By Suzanne Zitzman, GIS Services at Maser Consulting P. A
Caption: Straight Line Diagram created using Esri ArcGIS Desktop software
Over the past decade, Transportation agencies have experienced an increased need for a better means of inventorying asset condition due to high-risk failures. This tends to be prevalent in the northeast section of the United States, which has older transportation assets in a densely populated region. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/), public agencies have invested $1.75 trillion in transportation assets.While assets differ for public agencies and private sector clients, the same concept of asset management can be applied. The goal is simple and clear: How to get the most out of your assets while maintaining an acceptable service condition of those assets.
Managing Transportation assets using eGIS technology has provided a solid foundation for assisting public agencies with optimizing the performance and life expectancy of their assets. eGIS solutions provide users of the program with a means to make informative decisions about maintaining, replacing and constructing asset infrastructure based on current asset condition, budgets and infrastructure needs.
Inventory and condition ratings of assets such as signs, pavement, pavement markings, guide rail, shoulder slopes, ADA compliant ramps, and signals are inclined to be the most sought after inventory and assessment reporting.Once the initial eGIS program is in place, assets can be easily located, inventoried, evaluated and prioritized for repair, replacement or re-configuration to meet new roadway construction. eGIS affords your organization a method of accessing the most updated information about all of the assets you manage at your fingertips via desktop, and internet accessible mobile devices. Because GIS tends to be friendly to otherOpen Database Connectivity (ODBC) complaint software, the eGIS solution can integrate third party data making the eGIS asset management program the hub for collaboration and communication between your organization and/or your customers.
Once you make the decision to implement an eGIS Asset Management program, you will need to perform a Needs Assessment and develop an Implementation Plan. A Needs Assessment will help identify the key elements in developing your specific plan. The points below will help:
- Have a good understanding of your current standard processes and procedures
- Review the IT infrastructure of your end-users to ensure high performance in accessing such a program
- Understand the data that you would like to provide to end-users and the output of data that best suits asset management decision making by stakeholders
- Identify the management tasks you would like to incorporate into the program
- Identify your user base and have them properly trained to match their business use
Using eGIS foundation software products, such as Esri (www.esri.com), can support the integration of Linear Referencing Systems (LRS) that many transportation agencies maintain as a means for accessing a comprehensive look at roadways. This enables you to bring your data into one synchronized secure eGIS access point to perform and monitor data-maintenance workflows. A good example of how using eGIS can enhance efficiency and improve maintenance workflow is that Department of Transportation agencies are finding Esri mapping capabilities can supply a means to take Straight Line Diagrams (SLD’s), which are maps that are not-to-scale schematic views of roadway segments, and bring them to a digital to scale map that can be used for planning, design and field maintenance processes. Esri-based SLD’s can be used within mobile applications to assist field staff in navigating to the asset, where inspection data can be entered and updated to the main eGIS asset management program in the field in seconds.
Every organization has some method of managing their assets in place. eGIS programs are highly configurable to your specific needs, easy to use, highly effective and may even integrate into some existing software applications. Certified GIS professionals are trained to help you sort through the details, perform the necessary assessments and help you make informed decisions in developing the right program for your organization. Asset management is an ongoing task. Taking the time to properly design and implement an eGIS program will maximize your time, budget and workflow and leave you wondering how you previously did without it.
Ms. Zitzman is the Discipline Leader for GIS Services at Maser Consulting P. A., a multidiscipline engineering firm headquartered in Red Bank, NJ. She has expertise in all aspects of data collection and data modeling using geospatial technology. Her experience in understanding client business processes enables her team to implement cost effective asset and facility management solutions tracking work orders, asset conditions, and capital project planning. In addition, Ms. Zitzman has extensive knowledge in traditional land base mapping providing clients with cadastral, environmental and, infrastructure mapping. She received her Associates Degree in Applied Science from Brookdale Community College, Architectural Studies NJIT, and Geomatics Certification from Rutgers University.