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T. Baker Smith enhances port operations with FME-powered iBlueHarbor platform

T. Baker Smith (TBS) harnesses the power of FME to elevate port operations and surveying services across the Gulf Coast, with their innovative iBlueHarbor application leading the charge. By automating and streamlining processes, TBS can deliver actionable insights and achieve substantial cost savings while reinforcing their commitment to sustainable solutions and community investment.
Ship entering port Ship entering port

This work was done in collaboration with Safe Software partner T. Baker Smith.

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Striving for data integration excellence in port and marine operations

In the ever-evolving engineering, environmental, and surveying services landscape, T. Baker Smith (TBS) stands as a beacon of innovation and resilience. Founded in 1913 in Louisiana, TBS has expanded from a one-person shop to a formidable 280+ associate firm with reach across the Gulf Coast Region for clients in the pipeline, exploration and production, industrial, public works, and land development markets. At the heart of TBS’s innovative work and passion for delivering technology-driven, sustainable solutions is FME, which has been instrumental in driving their projects for the past 15 years.

FME has become indispensable to TBS’s daily operations, streamlining everything from data conversions to quality control checks. By integrating FME with CAD and Esri products, TBS can automate numerous processes that span both the business and GIS realms, while also optimizing internal workflows and significantly enhancing service delivery to their clients. FME’s role is especially prominent in surveying, a core service offered by TBS, which ensures standardized and efficient conversion processes, transforming CSV survey data into the required drawing formats quickly and accurately.

GIS Extractor drastically speeds up tedious processes

TBS developed GIS Extractor, a powerful tool that uses FME to seamlessly integrate with Esri databases to export data into the necessary drawing formats. FME uploads 200,000 records in mere seconds to the tool, a task that would take 10 minutes without. This efficiency is pivotal for TBS, enabling them to tackle the unique challenges of their work environments, from marshes to swamps, with unmatched agility.

With TBS using FME so frequently, their processes have become highly standardized. If any TBS staff member needs to use data in any way, they must first place standards on how data is collected, allowing the team to be more efficient and organized. 

FME and iBlueHarbor: The perfect match

TBS’s iBlueHarbor, a cutting-edge port operations analysis platform, utilizes FME as its central hub. By leveraging FME for approximately 70% of its operations, iBlueHarbor uses hydrographic survey results and marine data to deliver actionable insights and recommendations for port management and operations. The solution has significantly reduced development costs and simplified complex tasks, from geoprocessing to determining volumes for an area, demonstrating FME’s role in facilitating dynamic, scalable architectures.

iblueharbour platform

iBlueHarbor is a comprehensive data analytics service that allows ports to conduct quarter-over-quarter analysis, volume calculations, and near-real-time predictions on water depths. The platform enables ports to access and use valuable data so they can perform more accurate analysis of their assets while ensuring safety and accuracy. The “Swiss Army knife” for port operations demonstrates the transformative impact of FME in enhancing port safety, efficiency, and profitability. Over 300 surveys have been generated using the platform through many port clients, and TBS is beginning to expand beyond the Gulf Coast.

Community, cost-savings, and commitment

TBS’s use of FME has fostered a culture of innovation that permeates the entire organization with every team using FME, leading to substantial cost savings and efficiency gains. By integrating FME within iBlueHarbor and with various processes throughout the organization, TBS saves countless hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. This financial benefit, coupled with the strong community of FME users that TBS enjoys being part of and Safe Software’s exceptional customer service, has made TBS avid FME advocates.

The success story of TBS and FME is not just about technology but also about a shared vision of delivering impactful solutions and investing in communities. As TBS continues to explore the potential of FME, they ask a guiding question for each new project: “How do we solve this with FME?” By harnessing FME within their pioneering iBlueHarbor platform and other projects, TBS not only sets a new standard for data-driven decision-making in port management but also underscores its unwavering commitment to delivering future-focused, sustainable solutions that resonate across the industry and communities they serve.

Delve deeper into how TBS is using FME to shape the future of surveying, engineering, and environmental services in our recent webinar.

Also, check out our recent blog post outlining useful data integration workflows used for challenges faced by port and marine professionals, plus how iBlueHarbor can help solve them.

$700 saved
per survey, translating into hundreds of thousands in added value
reduced to seconds for survey data processing and insight analysis
““We try to take advantage of everything that FME can do. 90% of the time, FME is the solution to our challenges. It’s very versatile.””
Jean-Paul Stafford
Innovative Solutions Group Manager, T. Baker Smith
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