The geographic information systems (GIS) team at NASA's Langley Research Center has developed the Space Allocation Optimization tool, a program that uses geospatial tools to find more efficient ways of allocating space at the research facility. The tool can be used to perform an analysis on factors for efficiency in assigning workspaces, and can determine potential scenarios for managers to consider when making plans.
The GIS team developed optimization algorithms to account for factors that may be important when allocating space, including the proximity of key personnel, the amount of space required, the cost of utilities, and the relative cost of new construction. Team leader Brad Ball knew that the algorithms were not enough on their own, and that the program needed to be able to collect data and display it to nonspecialists. An Extensible Markup Language schema was developed to pull data from numerous sources, which Ball says reduced the data preparation time for collecting data sets from as much as two weeks of manual work to about 30 minutes using an automated process. The next part of the process connected the data to visualization tools, creating a program that allows space utilization managers to evaluate a variety of possible scenarios.
Ball plans to improve the program even further by giving the tool a dashboard-style Web interface that will make it more accessible to non-GIS specialists.
From Government Computer News
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