Public Works Departments have a broad range of responsibilities, not least of which is to respond to and resolve citizen complaints and manage assets to meet levels of service. In this blog post, we discuss some common challenges organizations encounter as they perform these functions.
Some common challenges
- Limited ability to see job locations and data related to infrastructure
- Workflows tied to paper-based systems that can lead to inefficiencies, delays, job overlaps and bottlenecks
- Limited access to important information for crews in the field
- Incomplete knowledge of assets in the field
Take the City of West Jordan, Utah for example. With a limited ability to capture data from the field, the City did not have a complete view of assets in the field. The disconnect between staff memories and as-built drawings compared to the actual location and state of assets in the field proved costly and troublesome. In one such case, crews were unable to find the shutoff valve to a broken waterline.
Realizing that general but imprecise institutional knowledge of assets did not meet their needs, the City of West Jordan turned to ArcGIS and Cityworks. As a GIS-centric asset management system, Cityworks enabled staff to accurately identify the location of their assets. Integrated with ArcGIS Collector, the GIS team and field crews are now verifying in real-time whether issues have been resolved. Taken together, Cityworks and ArcGIS are enabling the City of West Jordan to improve levels of service and the quality of life for its residents.
"Users began interacting with and depending on GIS data as opposed to paper maps or institutional knowledge. Our data became more accurate because our users had a stake in making sure their field observations matched what was in the GIS," notes Clint Hutchings, GIS Administrator at West Jordan.
The City of Memphis Public Works Department provides another example. The Department responds to approximately 400 service tickets per day. Tracking and closing work orders is a critical task, but historically a difficult one for the Department given their prior use of paper-based systems. To improve their ability to resolve tickets, Drain Maintenance staff within the Public Works Department realized they would need a new approach. More specifically, they wanted to provide near real-time access to service ticket information for both field supervisors and management. Furthermore, relevant location data needed to be accessible both in the field and the office for reports and dashboards.
To meet these requirements, the Drain Maintenance Department asked the Enterprise GIS Department to help develop a complete end-to-end solution for operational work processes. They used the following ArcGIS solutions to do so:
- ArcGIS Online provides access to important information for crews in the field
- ArcGIS Collector enables field crews to relay information to the office
- Information from the field is presented to managers with ArcGIS Dashboards
- Since implementing the solutions, they have reduced the ticket closing time by 33 percent!
Director of Public Works for the City of Memphis Robert Kneckt describes the effects of these tools as such, “We have significantly enhanced productivity levels and the efficiency at delivering services, as we are now able to make decisions more quickly based on accurate and timely data.”
This post was translated to French and can be viewed here.