Spike Stories: How Esri Broomfield went from Guesstimation to Photo Verifiable Measurements with Spike

19 October 2017

When your role encompasses building operations and facility management, taking measurements is a daily task. Whether it’s measuring damages for repair, windows for energy use, or renovations and office improvements, building operations needs to be able to quickly and safely capture measurements and a photographic record. However, some of those projects can be next to impossible to reach with a tape measure or require the assistance of others. These measurement tasks were significantly simplified when the Esri Broomfield Office began using Spike, a mobile laser measurement solution powered by location intelligence technology.

For the last 28 years, Kathy Burton has worked for Esri, the world leader in spatial analytics and maker of ArcGIS, the world’s most powerful geographic information system (GIS) software. In her current role as Regional Office Administrator and Building Operations for the Broomfield, Colorado location, she is responsible for the day-to-day building maintenance and operations of a demanding office. The Esri, Broomfield facility is unique in that it is owned as opposed to leased, which means all requests regarding building maintenance and improvements fall on Burton’s shoulders.

Any budgetary decisions pertaining to facility improvements need to be approved by Esri’s corporate headquarters in Redlands, California. “Since our corporate headquarters is almost a thousand miles away, in order for the decision makers to be able to identify with my requests, I typically need to send photos and measurements for projects I am pursuing. Oftentimes it is difficult to get the measurements I need because the ceiling is too high, or the tree is too wide, or the ledge is too hard to get to,” says Burton.

ikeGPS is an Esri Business partner, and Burton heard about Spike from one of the Business Partner Managers who was testing the device and thought it might be of use to her in her facilities role. “It seems like I am always running around with a tape measure, measuring something. I was loaned a Spike device and I started using it for various projects.  I was having so much fun with it, and it was making taking measurements so much easier, that I had to have one for myself” adds Burton.

One of Burton’s first projects using Spike was when she was tasked with having security cameras installed in Esri’s parking lot. She first had to get measurements of the light poles where the proposed cameras would be, then make note of any obstructions in the vicinity of the light poles. To do this, she used Spike’s Point-to-Point measurement tool on the Spike app coupled with her iPhone. Burton says, “getting the measurements I needed was an easy task with the Spike unit. I took photos of the light poles and the surrounding area, then took a height measurement of the pole itself and of any trees that were nearby.  With this information, we know where obstructions exist, and decisions can be made on mitigation.” Burton admits that prior to using Spike, she would have had to make a wild guess on the measurements that were out of reach with a tape measure.

The light pole project was a huge undertaking and Burton was thankful to have Spike in her toolbox. Being able to send Esri corporate headquarters photo records of the light poles with measurements included on the photo made the approval process go much more smoothly. Burton credits Spike as a huge time saver to her workflow. She was able to take the light pole measurements in about 20 minutes and estimates it would have taken hours and a lot of guesswork before.

Since using Spike on the light pole project, Burton has begun integrating Spike into more and more assignments – even on ones that she could easily complete using a tape measure. Burton says, “using Spike has made the task of measuring so much easier. Instead of using my tape measure and writing down each measurement in addition to sometimes having to guess at measurements because the object(s) I need to measure are not really accessible, all I do is take a photo with my phone, and I have the information that I need.”

Most recently, Burton used her Spike during the renovation of a conference room. She was able to capture the dimensions of the room using Spike’s Photo Measurement tool on the app then uploaded the photos to the Spike Cloud where she calculated the desired measurements. Having the photo record was vital to this project as it allowed them to see where light fixtures were located and wouldn’t compete with where the projector and screen needed to be installed. Burton has also used Spike to measure ceiling heights in order to request the right amount of scaffolding for a light replacement project, in addition to measuring Esri’s employee kitchen to gain approval on adding a second refrigerator.

Burton immediately saw the value of Spike after its first use. Not only does it save her valuable time, but it allows her to complete projects by herself and safely. Before Spike, she would often need the help of another person to hold the other end of a tape measure or the base of a ladder when she attempted to access the hard-to-reach areas. Burton says, “with Spike, I can just attach the unit to my phone, take a photo and have accurate measurements within seconds.  Not only do I have the measurements I need, but they appear right on the photo so I can share my results instantly.” She continues, “I would definitely recommend Spike to my colleagues. When you are responsible for the maintenance of a facility, this tool makes life so much easier. Spike has been a big time-saver for me.”

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