Safety in the Skies – Bristow Takes Flight with Real-Time GIS Mapping


Facing rapidly evolving technologies, increased customer expectations, and changing global weather patterns, aviation companies must remain vigilant and responsive.

Bristow, an industrial aviation services company, has embraced these dynamics as an opportunity to improve its operations. With the support of GeoDecisions, Bristow embarked on a major effort to overhaul its flight tracking system.

Elevating Air Mobility Operations

Serving nearly 900 oil and gas clients, Bristow transports crews on helicopters to offshore drilling platforms throughout the world. The legacy software that Bristow used to manage its operations had limited functionality and operators relied on pilots to provide flight data, making it cumbersome to quickly and effectively access vital information related to passengers and flight plans. Seeking to improve performance and efficiency, Bristow needed a better way to manage more than 73,000 takeoffs and landings each year, maintain critical passenger data, and, in the event of an emergency, deploy search and rescue services.

Powerful Location Intelligence

GeoDecisions introduced Track, a geospatial technology solution to support Bristow’s global needs. Track enables Bristow’s command center to monitor, report, and communicate with pilots in real time and confirm aircraft locations, landings, and takeoffs. Built on location-based software from Esri®, the system makes it possible for operators to track and visualize aircraft movement through a central dashboard, ensuring they can account for all assets.

Bristow operators monitor over 73,000 takeoffs and landings annually with GeoDecisions Track.

Bristow operators monitor over 73,000 takeoffs and landings annually with GeoDecisions Track.

An important feature is the system’s more than 20 different types of custom alerts. The technology automatically sends notifications to command center operators when it detects a potential issue, such as flight delays, flight pattern deviations, or an aircraft experiencing an excessive descent. Operators can then extract data through the system’s robust interface to develop an appropriate response and actively mitigate any potential safety concerns. As an added safety feature, pilots have an emergency button, which they can push at any time to instantly alert the operators of an issue.

Achieving Target Zero

“As a transportation company, safety is our number-one priority,” states Bristow Group’s Sophy Liu, director, technology enablement. “Our goal is to have zero accidents, harm to people, and harm to the environment to support an accident-free, injury-free workplace.”

In the event of extreme weather, such as hurricanes or tropical storms, Bristow is responsible for safely evacuating all personnel from the offshore drilling platforms. Track provides operators with a comprehensive dashboard of information to quickly identify the location of all assets within the impacted areas and notify the scheduling department to reroute the aircraft.

On the Horizon

Brian Smith, GeoDecisions’ vice president of strategy and innovation, continues to work with Bristow to ensure Track operates at peak performance and evolves to fit Bristow’s business challenges.

Liu explains, “From Bristow’s perspective, we always want to nurture a partnership because we have a lean technology team and require external support. GeoDecisions has been very flexible in putting our business needs first and listening to our requirements. At the end of the day, we develop and improve the product together. It is a win-win for both companies.”

The next step for Bristow is to integrate its other core platforms for managing flight plans and search and rescue activities into Track, continuing progression toward a single, streamlined system to most efficiently manage all operations.

At the same time, GeoDecisions and Bristow are exploring opportunities to expand Track’s functionality. In the future, pairing geospatial information with new technologies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, could support improved predictive analytics based on Bristow’s historical data. The analytics would supply data to new dashboards, from which operators could make more informed decisions and action plans in response to certain types of alerts. The improved functionality would lead to a more robust, innovative system that improves daily operations for hundreds of Bristow flights each day.

Contact Brian Smith at for more information.