Big Data and it’s benefits to Infrastructure


Planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, repairing, & decommissioning large infrastructure is complicated and expensive and involves hundreds of stakeholders. Being able to juggle this in a cost effective way requires the ability to record and interpret large volumes of information in a timely manner.

This need has always existed but recent advancements in technology have enabled extreme amounts of information to be captured, this capturing of data is a double sided sword because we can now quantify how much we’ve captured, and not utilised.

The use of BIM in construction projects is becoming more widespread and it’s benefits are widely advertised, for example 4D Bim where the 4th dimension is time allows for users of the program to track construction from piling to topping off. With this information you can then ingrate the supply chain into your planning schedule so that the materials needed are delivered on a ‘Just in Time’ basis.

Integrating Big Data

Being able to GPS track your assets as they move around or between a construction site could give you the ability to better plan their usage and reduce the need for duplication, if you can do the same amount of work but without the need of an extra crane this can have a big impact on the bottom line. The GPS data could also allow you make make hotspots of where the activity is happening and track that information so that you can effectively manage traffic on site. All of this information can be routed to the site office in real time allowing the site manager to make an informed decisions.

Using Big Data in such a direct way by the end user can be hit and miss because it may depend upon their interpretation of that data. With the ability to use artificial intelligence to scour through realms of data at breakneck speed it is possible to have a system determine an outcome that matches your desired criteria.

For example, if you want your fleet of vehicles to work in the most fuel efficient way possible you could input all of their GPS data along with traffic information and weather patterns and have the system tell you which route will save the most fuel, or which route will get them there fastest.


Using the data as a way of changing and improving a process in real time or after the fact is useful but big data has another card up it’s sleeve, simulation. Using historical data that you’ve collected from the many Km’s of rail track that you’ve already built allows you to simulate different permutations to the process and improve it before you start your next project.

The simulation work allows companies make efficiency gains in areas that might otherwise go unexplored or unnoticed.


Knowing what to measure and record can be difficult and using the data that you do have to improve your systems or processes is even more difficult. Add that to the the fact that there is almost no plug and play solution out there for those companies building infrastructure who want to leverage all of these possibilities the entry to market present some hurdles.

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