GIS for Public Works

From the Trenches

Summer 2013

Another Esri International User Conference is in the history books. I always look forward to moderating the public works track because I get to meet the presenters personally and hear their success stories. You all are doing some amazing work using the ArcGIS platform to support public works mandates.

From the presentations, I must tell you that I now have a new hero. I won't name names, but he presented the success of his town (of fewer than 5,000 residents) in the implementation of a GIS-based enterprise asset management system hosted locally by cloud services. How did he do it? Call me and I'll let you know or make the introduction directly, but the bottom line is that he was able to focus on the savings he gained from implementing the system and not its cost. He indeed had a champion in management that supported him, and both knew the inherent risks in maintaining services with aging infrastructure and how the implementation of a GIS would help mitigate those risks. By entering the town's infrastructure assets in a geocentric work management system, he was able to better understand the condition and related maintenance costs of the town's infrastructure. This allowed him to report more accurately to city hall on how public works money was being spent. He started using GIS by providing mapping services in his department and expanded its use to asset management as he learned its broad capabilities. And though his department was small, he even went mobile, which helped extend his use of the system and further reduce costs. The moral of his story is that your town is never too small to think big.

During the month of September, Esri's public works team will hold a public infrastructure seminar series across the United States. We are tagging it the Do More with Less tour, knowing that you all have heard this mandate but have been given little or no direction on how to implement it. Please check out our Public Infrastructure Seminar website to learn more about the seminar and when we are coming to a city near you.

If you have received this newsletter, chances are you already know the importance of GIS in public works. I encourage you to share it with your management, operational departments, and residents so that they, too, can better understand the benefits of a GIS implementation in public works and local government.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.

David Totman,
Esri Public Works Industry Manager

Read previous columns: Winter 2013, Summer 2012Winter 2012 issue.

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