CREATION OF an integrated buried services database moved a step forward last week when the ICE brought together utilities companies, highways authorities and mapping agency Ordnance Survey to agree on standard data recording techniques.
The agreement, hammered out at an ICE Geospatial Engineering Board forum, paves the way for data to be shared on a central database from next year.
Until now information on the location and type of buried services installed by utility companies has been stored on company-owned systems, with very little data shared.
But the Traffic Management Act stipulates that utilities and highways authorities must store data in digital format by 2008, and there is general acceptance that companies need to work towards standardising this information.
'We are calling on utility companies to share knowledge of their buried assets to improve the day-to-day management of road works. As the deadline for the mandatory use of digital mapping approaches, we are keen to work with all key organisations to improve co-ordination between our buried services, ' said ICE buried services working group chairman Martin Cullen.
The first meeting of utility companies, highways authorities and contractors agreed the following:
Common reference for buried services based on national grid co-ordinates
A co-ordinated effort to bring information to a 'shared' status based on the Digital National Framework for buried services
Central government funding is necessary to establish standardisation of recorded data lTo achieve a common goal for new works within three years A report on the forum will be published in January. This will highlight the benefits of change and set out proposals for a pilot scheme to create a standard among the different companies.