London’s Crossrail, dubbed the Elizabeth line, is Europe’s largest infrastructure project in recent years, costing £15 billion, it will start operating in the first half of 2022. Comprising 42km of tunnels and 10 new stations, the Crossrail will link the suburbs with the city center and Heathrow airport. One of the major problems of this big project is how to properly manage the huge amount of information up to 12TB, including 2 million computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and models, 8 million documents , 1 million assets and 50 million geographic information. system characteristics (GIS). The inventory of assets continues to grow with numerous work programs carried out simultaneously.

The authority decided to use GIS to record and manage the complex and ever-changing list of assets.
As part of this vast project, there are many construction sites and many constraints must be taken into account, from monitoring the progress of the project to preventing illegal occupation of the site. GIS is strong in data analysis; it is also an information platform that facilitates the integration of spatial data from different sources and by various software for sharing among users. At the same time, the authority implemented a suite of server-based, desktop, web, mobile, and 3D GIS applications to effectively control costs, reduce project delays and overruns, and ensure network security. Its 3D visualization capabilities make it easy to record the location of assets.

According to an article by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, the online GIS application dramatically reduces the time employees spend preparing reports by 80%. For management, the GIS also facilitates communication with external audiences.

In Hong Kong, we are developing our first low-carbon smart community pilot project in the Tung Chung New Town Extension area on Lantau Island. The area will promote smart and environmentally friendly construction that will also reduce adverse effects on the climate. It is reported that “the civil engineering and development department has deployed more than 30 innovative technologies in various engineering works, including the Internet of Things, cloud, artificial intelligence, satellite navigation and measurements security systems, all integrated into the development of the smart city”. This concept deserves to be applauded, their courage to adopt innovative technology deserves to be supported.

However, the urban planning of the new city could be improved through the use of GIS, which is particularly effective in gathering and presenting information from different technologies and formats, such as artificial intelligence, building information modeling (BIM), the digital twin, etc. This could help balance nature conservation with urban development, thereby promoting environmental protection and sustainable development.

Additionally, we are emphasizing transparency in governance today, 3D visualization capabilities of GIS allow the authority to communicate more effectively internally and externally, and improve their approval. A good example is the interactive map dashboard on “Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) in HK” launched early last year using GIS to connect data from various offices and departments. In just a few days since its launch, it has stabilized society as it has enabled the public to monitor the outbreak. By the end of June this year, the map dashboard had attracted over 54 million views. This is a successful case of government interdepartmental cooperation to convey information using a GIS.

In fact, the authority has already installed advanced software systems such as GIS, it should make the most of the technology to get more benefits.

Therefore, I hope that in the Tung Chung New Town expansion development project, the authority will actively adopt GIS to coordinate and facilitate internal and external communication, so that the plan can be implemented. with success.

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Dr Winnie Tang

Adjunct Professor, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Engineering; Department of Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences; and Faculty of Architecture, University of Hong Kong