Giraffe About Town – Logistics Guide – Part 1

Logistics Guide - Giraffe About Town
Part 1 - Setup

With the logistical success that was the Oor Wullie Bucket Trail, who better to set up the next Wild in Art public art trail than the team here at Purdie Worldwide! With over 40 giraffes and plinths to be placed across the capital, this wasn’t going to be an easy task. With careful planning and many man hours, read on to find out how we managed to setup an entire herd of Giraffes across Edinburgh.

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1. When preparation is key

Unlike our previous project with the Oor Wullie statues, these giraffes were understandably a touch taller and heavier to maneuver. The plan was to have all the Giraffes each bolted to 365kg concrete plinths, as supplied by Beatsons in Alloa. This would hopefully reduce the chances of them being damaged or stolen.

Each Giraffe About Town had mounting plates on each leg. However, not all these plates were in the same place. As a result, unique templates for each giraffe were made up, and each plinth was marked for it’s assigned giraffe. The mounting holes were marked onto the plinth, and a team from RZSS came round and drilled 4 holes in each plinth. In each hole a piece of threaded rod was inserted and epoxied in place. When the giraffes are mounted to the plinths, the zoo team would come along and add a locking nut onto each threaded bar and tighten each giraffe into place.

We now had each plinth matched to a particular giraffe. With the name and direction of the giraffe marked on every one. This would be key into knowing how load the trucks on the night, as we’d need to load the plinths and Giraffes in reverse order of them coming off.

2. Width Restrictions

Our initial plan was to use pallet trucks to load and move the plinths into place. However, after we received the plinths we tried to move them with our pallet trucks and encountered a bit of a problem!

When making the plinths we’d requested two fork holes in the plinths in order to put the legs of the pallet trucks through. The gap between the outside of the 2 channels was meant to be 685mm. This should have been a perfect fit for our wider pallets trucks as pictured.

However, after measuring we found that they had made the 685mm gap between the inside of the channels, not the outside. As a result we couldn’t use our pallet trucks directly onto the plinths, so we had to come up with another solution!

3. Rising to the Challenge

The solution to our plinth problem was to allocate each plinth it’s own wooden pallet. We could then move the plinth about by lifting the pallet and plinth using a pallet truck. The only issue was getting the plinth on and off the pallet. That’s where our latest piece of moving technology came in really handy!

With our fully electric and portable hydraulic jacks we were able to lift each plinth up safely. We then put the pallet underneath the plinth and lowered it back down onto the pallet. The plinths would stay on top of each pallet for loading, and would only be removed when putting them into place around Edinburgh.

The picture below shows our Managing Director giving a toolbox talk on how to use the portable jacks. Note our keen removal teams watching on with great interest!


4. Giraffe About Town - Looking the Part

A huge part of the Giraffe About Town project is not only about getting the job done correctly, but looking the part is critical, especially when working in such an open and public space. Every Giraffe About Town would be under the careful scrutiny of the general public, so looking and working as a team would be critical.

That’s when the team at Southfield stepped in and helped us out with a batch of unique Giraffe About Town Hoodies and T-Shirts, as well as some free Giraffe About Town branded high-visibility vests! 

The crew at Scot Signs Ltd also helped out by providing some large Giraffe in Transport stickers for the side of our trucks. This will ensure maximum visibility when we’re out on the streets of Edinburgh!


5. Digital Planning

Planning an event such as Giraffe About Town takes a lot of time and effort. For example, permission had to be sought from the land owners of every single Giraffe location. The majority were okayed by the council, but several sites had to be changed due to health and safety and other issues.

In order to keep everyone working from the same information and avoid any confusion, a custom google map was created and shared between ourselves and Edinburgh Zoo. This map not only held the locations of all 42 Giraffes About Town, but also included a preview picture of where and what direction the giraffe needed to be placed. All we needed to do was ensure this information was available to the crews on the night. To do this it was decided that along with paper copies, we’d give each truck their own Android Tablet with all the information they would need.


We carefully examined the locations of the Giraffes, and decided to split the Giraffes into 4 truck loads and do the job over 2 nights. We separated the trucks in to groups so they’d each be responsible for their own part of the city, with the first group being sent to cover the outliers at South Queensferry and the Gyle, with the other group covering the old town on the first night. The second night would see the New Town and Morningside covered off with the remaining trucks.

As a result we created 4 custom maps, one for each truck route. This gave them their list of giraffes and the order to install them in. We then created our own logistics guide in the form of a live web portal. Accessible only with an approved Google ID, this portal was then made the default home page for the 4 Android tablets we handed out to each truck. Complete with GPS and 4G connectivity, each tablet had complete access to every available bit of information for the project. From timelines to individual truck guides, these tablets could even access the GPS tracking software from Quartix to view the progress of the other trucks.


Read more in Part 2!

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