Mapping benefits grow with data integration
Integrating data from local public works departments into a single networked database elevates efficiency for municipal planning and strategic asset management. One municipality, Paris, Texas, has experienced cumulative benefits from having implemented an Infrastructure Management System (IMS) integrated with a Geographic Information System (GIS). The system allows the city to track budget requests and project costs.
Because of the system, Paris has changed some procedures for conducting business; rehabilitation is planned more wisely as are new construction and annexation projects. City engineers can respond to requests for information with graphic displays of the sanitary sewer, water and street systems complete with aerial photography and database tables indicating history and construction material.
Paris, which serves a population of 25,000, has spent the past 12 years developing a library of digital and electronic mapping resources. The city has created digital, three-dimensional images of its loop area, and it has commissioned line drawings of every element in the images.
In 1994, the city added satellite imagery from US Geological Service maps to its library. Later, city engineers contracted with ADS Environmental Services, based in Huntsville, Ala., to provide unique identifiers for infrastructure assets along with television and smoke testing on each line segment. Results of the condition assessment were organized in 15 notebooks.
The Engineering Department knew it needed an integrated external database to link the data housed in the notebooks with the extensive GIS and mapping resources. “The investment in GIS did not bring a real return until an IMS was integrated to collect, store and track the various features and systems represented by the digital map,” says Steve Hodges, engineering technician for the city.
The city chose infrastructure management software from Kansas City, Mo.-based GBA Master Series. In August 2000, it implemented tracking inventory and maintenance of water distribution, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and GIS modules. In January 2001, it added software for tracking street and pavement systems.
Before implementing the inventory and maintenance programs of the IMS, the Engineering Department would receive work requests and forward them to the Public Works Department. Today, Engineering enters each work request — including required materials, equipment and vehicles — into the system at the time of the call. A public works supervisor electronically schedules crew based on availability, craft or trade.
Engineers use a software filter to check the status of a work order or to view a work order. Every integrated department can view the work orders from the IMS.
Results from routine television, smoke testing and manhole inspections also are input into the system. Using the information, Engineering analyzes hydraulic grids produced by software filters to plan rehabilitation activities. “We save money because we query the system for pipes that will soon deteriorate and fix them before they collapse,” Hodges says.
The integration of asset data with GIS has affected the handling of inventory and maintenance, analyses of system rehabilitation and planning for Paris’s growth. “[We have more than made up for] the time, man-hours and equipment [necessary to] develop the system,” Hodges says.