Departments of Public Works staffs throughout the country are out in the field every day, taking care of our public infrastructure. Typically, their (digital) data is back in the office. It does not have to be. Sometimes departmental data needs to be freed from the confines of local servers and Local Area Networks; it needs a breath of fresh air.
In Gloucester, Massachusetts, this historic city also has historic infrastructure to manage, which makes it all the more critical for staff to have access to plans and documents at any location where work may occur.
To enable Gloucester’s Department of Public Works (DPW) workers to access drawings and plans for specific locations when outside the office, AppGeo developed a web application that is customized and optimized for mobile devices, primarily tablets.
“The tablet application has significantly reduced the amount trips and phone calls I have to make to get the utility information I need. Anything that makes my job easier I’m gonna like, and this tool makes my job easier,” said Bill Gilliss, Gloucester DPW, Superintendent of Utilities.
Gloucester Mobile Utility Application Screenshot Showing Selected Features (cyan pipes) with their linked plans (buttons on right)
Subscriptions to our MapGeo property mapping platform continue to increase steadily and have picked up in the last few months.
“Since July, we have added more than a dozen MapGeo subscribers” said Michael Terner, Executive Vice President, “and today there are more than 40 MapGeo subscribers representing counties and municipalities in 7 states, including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.”
The web usage statistics show that MapGeo sites are visited regularly and repeatedly, generating maps and views of all types of data. Even more important than the numbers, users find substantial benefit in the data access provided by MapGeo.
“The feedback we are getting from subscribers and users is very positive,” said Terner. “Local government staff, real estate and other business professionals, and residents have written to tell us how much they like the user interface and how MapGeo makes it easy to access local geographic data directly, saving them time and money.”
“Our focus at AppGeo is empowering our clients to put geographic data to work for real benefit,” said Rich Grady, President. “The democratization of authoritative local geographic data through MapGeo supports that goal.” continue reading...
Base map data –planimetric features (roads, buildings, utilities, etc.), orthophotography, and elevation (contours, spot elevations and, increasingly, LiDAR collected 3-D surfaces) – is the foundation of municipal GIS. Municipalities that rely on their GIS programs generally update their base map data sets every few years.
In this post, I describe five planning steps you can take to reduce costs and define a base mapping project that is appropriate to your needs and budget.
STEP ONE: Evaluate Current Data
The first step is to review your existing base map data holdings to determine how much base map updating you need. Here are three things to consider:
- Consider the type and pace of change in your municipality – If there has been little physical change in infrastructure in your municipality, perhaps a new orthophoto layer would suffice for some of the update cycles, rather than a full planimetric mapping effort
- Check to see whether data sets like utility features have been accurately surveyed on the ground so that they might not need to be photointerpreted as part of a base mapping project.
- Determine the accuracy you need for departmental functions and whether the accuracy of current features matches the use, for example, do you need greater horizontal accuracy to support utility management and planning than your base map data currently provides? Are there flooding issues or development projects that require greater vertical accuracy?
Limiting the base mapping project to orthophotography updates or reducing the collection and mapping of features translates into lower costs. On the other hand, if current mapping does not support critical government functions, an investment in higher resolution base mapping can and should be justified by those beneficial uses. continue reading...