Tracking assets digitally

The City of Burnside in South Australia has developed an innovative geospatial application that assists in monitoring, tracking and maintaining Council assets.

The application, dubbed BAM! (Burnside Asset Mapper), is cross-platform compatible and can be used on most modern devices including Windows, Android and iOS operating systems. 

Previous attempts to provide mobile solutions to depot employees had been less than successful, but BAM!’s ultra-easy and responsive interface has been a major success in creating a strong appetite for future initiatives and demonstrates real benefit.

Its first use was for Council’s maintenance of over 50,000 trees on Council land. Trees are highly valued in the area, but at the same time can pose a risk to the wellbeing of residents if not maintained.

For years, tree management was run from archaic and inefficient paper-based methods requiring double handling by administrative staff in managing requests as well as manual data entry. Field staff found the pre-existing devices and software to be cumbersome and difficult to use. 

Council had insufficient data collection, inspection and risk categorisation of trees, which could pose major risks to property and lives. In the first hour of testing, the Arboriculture Team captured 48 trees using the newly developed BAM! Application – double the number able to be done by the old system.

The real test occurred two weeks later. On 5 February 2014, the City of Burnside was ravaged by windstorms. Tree branches fell all over the City with extensive damage to power lines, cars, houses, fences and other infrastructure. 

The risk of falling tree limbs weeks after the storm was considered critical. The health of the majority of Council’s large trees was in question and one of the City’s biggest attractions, Hazelwood Park, had to be closed to the public due to the uncertainty around the structural integrity of the park’s significant trees.

With the tree landscape significantly altered, thousands of trees would need to be reassessed as quickly as possible in the interest of public health and safety.  The BAM! application delivered under this ultimate test and continues to do so.

Integration to Council’s Customer Request Management system saves field workers from having to return to base, print job sheets, and removes the need for additional data entry. Time, fuel and printing savings allow for demonstrated environmental and efficiency savings in managing the 3000 yearly tree requests.

Being developed in-house at a zero-cost to Council, the application demonstrates extraordinary value for money. Applications with significantly less features and usability market for around $20,000-$50,000.

BAM! has since been used for several other risk-mitigating applications including fire prevention mapping, dog inspections, and sign collection and maintenance, ensuring a proactive approach to safety for residents and visitors to the City of Burnside. Uptake by other councils has also been really well received – the solution is fully designed and implemented as a cloud application and deployable to other agencies