Public works departments routinely manage roadway inventories, parks & recreation, streets, signals, lights, managing fleet, solid waste disposal, and the maintenance of aging infrastructure in different facilities. When managing a high volume of work, being responsive to crises requires a geographic information system that efficiently gathers, stores, shares, manages, analyzes, and delivers data on demand for a streamlined workflow. A GIS integrates the different systems used by municipalities to manage workflow and offers a geo-enabled view of widely dispersed enterprises.

What is GIS?

GIS stands for Geographic Information System. It’s a powerful computer system designed to capture, store, manage, analyze, and display data that has a geographic reference. Essentially, it allows you to work with information linked to specific locations on Earth.

Here’s a breakdown of its key aspects:

  • Data: GIS works with various types of data, including:

    • Spatial data: Represents the physical location of features, like roads, buildings, rivers, etc.
    • Attribute data: Provides additional details about the spatial data, such as population figures for a city or soil type in a particular area.
  • Functionality: GIS offers various functionalities, including:

    • Mapping: Creating visual representations of the data on a map, allowing you to see patterns and relationships between different data points.
    • Analysis: Performing statistical and spatial analysis of the data to uncover insights and trends.
    • Modeling: Creating simulations to predict future outcomes or assess potential impacts of various scenarios.
  • Applications: GIS is used in various fields, including:

    • Urban planning: Optimizing city infrastructure, zoning regulations, and resource management.
    • Environmental studies: Monitoring environmental changes, analyzing pollution patterns, and managing natural resources.
    • Emergency response: Coordinating emergency services, assessing damage after disasters, and planning evacuation routes.
    • Logistics and transportation: Optimizing delivery routes, managing traffic flow, and identifying the best locations for facilities.
    • Business intelligence: Understanding customer demographics, analyzing market trends, and identifying potential new market opportunities.

Overall, GIS is a versatile tool that provides valuable insights into our world and helps us make informed decisions in various aspects of life.

Public works departments benefit by geo-enabling in the following ways:

Facilitates Operational Planning

An enterprise-wide geographic information system facilitates instant access to data and allows easy sharing of information across departments making it easy to meet the growing community needs. It georeferences every piece of information, allowing users to organize their assets and inventory without any limitations. An important feature of GIS is its ability to compare infrastructure investment against the service life of assets. It converts old datasets into geo-enabled information which can be accessed by multiple users at any anytime from any device.

Offers Real-Time Access to Information

With real-time access to mission-critical information, it becomes easy to analyze the big picture and understand the relationship between disparate chunks of information to make informed decisions. With a GIS, it is easy to stay updated on multiple projects and track their progress from time to time. Whether you need to search a specific hydrant or identify the water lines that need immediate replacements, a GIS allows you to easily access any data in an instant. It saves you time and ensures that you make the right decisions at every level.

Improves Transparency and Decision Making

Transparency is crucial to running an efficient, productive and accountable enterprise and it entails much more than just sharing information with all the stakeholders. It is important that everyone involved in a specific project understands the information and can analyze it before arriving at any conclusions. Public works departments manage big infrastructure projects that are executed by a team of internal and external decision-makers who work in close collaboration. GIS eliminates the time and effort spent on translating project knowledge by ensuring that every internal and external team member uses the same tool to interpret the same information in real-time. This strengthens the understanding of everyone who is working on the project from field technicians to facility managers.

Reduces Costs

With GIS, the field staff can gather information remotely and also exchange data throughout the enterprise. With a centralized database that accurately tracks asset conditions across locations, the field crew can service work requests on the go. From generating digital work orders and locating assets that need repairs to tracking inventory and closing work orders, GIS can help you save a lot of your time and effort by eliminating the need to generate prints, record inputs, prepare manual reports, review daily PM schedules, plot routes using paper maps, and pick up daily assignments. The implementation of GIS automates routine tasks to help you save thousands of dollars spent on repairs, replacements and preventive maintenance.

Enhances Responsiveness

When integrated with facility maintenance software, GIS gives you a geographic advantage that boosts work efficiency, helps you stay productive and enables you to quickly respond to emergencies. Its data accuracy and accessibility shorten disaster response times and enhance customer service. Without a GIS, technicians waste a lot of time identifying issues, searching for information stored in files and folders and running between the field and the office. GIS enables your crew to proactively handle all the problems and import data on the spot from an ESRI GIS database. Users can also create reports and keep them organized according to classes and subclasses. If your enterprise has separate databases, it is also possible to create multiple domains.

Improves Resource and Asset Management

Designed to overcome the flaws and shortcomings of old-school processes and procedures, a GIS organizes geographic data so that field technicians can easily view any information related to inspections, maintenance, repairs and replacements. When every section within the enterprise can easily share and access data, productivity is enhanced. The location-based tracking feature of a GIS offers an end-to-end view of all the assets spread across a facility. Even if the assets are distributed across the entire city, such as water distribution pipes, it enables users to trace and share location data accurately which enhances the efficiency of the maintenance crew and reduces the troubleshooting time. With instant access to information on the go, it becomes easy to update data and identify issues on the spot. With proactive inspections and timely maintenance of assets, public works departments can improve decision-making, maximize returns on investment, reduce repair and replacement costs, save time, and increase accuracy.

NEXGEN Asset Management facilitates efficient and effective management of assets and infrastructure while ensuring complete adherence to regulatory requirements. Designed by professional engineers, it addresses all your asset management goals including risk management, resource allocation, condition assessment, preventive maintenance and lifecycle planning. Contact us to leverage the benefits of deploying public works software and improve community satisfaction while saving both time and resources.