[By integrating GIS] at SSUC-KU, leaders can use the power of data to make informed decisions that benefit everyone. This was demonstrated in the opening of the SSUC-KU where planning college heads, staff, and students utilized the GIS outputs to transition to the new university. There is no other university system in the region that has such an integrated framework for campus GIS facility support, thus the KU 'eCampus' system could be a model to be emulated regionally and internationally.
Geospatially Empowering Campus Operations at Sabah Al-Salem University City-Kuwait University
Founded in 1966, Kuwait University (KU) is a world-class institute composed of 17 colleges offering 78 undergraduate and 71 graduate programs. As a pioneer in higher education and research, KU's mission is to leverage scientific exploration and the latest technologies to prepare the next generation of students to be a skilled and exceptionally knowledgeable workforce.
After years of increasing student enrollment, a decree was issued in 2004 to establish a new university city in Shedadiya, Kuwait. Sabah Al-Salem University City-Kuwait University (SSUC-KU) encompasses 6 million square meters with six faculty buildings, three supporting facilities, and a health science campus. SSUC-KU will have the capacity to enroll up to 50,000 students when construction is completed by September 2022.
As part of the university's commitment to incorporating advanced technologies, SSUC-KU project managers in 2017 proposed an implementation plan for geographic information system (GIS) technology across the new campus. The decision to implement GIS was for both student academic use and campus operations and maintenance.
Sabah Al-Salem University City-Kuwait University
During the construction of Sabah Al-Salem University City-Kuwait University (SSUC-KU), project managers sought to capture asset data to create a geospatial model for staff use and implement an enterprise GIS for campus operations.
An Esri distributor provided ArcGIS Enterprise, a complete GIS product that enables users to analyze, create, manage, map, and share geospatial information.
Upon construction completion, SSUC-KU will have a GIS model of the campus for operations and asset management. Moreover, having a GIS foundation will support cross-disciplinary academic capabilities and enhance curriculum and projects for university students.
A challenge for project managers in integrating GIS at SSUC-KU was identifying what spatial data needed to be captured. With a sprawling campus spanning multiple buildings, facilities, and infrastructure, the project scope was vast. The vast scope combined with the involvement of multiple contractors and consultants proved difficult. Since GIS technology was new to the campus, no procedures or guidelines were in place to ensure contractor compliance.
Designing a world-class data model to implement SSUC-KU's GIS vision would be a complex project requiring a customized approach. The solution would need to identify the full scope of GIS implementation and optimize project management to maximize productivity.
Team members from the project management and construction management organization met with university leadership to identify the project scope. After several meetings, the teams concluded that the goals for GIS use on campus were to create an enterprise geodatabase and management system; develop a mobile app; and integrate GIS with other SSUC-KU systems such as project and construction management (PCM), information communication technology (ICT), and building information modeling (BIM).
To meet these goals, project managers contracted with a GIS service provider to gather data on indoor, outdoor, and underground facilities campus-wide. Together with SSUC-KU leadership, project managers chose Esri distributor Openware to carry out the GIS solution. Project team members and university officials collaborated with Openware to create GIS guidelines and submission procedures.
For SSUC-KU's long-term GIS goals, Openware opted to provide the university with ArcGIS Enterprise, a complete GIS product that enables users to analyze, create, manage, map, and share geospatial information. Users have access to software such as ArcGIS Pro and ArcGIS Desktop, giving them the ability to automate workflows, perform real-time analyses, and more. The secure platform motivates collaboration, delivers business outcomes across industries and has been used at universities globally.
Openware partnered with prime contractor Turner Projacs to integrate the enterprise GIS with SSUC-KU's electric and utility system. Project managers leveraged the enterprise GIS to capture, store, manage, and publish SSUC-KU related data to meet plan requirements. With enterprise GIS, project managers could visualize the master plan of the colleges in 2D and 3D. The system enables space planning and utilization based on size, type, and even proximity of the facilities to equipment and university staff. The implementation of GIS also streamlined the collection of spatial and nonspatial asset and architectural data from the design and construction phases. This information will support operations and maintenance while establishing a GIS infrastructure for future expansion.
The enterprise GIS solution has also standardized how users describe and access SSUC-KU data. This created a structure for how in-building (also called indoor work only) and infrastructure systems can understand and communicate to each other once launched.
The solution provided SSUC-KU with comprehensive data housed within an enterprise system. GIS is accessible to all departments for collaboration, data sharing, and coordination. Enterprise GIS eliminated unsafe construction work and prevented unnecessary costs to the project. For example, GIS helped in estimating classroom and auditorium capacity based on furniture and space dimensions. Additionally, GIS statistical data helped in estimating the budget for new equipment and staff allocation in the new campus.
Geospatial intelligence populated maps with data about critical workflows, personnel, and assets, connecting construction crews with stakeholders to communicate project progress. GIS aided project staff in reporting, visualization, and site development logistics planning. Additionally, SSUC-KU staff used GIS analysis tools to estimate the capacity of the interior space for future expansion plans.
Once the construction is completed, SSUC-KU staff will have an established geodatabase of all the as-built drawings that will serve as a comprehensive model of the campus environment. The model will include all building and site facilities. With the model, staff can link mapped objects to other systems such as maintenance management, space planning, vehicle tracking, and other applications that will support the campus operations. Having a GIS foundation will empower SSUC-KU staff and students and provide a seamless transition from the existing campus to the new university city.
There are several long-term benefits from implementing a GIS for SSUC-KU staff. They can leverage data to estimate budgets to procure new equipment such as computers, printers, etc,; support cross-disciplinary academic capabilities that will enhance curriculum and projects for university students; and help students locate facilities by connecting the information to student registration.
The successful implementation of GIS at SSUC-KU for campus operations has also inspired the possibility for future integration with other KU campuses. Project managers are considering the integration with existing SSUC-KU systems such as ICT and BIM.