Single platform provides up-to-date information on an urban renewal project | ArcNews
In 2014, the French government launched the New National Urban Renewal Program (NPNRU), its national urban renewal program. The goal of this ambitious ten-year program is to rehabilitate neglected urban areas across the country.
The occupation by the Axis powers during World War II and the bombardments by the Allied forces caused extensive damage throughout the region. During the reconstruction efforts that began shortly after the war, large residential towers and commercial buildings were quickly erected. Although utilitarian in design, these buildings provided much needed infrastructure.
Two districts, Monplaisir and Belle-Beille, were selected for NPNRU funding for a massive urban rehabilitation project. These districts are located in the Métropole d’Angers Loire (ALM), the metropolis surrounding the city of Angers. ALM encompasses 29 municipalities and is located near the confluence of the Mayenne, Sarthe and Loire rivers in western France.
ALM launched a Project Management (PM) task to manage the more than 700 rehabilitation sub-projects undertaken in these two districts which would be executed in parallel or in cascade. The goal of the project is to renovate residential and public facilities that have not been modernized since the rapid construction efforts after WWII. At a cost of 400 million euros (approximately 450 million US dollars), this project will provide a combination of services and facilities in residential areas and bring businesses and residents together to improve the quality of life of residents. residents.
The scale of this renovation is ambitious. The project requires the coordination of 13 participating organizations. In the Monplaisir district, 368 buildings will be demolished and 1,470 housing units and public spaces, such as parks, will be built in their place. In Belle-Beille, 623 buildings are to be demolished and 1,318 housing units and public spaces will be built.
A key requirement of the contract was the implementation of a project tracking system integrating complex planning, budgeting and GIS functionalities. In addition, the system had to be easily accessible both for city officials and for the many subcontractors working on the project.
In 2018, the Egis Group, a civil engineering company based in France, won the contract to manage the project, which is due to be completed in 2024. “The schedule is extremely tight because people living in old buildings must first be relocated, then the existing buildings will be demolished, and finally the reconstruction of the new buildings can begin, ”said Frédéric Jehan, GIS development manager at Egis.
“There is a large amount of construction data that is continually being collected, reviewed and updated for this project,” Jehan said. “Due to the need to make it widely available 24/7, we have implemented a common data environment for the system.”
The relational database used is PostgreSQL and the project and planning information is stored in Microsoft Project (MS Project). The GIS web front-end uses the portal in ArcGIS Enterprise and is used to view the status of the project. Egis is a system integrator that implements software solutions adapted to the work environments of its customers. The company adapts implementations to meet the specific data management, analysis and presentation needs of its clients’ leadership teams.
MS Project has been integrated into the system because it is commonly used for project management and planning. Since MS Project does not have mapping capabilities, it could not display the geospatial data that would show the locations of the subprojects. A Gantt chart, included in MS Project, is the traditional planning tool used to illustrate a project schedule, but cannot show spatial overlaps which indicate possible subproject conflicts that are visible on a map.
“So the information shown on the map allows us to modify the Gantt chart accordingly,” Jehan said. “The mapping component is a huge differentiator for us. The data from MS Project is sent to our geospatial database. This allows us to implement a time-sequenced GIS so that we can visually compare the original plan in MS Project with updates as the project develops. Then we know which sub-projects are ahead of schedule and which are behind schedule. By specifying each sub-project on a map, we can click on it to get all the details related to that project. “
A Python script has been developed to transfer data from MS Project to the geospatial database. Whenever a change is made in MS Project, the script automatically saves a copy of it to a text file. Once a day, the script collects these files and feeds them into the GIS database, using unique identifiers and nomenclature to adhere to the appropriate IT structure. The whole process is automatic.
“From the GIS database, project progress reports with maps are automatically generated every month for the city administration to review,” Jehan said. “The reports show the progress made on each sub-project over the past month. They include data from MS Project, such as budget, when a particular subproject was started, the company working on it, and various construction details. “
Previously, this report was generated annually because it was a slow manual process. Now, most of the tasks required for the project are automated through the project tracking system.
“Centralizing the database in the system has been revolutionary for us. In the past, we had to use different software on different platforms to get the latest information on a project. Now, on a single platform, up-to-date project information is readily available and easily accessible, ”said Jehan.
“In addition, there is great concern in France to reduce the carbon footprint, so that there is less impact on the environment. One way to do this is to reduce the amount of data stored, as server storage consumes power. By centralizing the database, we have reduced the need to keep the same data on separate systems. “
Through this first-of-its-kind Web GIS approach, the client identified clear advantages in implementing a collaborative Web GIS that brings together multiple participants in a large-scale project under a common platform. It enables different stakeholders to realize the benefits of having data with high quality data that is shared among all parties transparently.
“Our management is very satisfied with the result of the project monitoring system in Angers,” concluded Jehan, “especially since we have won six additional projects based on the concept of the Angers platform.”