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Navi­ga­ti­on for win­ter ser­vice — The Real Pac-Man?

Busi­ness Geo­ma­tics reports on the coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween info-tech solu­ti­ons GmbH & Co. KG and info­wa­re. Read more about the prac­ti­cal use of Map­Trip Fol­low­Me Navi­ga­ti­on for muni­ci­pal win­ter ser­vice and street cleaning.

With Map­Trip Fol­low­Me, info­wa­re Infor­ma­ti­ons­tech­nik GmbH has deve­lo­ped a navi­ga­ti­on for waste manage­ment, win­ter ser­vice and street clea­ning. Buil­ding on this, info-tech solu­ti­ons has deve­lo­ped fur­ther fea­tures. We have trans­la­ted the artic­le for you here.

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A vehic­le dri­ves see­mingly at ran­dom across a digi­tal road map — and coll­ects lar­ge, colourful balls in the pro­cess. What is remi­nis­cent of the 1980 clas­sic game Pac-Man is actual­ly an inno­va­ti­ve navi­ga­ti­on system from info­wa­re Infor­ma­ti­ons­tech­nik GmbH in Bonn. “Map­Trip Fol­low­Me was deve­lo­ped direct­ly from prac­ti­ce for prac­ti­ce,” reports Vol­ker Wicken­kamp, Head of Sales at infoware.

“What is important for the dri­vers of vehic­les from waste dis­po­sal, win­ter ser­vice or street clea­ning when navi­ga­ting? What spe­cial needs do they have? How could the­se chal­lenges be met? Our goal was to crea­te a solu­ti­on that pro­vi­des ans­wers to all the­se questions.”

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Like Pac­Man in the clas­sic video game of the same name, the Fol­low­Me car in Map­Trip Fol­low­Me by info­wa­re dri­ves through the streets and coll­ects colourful bubbles. The­se “bubbles” repre­sent rub­bish bins at the side of the road that have to be coll­ec­ted on the right or left.

This has resul­ted in the deve­lo­p­ment of Map­Trip Fol­low Me. The pro­duct name alre­a­dy shows whe­re the jour­ney is hea­ding: Based on a Fol­low Me car, which gui­des air­craft to their posi­ti­on in air­port ope­ra­ti­ons, the info­wa­re solu­ti­on is also inten­ded to sup­port vehic­le dri­vers in their rou­te finding.

“Of cour­se, this then goes bey­ond sim­ply navi­ga­ting the dri­vers,” explains Wicken­kamp. “It is emin­ent­ly important, for exam­p­le, that dri­vers can dri­ve along sec­tions of a rou­te seve­ral times. After all, the­se loops are part of the dai­ly rou­ti­ne of many vehic­le dri­vers in the muni­ci­pal sector.”

Off-road func­tion for unmap­ped areas

But the pos­si­bi­li­ty of being able to crea­te a rou­te for regi­ons that have not yet been map­ped — espe­ci­al­ly new cons­truc­tion or com­mer­cial are­as — is also important. “In order to be able to navi­ga­te vehic­le dri­vers safe­ly through road are­as that have not yet been map­ped, we deve­lo­ped the off-road func­tion at Map­Trip Fol­low­Me,” he said. “With one click, this is acti­va­ted and then records the rou­te,” Wicken­kamp explains. In the map dis­play, dri­vers lea­ve the road area in the­se cases, but the rou­te is still dis­play­ed normally.

In addi­ti­on, both dri­vers and dis­patchers can store notes on spe­cial fea­tures, ins­truc­tions or hazard war­nings in Map­Trip Fol­low­Me. “ ‘Cau­ti­on, biting dog’, ‘Rever­se’ of ‘Gar­ba­ge cans are behind the hedge’ — the­re are no limits to the ima­gi­na­ti­on,” says Wickenkamp.

In this way, com­pa­nies should ulti­m­ate­ly be able to use alter­na­ting dri­vers on the rou­te. “Ima­gi­ne the dri­ver of a cer­tain rou­te is ill or on holi­day. The repla­ce­ment dri­ver now has to dri­ve the rou­te for the first time and is not fami­li­ar with the area. With our solu­ti­on, he still gets all the infor­ma­ti­on he needs to com­ple­te his tour effi­ci­ent­ly,” reports the info­wa­re sales manager.

To inte­gra­te such hints into the solu­ti­on, they only have to be stored in the web-based Map­Trip edi­tor. “The loca­ti­on of the hint also plays an important role. In the end, the hints are dis­play­ed — and even read aloud — to the dri­ver exact­ly whe­re they have been stored in the edi­tor,” Wicken­kamp sum­ma­ri­ses. Alter­na­tively, dri­vers can also place such noti­ces on the rou­te. All they have to do is ope­ra­te the cor­re­spon­ding func­tion in the Map­Trip Fol­low­Me app. “App ope­ra­ti­on while dri­ving is of cour­se dif­fi­cult. The­r­e­fo­re, we have inte­gra­ted popu­lar hints direct­ly into the app in a quick dial system. Dri­vers can then sim­ply sel­ect them in the right place.” They can also crea­te indi­vi­du­al infor­ma­ti­on texts and add them to the quick dial.

Spe­cial requi­re­ments = spe­cial solutions

“In addi­ti­on, the­re are the spe­cial requi­re­ments of the respec­ti­ve are­as. In the case of waste dis­po­sal, for exam­p­le, when a pure trans­port trip is due or on which side of the road and at which point the bins are to be coll­ec­ted,” Wicken­kamp reports. To meet the­se requi­re­ments, info­wa­re has some­ti­mes come up with spe­cial solu­ti­ons: The bins to be coll­ec­ted, for exam­p­le, are repre­sen­ted by dif­fe­rent colou­red balls — red “bubbles” point to the right side of the street, green to the left.

“The Pac-Man com­pa­ri­son is also based on this repre­sen­ta­ti­on,” Wicken­kamp smi­les. In gene­ral, info­wa­re uses colour coding in many places to ensu­re intui­ti­ve ope­ra­ti­on of the navi­ga­ti­on for win­ter ser­vices, street clea­ning and waste manage­ment. For exam­p­le, upco­ming trans­port jour­neys — i.e. rou­te sec­tions on which the vehic­les only have to make the trans­fer in order to dri­ve to the waste dis­po­sal site, for exam­p­le — are high­ligh­ted in pur­ple, while chan­ges of direc­tion are shown in light green. “With Map­Trip Fol­low­Me, the colour sche­me allo­ws dri­vers to see at a glan­ce which obs­ta­cles, spe­cial fea­tures and tasks they will be facing. This makes ever­y­day work easier,” Wicken­kamp reports.

Im MapTrip-Editor können die einzelnen GPS-Punkte einer Route zu einer für den Anwender sinnvollen Strecke zusammengefügt werden
In the Map­Trip edi­tor, the indi­vi­du­al GPS points of a rou­te can be com­bi­ned to form a rou­te that makes sen­se for the user.

Map­Trip edi­tor as basic framework

The basis of the func­tions is the crea­ti­on of a so-cal­led GPS track in the Map­Trip edi­tor. In this pro­cess, the indi­vi­du­al GPS points of the rou­te are com­bi­ned to form a track. “Of cour­se, such a GPS track can also sim­ply be uploa­ded into the Map­Trip edi­tor in .csv data for­mat,” says Wicken­kamp. Here, the indi­vi­du­al GPS points are then moved or dele­ted by clicking. “This way you can pre-plan the rou­tes in the brow­ser and place anno­ta­ti­ons in the right places.” After the rou­te has been saved and the Fol­low­Me app has been resyn­chro­ni­s­ed, the dri­ver can call up the rou­te on his Android device. The com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on bet­ween the app and the web brow­ser works via mobi­le radio.

In the future, info­wa­re also plans to inte­gra­te fur­ther func­tions into Map­Trip Fol­low­Me. In the new ver­si­on 4.11, which is sche­du­led for release at the end of April/beginning of May, dis­patchers will, for exam­p­le, have the opti­on of moni­to­ring vehic­les in real time. “This is a sought-after func­tion for the pur­po­se of hazard moni­to­ring, espe­ci­al­ly for win­ter ser­vices. Such fur­ther deve­lo­p­ments of the solu­ti­on are also inclu­ded in our month­ly ren­tal pri­ce,” says Wickenkamp.

Part­ner­ship for navi­ga­ti­on in win­ter service

In respon­se to this pres­su­re to inno­va­te, the Bonn-based com­pa­ny is working with part­ners who also come from the field of muni­ci­pal tele­ma­tics. For exam­p­le, with info-tech solu­ti­ons GmbH & Co. KG. In addi­ti­on to in-hou­se deve­lo­ped on-board com­pu­ters for muni­ci­pal com­mer­cial vehic­les, the com­pa­ny from Feld­berg in the Black Forest offers, among other things, the soft­ware solu­ti­on DNAS3, into which the info­wa­re navi­ga­ti­on for win­ter ser­vice can be integrated.

With our soft­ware, all work of the equip­ped vehic­les can be recor­ded with place and time”, reports Den­nis Lin­hardt from info-tech sales. “It does­n’t mat­ter whe­ther sprea­ders or mowers are used, for exam­p­le. We can record any attach­ment and attach­ment equip­ment as well as trans­port jour­neys.” By sto­ring geo­gra­phi­cal infor­ma­ti­on, the work can then even be auto­ma­ti­cal­ly assi­gned to spe­ci­fic cost units or clients.

In addi­ti­on, an inte­gra­ted bil­ling modu­le allo­ws hour­ly rates to be deve­lo­ped for each acti­vi­ty, based on the mate­ri­al, per­son­nel and machi­nes used. “An exam­p­le of this: Ima­gi­ne a com­pa­ny recei­ves an order to clear the snow from a super­mar­ket car park. In our DNAS solu­ti­on, the com­pa­ny can now defi­ne the car park as an object. Once recor­ded, the values for grit­ting area, space area, time spent, salt con­sump­ti­on and more are auto­ma­ti­cal­ly deter­mi­ned and assi­gned,” says Lin­hardt. In this way, the tem­p­la­te for a month­ly invoice, for exam­p­le, can alre­a­dy be crea­ted at the push of a button.

“Howe­ver, the solu­ti­on is not limi­t­ed to win­ter ser­vices,” reports the info-tech sales repre­sen­ta­ti­ve. “Rather, the soft­ware con­sists of many modu­les that can be indi­vi­du­al­ly com­bi­ned depen­ding on the requi­re­ments. This means that DNAS can also be used, for exam­p­le, for green main­ten­an­ce, play­ground con­trol, street clea­ning and much more.

On-board com­pu­ter with GPS reception

The poten­ti­al of the info-tech soft­ware for muni­ci­pal jour­neys beco­mes par­ti­cu­lar­ly clear when the solu­ti­on is com­bi­ned with the on-board com­pu­ters of the com­pa­ny from Feld­berg: “Of cour­se, it depends on what the cus­to­mer wants to record. But in prin­ci­ple, every muni­ci­pal com­mer­cial vehic­le needs an on-board com­pu­ter with a GPS receiver.

Here the ran­ge extends from our Pri­mus, which can be used uni­ver­sal­ly, to the small com­pu­ter Fifi­cus, which is sui­ta­ble for smal­ler equip­ment such as ride-on lawn­mo­wers, to the Por­tus II, a mobi­le hand­held that is ide­al for recor­ding manu­al work and colum­ns,” says Lin­hardt. As a result, the on-board com­pu­ters are used to record the run­ning, ope­ra­ting and stan­ding times of the vehic­les, so that com­pa­nies not only ful­fil their log­ging obli­ga­ti­on, but also have a plan­ning tool at their dis­po­sal that brings about a sus­tainable increa­se in efficiency.

“The infor­ma­ti­on coll­ec­ted can then be pro­jec­ted onto GIS data. This can be con­ven­tio­nal road maps or map mate­ri­al pro­vi­ded by cus­to­mers as well as the navi­ga­ti­on Map­Trip Fol­low­Me from info­wa­re,” Lin­hardt reports. The ope­ra­ti­on of the soft­ware solu­ti­on is intui­ti­ve, stan­dard tasks are “easy to hand­le with our soft­ware. Howe­ver, if you want to get the most out of it, you should fami­lia­ri­se yours­elf with the system or get the appro­pria­te sup­port,” says the sales repre­sen­ta­ti­ve. The Feld­berg-based com­pa­ny offers trai­ning cour­ses and semi­nars for this pur­po­se. (jr)

info-tech solu­ti­ons – Pro­fes­sio­nal tele­ma­tics solutions.

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With Map­Trip Fol­low­Me, dri­vers of muni­ci­pal com­mer­cial vehic­les are always up to date: If, for exam­p­le, the­re is a traf­fic jam on the plan­ned rou­te due to an acci­dent, the dri­ver is war­ned. In addi­ti­on, he can deci­de on an alter­na­ti­ve rou­te — or dri­ve the cor­re­spon­ding rou­te sec­tion later.
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