Empowering Success with a Common Operational View
User - The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County in New Stanton, Pennsylvania.
Challenge - Track construction projects more efficiently.
Partner - geographIT, a division of EBA Engineering.
Solution - ArcGIS Web AppBuilder, Operations Dashboard, and ArcGIS Collector improved communication between teams.
Result - Project status reports are created in minutes, and management has a high level of confidence in data accuracy.
The Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County (MAWC) in New Stanton, Pennsylvania, provides service to more than 130,000 water customers and approximately 27,000 sewer customers. MAWC maintains more than 2,400 miles of water mains, three water treatment plants and eleven wastewater treatment plants. Over the past four years, MAWC has integrated geographic information system (GIS) applications to enhance project workflows and integrate datasets. Previously, while reviewing its construction workflow process, MAWC was frustrated to learn that project status was not being effectively communicated between departments, causing serious delays in inspecting and activating new hydrants.
Construction crews at MAWC were tracking work progress on paper forms and maps. Information was hand delivered to the engineering team to develop as-built documents and update GIS data. Inspection crews that needed to inspect new hydrants and valves before bringing them into service were notified of progress through word of mouth or slow-moving paper trails. Since around 50 projects were under construction at any given time, paper maps and forms were often misplaced, and calls were not always made on time. Because of these delays, hydrants remained out of service for extended periods of time.
Esri Silver partner geographIT, a division of EBA Engineering, Inc., is located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It provides full-service GIS and application development services that focus on water/wastewater data and processes, cloud configuration, emergency management, NG9-1-1 support, and local municipality support services.
- geographIT — Led by project manager Joe DeLuca, GISP
- MAWC management team — Led by assistant manager Tom Ceraso
- MAWC GIS team — Led by GIS analyst Anthony Pologruto
- MAWC construction team — Led by construction engineer Ron Holsopple
- MAWC hydrant and valve team — Led by the Distribution Facilities Hydrant and Valve supervisor Mark Yackovich
- MAWC engineering team — Led by engineer Don Guerra, PE
MAWC team members and Esri partner geographIT worked together to document each phase of the construction workflow process. The 16 phases identified were added as statuses in a polygon feature class, and ArcGIS Web AppBuilder was used to develop an app to update the status at each phase. The status data is displayed in a custom operations dashboard where MAWC staff can see the current status of each active or recently completed construction project. The As-Built On Map phase prompts inspection crews to inspect new assets and mark them as active. Projects with an As-Built On Map status of true and new hydrant/valve features also automatically appear on existing hydrant and valve inspection dashboards. Inspection crews use ArcGIS Collector to perform the inspections in the field. Once completed, the inspection status is updated in the GIS. The construction dashboard updates automatically, moving the project status to the next phase of work and removing the feature from the hydrant and valve dashboards.
Implementing the construction application and dashboard has greatly improved communication of construction project status information. The process is much more efficient and accurate and no longer relies on word of mouth or a paper trail that could get lost on someone's desk. Hydrants no longer sit with bags over them for months and, on average, are coming online several weeks earlier than they did before the new processes were implemented. Internal project status reports are created in minutes, and management has a high level of confidence in data accuracy.
Implementation of Collector to capture hydrant inspection data has resulted in a 20 percent increase in the number of inspections that can be performed. This enables MAWC to meet its goal to inspect all 8,500 hydrants every two years—a goal that was often unmet in the past.
"Using my smartphone, I can view map locations of our customers, assets and monitor work activities. Our vision is becoming a reality."— Tom Ceraso, Assistant Manager, Municipal Authority of Westmoreland County
Having a well-planned GIS is essential to providing a common operating picture that empowers both end users and management to do more while keeping projects on task and status communicated.