Virtual Management of Complex Infrastructure: Information Systems in the Age of BIG DATA

Timo Hartmann

Last modified: 2017-02-28


Currently a fundamental shift in how infrastructure managers and engineers obtain and make use of virtual information is taking place. In recent years, vast amount of information has become available in distributed virtual systems, be it publicly available or within the information infrastructure of a single organization, which is often labelled as BIG DATA. The vailability of BIG DATA makes it now possible that information that is required for many decisions is somewhere available, but needs to be meaningfully mined, fused, and visualized. While only some years ago, much work of infrastructure managers and engineers was concerned with specifying the information to make a decision that then was carefully collected by inspecting and measuring, nowadays, most decision making tasks start with a broad search of virtual information that is already somewhere available. Obtaining and making use of information in this new style of working has become much more dynamic and unpredictable, but at the same time much quicker and richer. This paper shows a range of examples from our ongoing research activities from the area of managing road and rail infrastructure systems that shows the potential of this new way of working. Based on these examples, the paper then discusses some of the implication this new way of working has for setting up information management strategies at large organizations, such as engineering companies and public authorities. In particular, the paper argues that modern information management systems need to be open, agile, and distributed to fully support the newly emerging practices.


big data

Full Text: PDF