Each year since 2018, the American Public Works Association (APWA) surveys their 30,000+ membership to identify the Top 5 Tech Trends for the Public Works community. They just released the list of 2023 and once again, GIS is on the list, along with drones, asset management, field crew technology, and electric vehicles.
These technologies are not mutually exclusive. They are all connected, and GIS is the integrative technology that ties them together. GIS is a key component in drone flight planning and for making the data collected by drones useful in other applications. To make asset management most effective, you must know where your assets are, so GIS is a critical part of any asset management initiative. Field crew technology relies heavily on GIS, whether it’s helping the crews plan their field work, coordinating the work, navigating to the work, understanding the work location and surrounding area, capturing data, and for those back in the office monitoring their work. As we transition to electric vehicles (EVs), the need for expanded EV support infrastructure is increasing and GIS, is a powerful tool for supporting that expansion. Whether it’s siting of EV charging stations, or planning and permitting the electric grid expansion, ensuring this expansion is equitable and sustainable, GIS plays a powerful role.
Let’s look at some examples of how each of these five technologies are being utilized by Public Works organizations, and how drones, asset management, field crews and EVs are integrated with GIS:
- GIS – Here’s a great example of a public works organization using GIS as a mission-critical enterprise IT business system to support their entire mission, Houston, Texas Public Works and their story about Transforming Houston Public Works Geospatial Technology
- Drones – The use of drones by local government and public works organizations is rapidly expanding. There are many use cases that justify the investment in a drone program. Here are some stories from local governments on their drone programs powered by GIS:
- Asset Management – the integration of GIS with asset management has a long history and there are multiple ways for public works organizations to implement these technologies:
- Esri provides 25 complimentary asset management solutions as part of our ArcGIS Solutions program. These solutions are supported, open source and designed to be deployed without writing code. They can also be deployed in the cloud.
- Esri has over 200 partners that can help implement asset management solutions.
- Field Management:
- EVs – Many local government agencies are using GIS to plan for the EV transition:
- Torrance, California has been working on this issue since 2008 when the Strategic Plan committee reached a consensus that “stewardship of the environment” should be a priority, and “using alternative fuels” should be among the City’s goals to accomplish that priority.
- Raleigh, North Carolina developed their EV Service Equipment Mapping Tool to identify the most suitable locations to install publicly available Level 2 EV charging stations to serve EV drivers in the city and won the Transportation Innovation Award from the Research Triangle Cleantech Cluster.
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts Commission adopted their Regional Policy Plan in 2019 which includes a planning action for the Commission to conduct a GIS screening analysis of potential electric vehicle charging station locations.
- California business leaders and officials set out to analyze the best sites for EV chargers and they wanted to give all residents access to charging. GIS analyst Sam Lustado incorporated equity and sustainability into a cutting-edge app called Charge4All.
- In 2019, a New Jersey multiple state agency partnership was created by the governor to build out the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicle ownership to improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Strategic mapping was developed that will help inform strategic placement of EV charging infrastructure.
For decades, thousands of public works agencies have partnered with Esri as their first choice to incorporate spatial thinking into their daily operations with ArcGIS. What are your plans for 2023 for implementing GIS and the rest of the Top 5 Tech Trends in your public works operation? For more information on how you can use GIS to support your mission, please check out our website: https://go.esri.com/GIS4PW. If you have a GIS success story you would like to share with the community, please visit our self-service success story portal.