"We are excited to have Cityworks PLL, fully integrated with ArcGIS Enterprise, providing our land services staff with an effective tool to maximize our efficiency."
Why Chugach Electric Association Used GIS for Land Document Management
Headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska, Chugach Electric Association is a member-owned electric cooperative, serving more than 92,000 members at over 113,000 metered locations. Chugach's mission is to provide reliable and competitively priced energy safely. Chugach staff are meeting this mission by modernizing engineering systems and operations to improve efficiency and information access.
In Alaska, time is a critical factor for construction projects. Most of the year, the ground is frozen, making it challenging to install infrastructure. As a result, Chugach staff must efficiently plan and execute their work productively during the short five-month construction season.
When Chugach purchased Anchorage's city-owned utility in 2020, the utility added 30,000 members to its operational workload. The utility's homegrown application for keeping track of engineering workflows could not handle the complexity and scale of the increase. Specifically, staff in the Land Services Department could not readily access geographically based land permitting and right-of-way (ROW) data. Instead, staff had to coordinate with multiple entities to collect information from disparate systems and share it via screenshots, email, and paper copies.
User: Chugach Electric Association
Challenge: Chugach Electric Association wanted to leverage its existing GIS database to create a geographically based platform for updating land and permitting data.
Solution: Staff used off-the-shelf GIS-centric software to define workflows and asset management system requirements and interface with numerous other systems.
Results: The new system integrated asset management workflows with land documentation so that staff could easily access and share data, improving decision-making, reducing costs, and enhancing workflow operations.
Esri products featured in the story include ArcGIS Enterprise.
This time-consuming research slowed workflows and led to delays and timelines that extended past the short window for construction. Chugach sought to create an asset management system to avoid these delays and improve organizational access to land permitting and ROW data. The utility's existing geographic information system (GIS) data provided an excellent starting point for a solution.
Every electric utility needs access to ROW data, easements, legal descriptions, and permits whenever it expands facilities in the field. Chugach staff wanted an off-the-shelf product that would be easy to maintain. They selected ArcGIS Enterprise, the industry-leading geospatial software, to manage their extensive GIS-based asset data.
Chugach's existing and extensive amount of GIS data in ArcGIS Enterprise was then easily integrated without duplication into Cityworks PLL—a solution built exclusively on ArcGIS technology—from Esri partner Cityworks, a Trimble Company. Cityworks PLL is a solution for permitting, licensing, and land management that works with ArcGIS Enterprise, ArcGIS Online, and ArcGIS Pro.
Then Chugach leaders engaged a global consulting firm and Esri partner, POWER Engineers, to help define the utility's workflows and asset management system requirements within Cityworks PLL. The firm also developed interfaces with numerous other systems, meeting the utility's demanding schedule constraints.
Utility staff can now share land records across the organization. The new system provides staff access to geographically referenced data, information, and documents. By associating land records in a GIS-centric database, Land Services Department agents no longer have to sift through piles of paper records or navigate complex systems to get the data they need. Instead, GIS-based tools in the new land management system help the department digitize new easement and ROW documentation, reducing the backlog and giving stakeholders access to up-to-date information. This has not only reduced duplication but also streamlined work. The implementation of this land management system allows engineering and land services staff to use information more productively and communicate better, improving workflow processes throughout the utility.
The integration of Cityworks PLL helps staff track the process of document organization, engineering work orders, and land permissions. Chugach staff now utilize automation to reduce workflow hang-ups previously caused by siloed information. As a result, efficiency improved in asset management, work order, and engineering workflows.
Now, engineering staff use an automated workflow for ROW requests, which are logged into the Land Services queue. Furthermore, the workflow automates the return of information for engineering feedback, increasing workflow efficiency.
Overall, the implementation helps Chugach staff share information, make better decisions, and operate more effectively.