NASA’s Langley Research Center has developed a space-allocation and planning software system to allow for more effective and efficient facility usage. It also provides a customizable strategy for organizing personnel and project teams to maximize productivity and synergies among employees. Cost-reduction solutions are suggested based on organizational input constraints related to the facility. The program uses a standard Web browser to allow for visualization of an entire organization down to individual rooms. The planning tool is based on algorithms that were developed using ArcGIS software and Visual Basic codes, which enable evaluation of different space-management scenarios in real time.

A screenshot of NASA’s space utilization tool.

The robust and highly flexible software package was developed in response to an internal need for more efficient and effective facilities management. Available software did not allow for the customization needed in a large, robust organization. A GIS visualization technique combined with optimization techniques was designed. The software provides visual representation of not only physical space, but also of color-coded employee teams through a Web-based portal.

The software has the capability of retrieving data from multiple, dynamic data sources and automatically resolves any consistency issues. Rules for mapping the source data have been defined by an XML model, so the user can access the program via any Web browser. The system will model the desired space, and display it according to user-generated constraints and metrics. This visualization can be expanded to the entire organization, or detailed down to the room level. Constraint and metric inputs might include, but are not limited to, personnel resource requirements, space compatibility, move costs, and synergies among employees. Finally, the software identifies fragmented personnel organizations and inadequate space utilization, and suggests where there might be opportunities for efficiencies. This allows the user to evaluate and compare different scenarios with cost savings (annual efficiencies) tracking. Inevitably, the software will be able to suggest solutions that are optimal for that facility.

The software can be used for optimizing, coordinating, and/or preparing large, complex government and corporate facilities, technical and laboratory space, and multi-national or multi-building office space.

NASA is actively seeking licensees to commercialize this technology. Please contact The Technology Gateway at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to initiate licensing discussions. Follow this link for more information: http://technology.nasa.gov/patent/TB2016/LAR-TOPS-107 .


NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the October, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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