As we go about our day-to-day operations, it’s frustrating how much time we spend looking up information, communicating details back and forth until it’s correct, and trying to find where that file is stored.
With the advent of technology that can be maintained without huge hardware systems and updated without having to go back to the office, municipalities and authorities can now take advantage of easy-to-use database systems with all your information in one place. Meeting your infrastructure maintenance and improvement goals suddenly becomes smooth, instead of a headache.
What infrastructure can this apply to?
- Water distribution
- Sanitary sewer collection
- Roadways and bridges
- Physical facility assets
For each of those, you might have geographical boundaries, original construction plans, extension or addition changes, and repair notes. And where is all that info stored? In endless file cabinets, out in the public works garage, or down in the basement? Do you use hanging files, rolls stacked together, or have the boxes of files taken over the corner? And what about any repairs or maintenance details – are they documented somewhere? Even if the data is accessible, you and your coworkers often need the details when you’re out of the office investigating an issue.
Integrating the physical and layered information such as materials, installation dates, and a maintenance schedule can result in improving workflow and shortening time spent on finding information. A GIS implementation has been shown in reducing costs — through more efficient use of your time — by up to 30 percent! The visual capturing of data and having it available from any internet-connected device even outside of the office significantly improves communication. And your framework for record-keeping is upgraded to a level that can last well into the future.
If a water main breaks, you can tell exactly what the situation looks like underground before you get there. If a fire occurs in your area, you can increase the water flow to your nearby hydrants. If a sewer line backs up, you can easily access the capacity of nearby lines. If an insurance agent needs to view information on a pressure main, you can quickly answer their questions. If a pothole is reported, you can add the location so your employee out investigating can find the spot from checking their phone or tablet. You and your coworkers can take pictures and update information into the GIS when they’re standing over that sewer line or pothole.
Working with a customized GIS is becoming essential to understanding what is happening throughout your system, and what will happen in the future. This can drive proactive action steps, reducing overall costs and improving the workload you manage every day.