Public Works Asset Management: GHA’s GIS Integration

 

GIS Public Asset Management Graphic

In an era where technology greatly impacts our everyday tasks, efficiently managing public works assets is increasingly crucial. The growing complexity of infrastructure and the need for real-time, accurate maintenance further emphasize this importance. As cities and communities become more interconnected and data-driven, incorporating advanced technology in asset management is essential to meeting these evolving demands and maintaining effective public services.

Recognizing this trend, Gewalt Hamilton Associates, Inc. (GHA) has helped integrate Geographic Information Systems (GIS) into public works operations. This initiative represents a significant shift in how municipalities manage their assets. Our approach blends innovative technology with strategic planning, creating more effective asset management.

The Transformation in Round Lake Beach: Shifting to Advanced GIS Solutions

For more than 10 years, GHA has been providing GIS services to Round Lake Beach, enhancing their public works asset management, and modernizing their infrastructure management strategies. Their commitment to advancing public works asset management is evident in their adoption of advanced GIS technologies.

Rebecca Joas, GIS Analyst, speaks about the benefits of implementing GIS technology in Round Lake Beach, noting, “The adoption of web app-based field operations has greatly improved Round Lake Beach’s efficiency in task and data management,” she notes.

This sentiment is shared by Round Lake Village Administrator Scott Hilts, who adds, “The move to digital platforms with GIS has not only streamlined our workflow but fundamentally changed how we manage and update utility information. The Round Lake Beach Web Application makes real-time updates and precision a reality in our day-to-day operations.” This shift to GIS-driven digital platforms represents a broader trend in modernizing public works.

Practical Applications of GHA’s Asset Management Services

GHA’s collaboration with Round Lake Beach showcases our proficiency in utilizing GIS technology for public works asset management. In this partnership, our GIS division plays a crucial role by managing and storing the critical data that enables GHA’s Facilities and Utilities Management (FUM) Division to efficiently perform essential maintenance tasks for Round Lake Beach. This data is instrumental for executing key maintenance tasks such as hydrant flushing, grease trap inspections, and water valve monitoring.

“Our collaboration with Round Lake Beach exemplifies the impact of advanced technology in municipal management,” says Michael Grinnell, Director of Facilities and Utilities Management at GHA. “Integrating GIS into our operations has streamlined processes and improved service quality. This approach allows us to meet the unique challenges of each project with greater precision and adaptability.”

Trimble DA2 GPS device in the bed of a pick-up truck against a blue sky background.

Benefits of Modern GIS Technology in Public Works

GHA’s use of ESRI ArcGIS applications has revolutionized our public works management. By integrating applications like Workforce, Field Maps, Survey123, Dashboards, and Web Map Apps, we’ve significantly improved our operational processes. Collectively, these applications enhance task coordination, provide innovative mobile solutions for field data capture, create detailed and accurate surveys, and offer real-time data visualization for informed decision-making. Javier Salazar, a GIS Analyst at GHA, highlights the impact: “These GIS tools have transformed our fieldwork, elevating our data collection and analysis capabilities.”

The integration of the Trimble DA2 GPS device into our GIS and asset management operations at GHA reflects our commitment to technological advancement. Renowned for its high-precision field data collection capabilities, it plays a critical role in enhancing the accuracy and efficiency of our diverse projects in surveying, mapping, and construction. By ensuring precise data capture, the Trimble DA2 boosts the accuracy of our GIS applications, crucial for detailed spatial analysis and planning.

 

In an exciting development, we are upgrading the data model on water, storm, and sanitary systems for Round Lake Beach to the Utility Network. This upgrade represents a significant step forward in our GIS capabilities, allowing for more sophisticated modeling and management of utility networks. The Utility Network provides:

  • A comprehensive framework for modeling utility systems
  • Offering enhanced connectivity analysis
  • Network tracing
  • Improved data integrity

This transition to the Utility Network will streamline our utility and asset management processes and provide a more robust and scalable platform for future growth and integration with other technologies.

Addressing Labor Shortages with Efficiency through GIS

By incorporating GIS into our services, GHA has helped to address labor market challenges, marked by shortages in key areas such as public works. This integration has been key to advancing our solutions, ensuring efficient workforce utilization, and continuous delivery of quality services for our clients.

Greg Newton, Director of Geospatial Services at GHA, observes, “GIS tools have been pivotal in optimizing our resources, enabling us to maintain high service standards through diverse challenges.” The technology’s ability to streamline tasks and improve workflow efficiency has proven essential in mitigating the impact of labor shortages and demonstrating the indispensable role of GIS in modern public works management.

Pioneering the Future of GIS in Public Works

As we look to the future, the expanding role of GIS in public works is undeniable. GHA’s innovative use of GIS technology has set a new standard in asset management. This evolution enhances current operations and paves the way for future advancements. Our focus on employing GIS for public works management emphasizes efficiency, adaptability, and long-term sustainability. As a leader in this field, GHA continues to explore new innovations, ensuring that our communities benefit from the most advanced and effective solutions available.