently slowed by inefficient and clumsy communication flows, so the team created a platform for the digital flow of designs and as-built information throughout all projects, aiming to eliminate many of the delays and errors caused by lack of communication. Its ambition is to “become the global industry standard in handling open digital design data and in quality management reporting”.
Infrakit features include centralised project document management. It says:
“Using digital designs in open formats enables unhindered information flow between the project owner, designers, contractors and consultants — thus decreasing the amount of errors and total project costs. With Infrakit Construction Collaboration Cloud the project owner can follow project progress in real time and get quality assurance reports as they are completed to ensure quality standards are met.”
These are familiar selling points, but there is also a strong real-time geospatial element to how the Infrakit platform works (last November, I noted the AGI Foresight 2020 report calling for wider use of ‘location intelligence’). In an email, I was told Infrakit also helps land surveyors by integrating GNSS [Global Navigation Satellite System] equipment with its cloud tools – the worksite’s CAD software, machinery, GPS equipment and people, through all project phases, are all managed on the one platform.
During construction the designs in Infrakit are supplemented with as-built measurements. Measured points can be combined with design surfaces and the system automatically displays differences as color-coded icons on the map. Possible changes to designs can be updated directly to Infrakit so they are immediately available to all relevant parties and appropriate procedures can be initiated without any delay. A perfect database containing initial data, design files and as-built measurements is formed during the project. Utilization of this information continues during maintenance phase.
The Infrakit toolset incorporates both desktop browser and mobile applications:
- The web version adopts a map interface, whereby users can view and manage BIM models, as-built information and photos. As-builts, photos and machine control system management all have their own dedicated toolkits; users can also open work machine performance, efficiency and usage history in calendar views, view BIMs, and view real-time as-built points gathered from the field equipment.
- The Android tablet application incorporates the user’s position into terrain models on a map display, and allows specific models or designs to be viewed over the background map. Cross-sections showing all design surfaces and related as-built points, including tolerance information, can also be viewed. The app integrates with GNSS products from Topcon, Javad, Trimble and Leica, or any GNSS device supporting Bluetooth (read Infrakit blog post).