Second step: the geospatial data
Having a good model for the design problem is great, but there’s no effective way to use the software if we don’t have any data. When we’re talking about data, we’re talking one of two things:
- Input data (what we use to create the design)
- Output data (the design itself)
We can see examples of input data in earlier images – addresses, streets, poles. Other kinds of input data we might want are existing conduit, property boundaries, easements, gas pipelines, and areas of special interest. Each of these will give us extra information we can use to generate a design: either things to avoid (e.g. gas pipes), or things we can utilise to save cost (e.g. existing conduit).
How can we source this data? Streets and addresses are available as open source data in many places in the world, but the rest usually has to be sourced from local councils or companies. The key thing with input data is making sure it’s of the right quality and structure to use for design. We’ve gone ahead and defined these things in the Biarri Standard Input Schema (SIS) *TM*, which gives a detailed description of the different datasets which can be used for FTTH design, and the best way to structure each dataset. In our new web application, FOND, we’re tackling the sourcing, quality and structuring problems in input data with the “Area Select” feature, which allows a user to simply select the design area they’re interested in, and let FOND sort out the rest.
FOND Area Select Feature – Automated Data Sourcing
In the same way as input data, it’s important to have a well defined and consistent data structure can represent any design. A typical FTTH design needs to contain detailed information on splicing, routes used, which components are being used at different places in the network, and much more. We’ve defined a data structure to capture all of this in the Biarri Standard Output Schema (SOS) *TM*.
Third step: getting the software right
Automation is great, but we can’t do everything with software. Good design software needs to be built with humans in mind, making it easy to tweak inputs and parameters, make changes, and deliver good designs quickly.
Building software which can do all these things is hard. But luckily, you don’t have to do it yourself. Biarri offers a range of software products and services for activities like cost analysis, detailed design, and field surveys.
Where to from here?
Automation can be a daunting thing, However it can do some pretty cool things and free up your time to work across different, more interesting tasks.
Geospatial data is the foundation to pursuing profitable automation. If you want to get started, get your data in order. And, if you need help don’t hesitate to reach out!