Berntsen International’s InfraMarker® solution for marking underground assets and linking asset data to real-time GIS monitoring has received the Geospatial World Excellence Award for Technology Innovation.
The award was presented Jan. 25 at the Geospatial World Forum 2017 in Hyderabad, India. Attended by more than 2,500 leaders in business, industry, government and academia, the forum highlights the value and power of geospatial technology to address global economic and socio-economic issues.
The award cites Berntsen’s innovation in infrastructure monitoring.
“We are honored and excited to receive this global recognition,” said Mike Klonsinski, executive vice president of Berntsen International. “This award reflects our success in harnessing RFID and geospatial technology to better protect and manage underground assets in the utility, construction, and oil and gas distribution industries. This is a significant milestone for our company as we continue to develop smart marking products for an Internet of Things World.”
The award also exemplifies the strong partnership between Berntsen and Alabama’s Auburn University. For several years, Berntsen has been working with Chetan S. Sankar, founder of Auburn’s Geospatial Research and Applications Center (GRAC), to develop and refine the InfraMarker system.
Sankar, now retired, facilitated the involvement of master’s degree students in the system’s development and field testing. Auburn students participated in projects and received internships to develop and test the system. “More than one thousand students have gained valuable experiential learning skills by testing the InfraMarker system,” Sankar said.
Finding and identifying underground assets like gas valves or fiber splices has long been a challenge for utilities and municipalities. Traditional locating techniques take time and are not precise. Linking field locating with customer information systems is cumbersome and error-prone.
The InfraMarker System combines Berntsen’s patented RFID underground-marking technology with award-winning mobile and web software developed for Berntsen by San Francisco-based AmigoCloud. These advances in geospatial technologies deliver a solution that improves field productivity, reduces locating costs and enables real-time field and office integration.
Cloud data storage provides secure backup and allows almost unlimited information to be attached to any asset record. Innovative software design lets users view, edit and add video to assets on a map and even export InfraMarker data into their own management system. Ultra-high frequency RFID with barcode reading capability allows customers to locate and track assets.
“Developing a smart, IT-enabled infrastructure of tomorrow requires utilities to geospatially map their facilities, manage this information, and locate them quickly after they get buried or broken after disasters,” Sankar said.
InfraMarker is built to support gas, electric, water, fiber optic and cable underground assets.
Madison, Wisconsin-based Berntsen International, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of marking products. Since its founding in 1972, Berntsen has been marking the infrastructure and boundaries of the world with a product line of more than 1,000 markers located in 100 countries. Innovation is at the core of Berntsen’s success, with its most recent advances occurring in the development of smart and connected marking products.