A new data-sharing platform from CivilGrid is updating and improving the field of infrastructure planning in terms of scale and security. Based in San Francisco, the startup has collaborated with infrastructure owners throughout California over the past 15 months. The platform provides a comprehensive map interface with utility locations, site hazards, geotechnical conditions, land rights and permit constraints. By connecting infrastructure operators so they can compare work plans, it helps them avoid conflicts and creates opportunities for coordination.

Josh Mackanic, CivilGrid’s founder, worked in the utility and construction industry navigating the issues resulting from gaps in data for the built environment. He started CivilGrid in 2020 to improve safety and efficiency by creating a reliable information source for engineers and construction personnel.

Data about conditions underground is difficult to obtain in usable and timely formats, yet is critical for construction projects looking to avoid the expense associated with unexpected site conditions. Utility company Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), which serves more than 16 million customers in Northern and Central California, is sharing the location of its gas and electric assets with companies planning projects in PG&E’s service area through CivilGrid. Utility line strikes result in losses to the U.S. construction industry totaling $30B each year, even with the use of locate and mark services.

CivilGrid allows engineers, planners, and project managers to accelerate site evaluation, reduce dig-in risk, and optimize multi-year project portfolio plans. By planning and coordinating projects more efficiently, users are realizing significant cost savings and reducing lead times.

"It is immensely useful to have the GIS layers of multiple municipalities/utilities on a GIS map all at once," explained an engineer from San Jose Water. Mackanic added, "CivilGrid is improving how infrastructure projects are developed, and these projects are the lifeblood of our local economies. These improvements benefit an entire ecosystem of stakeholders, from project engineers to local businesses."

CivilGrid is currently expanding coverage in California and is actively seeking new development opportunities in more states.

To contact the author of this article, email engineering360editors@globalspec.com