October - December 2006
André Larabie, ISD programmer analyst, created the online Traffic Road Book Accepted Data Reporting tool, which references a SQL table created during the translation process. The report lists all the road feature records in the Traffic Maintained Road feature class, where road features and the geocoded limit descriptions are matched. The report is re-created each time the Web page is opened. "Our intention is to provide the user with a complete online review process," said Larabie. "They can review the whole conversion process without having to refer to any paper documents."
Each record in the report includes a hyperlink that launches an ArcGIS Server Web mapping application that allows the user to inspect the road feature. "We felt that the reports would be much more complete by having a GIS component that would display a map of the area being investigated," said Cohen. "Behind the scenes, a very complex data conversion process is taking place, which includes integration of a custom ArcMap application with the Microsoft SQL Reporting Server to help produce the report. However, all of this is hidden from the user, who simply clicks a link on the Web page report and is provided with an online map of the area of interest."
Adding a GIS element to the quality control portion of the workflow eliminated the need to manually research the county road segment information contained in the conversion reports. The hyperlink is embedded with special keys that identify specific road segments. Clicking on the link invokes an online map of the selected road feature without the user having to load or run special software. Anyone in the organization can view the maps using a Web browser without having to know anything about GIS. The map includes noncounty roads and other thematic features such as jurisdictional boundaries and imagery.
The Web application that contains the online map is a slightly modified version of the Search Template included with ArcGIS Server. Users can enter new search parameters, such as the road number, to generate a new map. They can also navigate the map by zooming in or out or panning.
If a mistake is found during a quality control check, a user can access a custom editing environment, also developed by Pourroy, for editing of the Traffic Maintained Road feature class. "We've created an interactive maintenance shell running out of ArcMap to handle the workflow and process sequences that we could not match in bulk," said Pourroy. "This maintenance shell also illustrates how the textual sequence description is broken up into the components that we can programmatically apply to the street network feature class and match."
Building an Integrated System
Babico recognizes that creating the Traffic Maintained Road feature class is a huge step in the right direction. "Of course, the Road Book data conversion and quality control effort is only Phase One of the project," said Babico. "It was absolutely necessary that we established a foundation upon which to build the integrated system we've envisioned. Next, we'll link the Road Book data with the Traffic Collision database, which will significantly decrease the time it takes to do an accident investigation and complete the TEI reports."
Cohen sees the Traffic Road Book modernization project as an opportunity to put ArcGIS Server to work and take the first steps toward implementing similar applications in the future. "With this project, we are trying to improve our ability to provide a rapid application development methodology to more efficiently create GIS applications and leverage the extensive GIS object model that comes with ArcGIS Server," said Cohen. "ArcGIS Server has a learning curve associated with it, and our staff has taken some training and plans to acquire additional training to help us fully utilize the ArcGIS Server capabilities. This important mapping functionality was added in about six hours and fully supports the reporting tool. We estimate that it would have taken three or four days to develop an application on our own that provided the same functionality as the ArcGIS Server template."
The applications created by Cohen's team also helped to automate the TSMS by making it easier to update the Traffic Road Book and publish new, full-color versions of the map pages. County staff can access the Traffic Maintained Road feature class via Web applications or ArcGIS software.
This article was made possible by contributions from Mike Cohen, Rick Pourroy, and André Larabie from the San Bernardino County Application Development Division GIS Team and Jacob Babico, Mary Anne Causey, and Trieu Tran from the San Bernardino County Department of Public Works.