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Feb 28, 2024 2:14:29 PM3 min read

Sharing is caring, but own your data

The Ultimate Guide to Digitally Assisted Road Inspection, Blog 2/5

For Data seems to be the magic word to solve every problem these days. We will never deny that data is very useful for road inspectors, but it is definitely not an instant solution to everything. Before you start collecting data, take a moment to read this blog thoroughly. It will give you all the details you need to get started.

Why is collecting data so important?

Many road inspectors face an ever-increasing backlog of work compared to available funding. In fact, almost every country in the world has insufficient funds to make the necessary improvements, not to mention the (costly) road inspections themselves.

Therefore, it’s essential to incorporate life-cycle cost and long-term performance data to determine the necessary funding. To address this, a performance-based planning approach is critical, as it requires an optimization strategy to address the fundamental asset management question: “What is the optimal time to perform pavement rehabilitation to preserve pavement quality, extend pavement life, and save on repair costs?” In addition, addressing the challenges of maximizing the performance and sustainability benefits of pavement networks should be a core component of the asset management plan.

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In other words, to get the best performance for your limited budget, you must first determine the best road performance management strategy.

Determine the best road performance management strategy

This is a challenge that needs to be addressed as soon as possible, and data collection could well be part of the solution:

  • Data offers transparency of the situation.
  • Data plays a role in organizing road inspections and determining repair priorities.
  • Data gives you the insight you need to collaborate efficiently with the stakeholders involved.
  • Visualized data reduces the time human inspectors spend on the road, with all the safety issues that can arise.
  • Data collection can be done much more cheaply and more frequently, using the latest techniques such as video inspection with a GoPro camera.

Ergo, with the right data, inspectors can gain vital insights and make (better) informed decisions.

Share, but stay in charge

It is great that road inspectors worldwide are able to share their data and insights with colleagues, partners, customers, governments, etcetera. This way, all parties can work along to get the complete picture.

But there is a catch if you are no longer the owner of the data...

Some advanced road inspection data systems are offered as data subscriptions. This means that you can use the system and its data, but you do not own the data. Once you cancel a subscription, you lose access to the data. So be aware of this when looking for a solution. While subscription models can be tempting, they don’t always provide a future-proof solution because the data is not yours, but the service provider’s.

Choosing a data platform where you remain the owner of your own data is the way to win.

Not all systems are compatible

Before choosing a data system for your road inspections, also consider the following;

  • While it is important for road inspectors to collect and use data to make better informed decisions, they need to consider whether their (IT) environment is ready. Many markets have legacy systems that are not compatible with modern data applications. Data is often expensive to collect. Typically, the right type of data is not collected for optimal road maintenance.
  • So before you do anything, find out what current pavement management system is in place and what data is available to manage the pavement network sustainably and efficiently.
  • But don’t throw anything away before you take a good look around. Don’t try to replace your entire system just yet. Sometimes your system is just fine, but it might make sense to add another pavement management system.

There are so many pavement management systems out there, but most try to force you to use the same standard. This is almost impossible, so try to find one that is flexible enough to fit your situation. They do exist, and not coincidentally [spoiler alert] we tell you more about our unrivaled INSPECH road inspection and maintenance solution in our next blogs. 


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Next Blog (3/5):
Software solutions should serve you, not the other way around.