Road Hazard Point Acquisition The Smartphone Way
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The goal of this thesis is to research the usability of smartphones for the acquisition of road hazard points as well as research the quality of the reported hazards and see if that matches the requirements. For the purpose of this research a smartphone app was developed on the Android platform that integrates with backend infrastructure developed in the Amazon cloud. Information gathered in the backend is then imported in the Shell standard Geomatics infrastructure for use in journey management. A pilot was conducted in Gabon, Iraq, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, and from this pilot results were gathered. The hazard acquisition system has received quite some positive feedback from many of the participants of the pilot and other people involved. Use of the Amazon cloud in combination with consumer electronics and standard tools, while able to handle restricted information in an approved way, is considered a great accomplishment. The app is assessed as easy to use for most users, but there are also lessons to be learned to improve it. Different user groups have different requirements either related to their location or the function they fulfil, resulting in different expectations about the app and its use. None of the desired improvements are expected to be very hard to accomplish, but some of them might require a specialised app for that particular purpose. Centrally publishing road hazard information with a standard symbology set integrated with Shell’s standard legend is seen as a great step forward. Maintenance of the acquired data is however acknowledged as a concern to assure the hazard catalogue contains hazard data of acceptable quality. Field research to determine the positional accuracy of the used smart phones has resulted in a standard deviation of 11 meters, which is expected to be sufficient for how the road hazard data will be used. The requirement of governance on the quality of the data becomes obvious when looking at the reported hazards by different users at the same location. Validity of reported hazards needs to be assessed and maintained for the data to become and remain valuable for journey management. Roles and responsibilities need to be defined and agreed to accomplish this. The greatest challenge to overcome to make a solution as designed and built for this PoC is however to get it fully supported and embedded in the organisation. Many different user and interest groups need to have agreement on the way forward. Also getting software development contracts and support agreements with potential infrastructure suppliers in place requires an involved and dedicated person to steer and monitor the progress.