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Doug Fenske, left, and Byron Gessel, team members with EM Richland Operations Office contractor Mission Support Alliance, demonstrate the use of location intelligence and mixed reality to locate underground utilities.
Doug Fenske, left, and Byron Gessel, team members with EM Richland Operations Office contractor Mission Support Alliance, demonstrate the use of location intelligence and mixed reality to locate underground utilities.

RICHLAND, Wash.EM Richland Operations Office contractor Mission Support Alliance (MSA) is rolling out major updates to its use of location intelligence that could change the way work is done at the Hanford Site.

Location intelligence uses geospatial data on roads, facilities, bodies of water and other features to help solve problems, identify efficiencies, and reduce risk. Anyone who has a cellphone, computer, or tablet uses this geospatial information to find where they are going or what is around them. At Hanford, this information is key to making decisions that help guide cleanup progress.

MSA’s Geospatial Information Technology Services (GITS) team recently simplified the process for creating and using interactive maps across the 580-square-mile site. One new feature uses location intelligence and mixed reality, which is a merging of real and virtual worlds, to allow workers to see in real-time and real-space what infrastructure lies beneath the surface, ensuring safer, smarter, and more efficient work.

“It’s exciting to see the improvements location intelligence has brought to the site’s projects and processes,” said Ben Ellison, chief information officer at the Hanford Site. “Almost everything we do at Hanford is tied in some way to location. The convergence and information exchange between the field and the virtual is really helping to underscore how crucial geospatial information systems are to mission success.”

Through the combination of location intelligence and mixed reality, Hanford Site workers are able to use a mobile device to map out underground utilities while in the field, ensuring efficiency and worker safety.
Through the combination of location intelligence and mixed reality, Hanford Site workers are able to use a mobile device to map out underground utilities while in the field, ensuring efficiency and worker safety.

In recent years, one of the biggest challenges was understanding and adjusting to a changing and broadening user base. An example of this is the need for field crews to collect and view geospatial information while they perform their traditional work. Another part of this challenge is changing the general perception about the technical services team from giving general support to providing solutions for nearly all work scopes on the Hanford Site.

“Everyone onsite is now a consumer of geospatial information,” said Jason Altman, MSA GITS program manager. “To account for this, our team has taken a One Hanford approach and collaborated with the other Hanford contractors and work groups to implement a modern site-wide enterprise solution.”

Recent updates to location services focused on streamlining user interfaces, making it easier for workers to explore and use the vast amount of geospatial information created and managed on the Hanford Site. This makes the information easy to understand and access.

Over the next five years, work groups will expand and integrate the use of location intelligence into nearly all work at Hanford.

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