Case Dublin Port Company: Managing critical national infrastructure with a digital port by GISGRO

In the capital of Ireland, Dublin Port Company takes care of the largest freight and passenger port in the country, Dublin Port. With its 650-acre area and personnel of 165 people, it is considered a key part in the national port system and one of the five major ports of Ireland.

Whilst Dublin Port has a rich history spanning over 300 years it is also a forward looking modern port and in 2021 they published a tender for cutting edge technology digital mapping system to manage all assets to complement their administrative, operational and engineering requirements. They wanted a complete system for managing the port’s GIS and asset related data, which currently was dispersed to several different data storages. Abilities to visualize port’s quarterly hydrographic survey data in 2D and 3D to analyze depths, scouring and dredging needs were also in their system specifications and competencies.

GISGRO filled the requirements for top quality and the wanted features and hence delivers the digital twin solution for Dublin Port Company. The contract is for five years and consists of digitizing work and tailored port management solution by GISGRO. In addition to the tender, GISGRO offers also other functionalities such as berth planning and 3D modelling information with specifically built tools for the Harbour Master’s department. The new system delivers business benefits to Dublin Port – efficiency, increased safety, and better communications.


A digital port starts to build on geographical information


GISGRO has been designed for ports covering wide areas both on land and at sea. A comprehensive map view of the port area with assets, their information and history for example from buildings, bollards, utilities, and quays, is a natural starting point of digital port.

Dublin Port Company’s digitalization started by uploading the selected asset data and survey datasets to GISGRO. The port saves a lot of time and human resources as they included the data migration to the tender, and therefore most of the digitization were made by team GISGRO’s professionals. However, the port has an ability to easily bring new datasets, assets, and asset related information to the platform independently, which is carried out by different departments of the port when necessary.

The port also contracted a drone survey for the whole port, which brought ortho images and 3D models with a centimeter accuracy into the platform. A combination of the 2D, 3D data and asset information creates the base of port’s digital twin and gives the ability for highly accurate digital mapping of the port.


‘’Ports work with several different types of data and having all that data at your fingertips in a visual cloud-based GIS platform creates a significant value for different stakeholders around the port. GISGRO offers the customer a single reference source – one place for port data, available 24/7. Whether you need to visualize bathymetry and access berth & bollard information for berth planning purposes or find key holder information for a building, everything is just few clicks away in GISGRO’’, explains Ville Mäkeläinen, CBDO at GISGRO.


DublinPort point cloud

3D surveys provide extremely detailed digitalization of the Port’s assets (picture: Dublin Port GISGRO account).


GISGRO has a smooth and fast software introduction


The introduction of GISGRO is made easy for the customer since the migration was completed mostly by the GISGRO organization enabling the customers’ organization to concentrate on the daily operations. The system is easy to use, and the training takes only a couple of hours after which the users can operate with GISGRO. In tricky situations a named customer support person and live chat option with a GISGRO support person offer help and support.

The support for most of the common data formats gives the port a possibility to utilize the platform for 2D files as well as all kinds of 3D data, such as hydrographic survey data, LiDAR scans and BIM models. As a next step towards improved situational awareness for port operations and asset management, IoT and other live sensors were connected to GISGRO. This includes for example integration of AIS, tidal and weather stations. The solution is cloud based which enables easy access to real-time view of port conditions from any location at any time.


Dublin Port assets

Integrations add real-time information on the digital twin (picture: Dublin Port GISGRO account).


Visual and user-friendly interface is a substantial part of modern port software


Gone are the days when information needed to be dug from endless folders and directories. One important criterion in the tender was the visuality of the solution, which is one of the main principles of GISGRO’s design.

The user interface of GISGRO is specifically developed for ports, and it considers the different roles and functions in a port, such as berth planning, asset management, maintenance, project management and utilization of hydrographic survey data. Whether the job requires knowing the exact state of the weather or emergency procedures, key holder information for buildings or tenant details, all the information will be found in GISGRO easily through an accurate, up-to-date map. The team behind GISGRO development has a long history of working with port industry, hence the software is designed to serve the specific needs of ports.


“GISGRO includes all of the tools for the safe, efficient and effective management of the Port including asset management, bathymetry and vessel planning. The ability to visualize the Port environment and information is of great benefit for our marine teams and key stakeholders creating a shared mental model”, tells Tristan Murphy, Assistant Harbour Master at Dublin Port Company.


Dublin port depth chart

Accurate information on assets and bathymetry helps in vessel planning (picture: Dublin Port GISGRO account).


Leading the way for digital future of port industry


John Fairley, Land Operations Manager at Dublin Port Company describes the benefits of digitalization in the port:


“With GISGRO, we can increase communications efficiency among the stakeholders. Having a single source of information with a comprehensive situational view improves efficiency and safety in the port area, and ensures the port running smoothly 24/7.

The cooperation between Dublin Port Company and GISGRO will enhance the digitalization of the port’s asset information whilst enabling a digital transformation capacity. Working closely together in developing the online platform will ease the transformation process and bring the benefits of digitalization into the day to day lives of port personnel. It’s not just about becoming digital and implementing new technologies, but rather about introducing new efficient and digital working methods, as well as improving collaboration and efficiency with all internal and external stakeholders within the wider port community.”



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