Infrastructure – A Global Priority

If you watch the news or read the paper on a regular basis, you know all too well that infrastructure continues to be a critical global issue. That’s because communications, energy, transportation and water and sanitation systems are crucial to improving each of our lives and decreasing poverty around the world. In fact, developing and maintaining adequate infrastructure is central to our most pressing challenges – from national security and globalization to citizen access and essential services.

Many of you attended Hexagon 2012, where I spoke about this very challenge, as did Hexagon President and CEO Ola Rollén and the other Hexagon divisional presidents. I’d like to take a brief moment to highlight again a key component of global infrastructure – dams.

There are as many as 845,000 dams in the world, nearly 7,000 of which are large in scale, according to The New York Times. These large dams are responsible for generating 19 percent of the world’s total electricity. Per George Mason University’s annual Critical Infrastructure Protection Report, these hydropower giants are a vital and beneficial part of the world’s infrastructure, providing a wide range of economic, environmental and social benefits.

As with any infrastructure, there are potential risks associated with dams. Regardless of the cause, any threat could result in significant destruction, including loss of life, massive property damage and severe long-term consequences.

Potential big challenges like these need big solutions. Let’s take China’s Chaingjiang Institute of Survey, Planning, Design and Research (CISPDR) for example.

CISPDR is the largest institute of its kind in China. For more than 50 years, it has delivered engineering, surveying, planning, design and construction services on major public works projects throughout China and in more than 20 countries around the world.

There are 87,000 dams in China alone, and CISPDR manages 2,000 of the country’s dams and reservoirs. It designed the Three Gorges Dam – a projected US$25 billion development and one of the largest water conservancy projects in history. When complete, the 410-mile-long dam will generate 84.7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, the energy equivalent of 50 million tons of coal.

When CISPDR sought to improve dam and reservoir IT and security, it engaged Intergraph to develop a comprehensive, integrated water infrastructure management system. Intergraph and CISPDR partnered to develop a working pilot system that would address possible hazards, such as environmental catastrophes, structural deficiencies or manmade disasters.

This comprehensive solution – what we call the Hexagon Hydrology Overall Solution, or the H2O solution for short – employs 15 different Intergraph product families, as well as synergies with our fellow Hexagon companies. For example:

  • Our Security products interface with cameras and Leica Geosystems sensors to detect and alert any changes within the dam.
  • Our Motion Video product provides real-time aerial video comparison.
  • ERDAS IMAGINE® and GeoMedia® software on Leica Geosystems tablets provide mobile geospatial solutions.
  • Leica Geosystems high-density scanners aid public safety analysis and mapping.
  • EdgeFrontier® middleware connects tier systems and sits between core Intergraph software and custom software.

The result is a common operational picture that provides CISPDR personnel with up-to-date, consistent information. They can gain crucial insights into the operations of individual dams or collective information about the entire system. This, in turn, helps them make smarter decisions for public safety, infrastructure management and emergency response.

Complex projects like this highlight the importance of infrastructure, and the need for effective infrastructure management and protection. Intergraph’s synergies within Hexagon continue to gain momentum, and the CISPDR project is one example of more to come. Get a firsthand look at this exciting technology at two upcoming shows: ANCOLD 2012 in Crown Perth, Australia, October 25-26, Booth #11, and Smart City Expo World in Barcelona, Spain, November 13-15.

Keep checking back to learn more about this exciting project and all our efforts at Intergraph.
Creating safer, smarter infrastructure for water management – that’s shaping change.


John Graham
Intergraph Security, Government & Infrastructure (SG&I)


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