GIS for Public Works

From the Trenches

Summer 2012

So I've just finished up a busy week with 15,000 of our users, partners, distributors, and fellow employees at the 2012 Esri International User Conference. I was very impressed with the presentations from the public works track and am excited about the growing numbers who attended our special interest group meeting. I'd like to think attendees wanted to learn more about ArcGIS for Public Works, but maybe it was the free sandwiches and soda.

Seriously, we had great conversations about what applications and data are needed within the public works environment for us to be successful. The asset management session was standing room only. I believe that was because there is a growing sense of the critical importance of asset management, and public works professionals want to learn how it can help them face the challenge of aging infrastructure.

However, I am well aware that many departments can't afford even some basic materials. Budgets are definitely tight out there, and it's difficult to get departments to spend money on anything but the bare essentials. I take this message seriously and am working with our partners and Esri staff to provide cost-effective solutions that will alleviate any director or finance officer's apprehension about implementing a GIS.

Did you know that over the life of any infrastructure project, 75 percent of the cost is the long-term operations and maintenance (O&M) expenditures? Well, with an integrated, GIS-based information system, you can save over 14 percent of those costs. That's a 10 percent net savings on any road, bridge, water main, or sewer project. A handful of $100,000 capital projects could easily pay for the new hybrid cloud solutions offered by Esri and our partners. This message is resonating even with those of you working in cities with populations of fewer than 25,000 people. Aging infrastructure is not dependent on the size of a city. Whether you are responsible for maintaining a metropolis or rural town, residents rely on you to maintain the infrastructure, which helps protect the safety and welfare of the community. I don't have to tell you that; it's what you do on a daily basis.

If you have any questions on how GIS and asset management can help your community, please do not hesitate to contact me.

David Totman

PS: Best wishes and a proud salute to all my municipal brethren in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for doing what you do best while facing the adversity of the recent Waldo Canyon fire.

Also see the Winter 2012 issue.

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