May 9, 2016
Facilities Management
Mike Berthelsen


GIS and University Services

Dear FM,

As we all know, the University is an enormous place with almost 24m square feet on the Twin Cities campus.  We use the Compass software database to keep track of each building’s components, motors, moving parts and the work that we do in them. This works well for big lists of information but not well for tracking things outside, underground, and their location.  You may have heard about GIS software (Geographic Information Systems) that allow you to place trees, pipes, tunnels, roads, etc. on a University map in a way that you can visualize it and track information about each item (like Google-maps with Compass information).  University Services relies on Esri GIS mapping to manage hundreds of buildings and thousands of acres across campus by helping us understand and visualize how all these components fit together. GIS mapping is one example of how efficient systems and processes help us accomplish more.

Across the Twin Cities campus there are over 10,000 trees. FM uses GIS mapping to determine where the trees are located and their health condition. Calculating which trees should be treated or removed without the GIS system would result in double or triple the amount of work for FM staff.  In addition to mapping the campus trees, GIS makes it possible to reconcile billing (saving the University half a million dollars) and use over 29 million square feet of campus space more effectively. Esri created a video case study showcasing the University and their product capabilities. Check it out here.  

GIS mapping is a powerful tool, but there is more. We so firmly believe that our physical assets (facilities, equipment, land, space) and technology can be more strategically managed that we have worked for several years to develop an Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) function.  The work of EAM has already spawned improvements and we will highlight several in future Memos.  To learn more now, see the EAM website.


Mike Berthelsen - FM's AVP
Associate Vice President for Facilities Management Mike Berthelsen created 'Mike's Memo' for the purpose of communicating important information to FM staff. Several times each month he will address current issues that affect the way FM does business.