GIS Becoming Significant Management Tool for Local Government

July 2013 – Most people are familiar with GPS – Global Positioning System – a technology many drivers have in their cars or on their mobile phones.  While rare 10 years ago, the technology is now widely available and some may wonder how we ever traveled the “old-fashioned” way – with paper maps and hand-written directions.

The same will likely hold true for Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which are becoming key tools for local government – and any organization with assets spread across geographic distances.

A number of municipalities are already making use of GIS in highly advanced applications.  For those who may not be familiar with the technology, simply put, a GIS is a system for storing and manipulating geographic information on a computer.  The user can view and interpret data in different ways, revealing relationships, patterns and trends in the form of maps, reports and charts.

With a GIS, a public works department can map the locations of all its sewer lines, water mains and manholes.  Characteristics of each piece of infrastructure such as material, size, slope, depth and flow direction, as well as condition reports and videos for those locations, can be linked to that point on a map, putting a wealth of information at the department’s fingertips for the planning of maintenance, improvements and expansions.  

A similar geodatabase could be set up for all the roads within a jurisdiction, with data on pavement type, width, stormwater and pedestrian facilities, sign postings, road condition and maintenance records.

A police department can use GIS to map crime locations and determine where it may want to increase patrols. A fire department may find it useful to map the locations of all the fire hydrants and gas and electrical shut-offs within its service area to quicken incident response times.

Parks departments can map the locations and features of its park and trail facilities to determine underserved areas and plan future improvements. Environmental agencies can focus their conservation efforts more efficiently with maps of wetland boundaries, endangered species home ranges, or protected habitat areas.

TWM’s GIS capabilities allow us to create and maintain a highly organized dataset containing virtually any information desired.  TWM can even incorporate data collected by our survey instruments, high definition 3D scanner, and robotic video crawler.  The information can be presented in paper map, spreadsheet, and 2D or 3D digital formats.  The results of these analyses help to improve and achieve long-term maintenance, development, conservation, and sustainability goals.

Capabilities include:

  • 3D Digital Mapping
  • Analysis of Spatial Relationships
  • City Zoning and Planning
  • Communication Network Management & Analysis
  • Land Development
  • Sewer/Wastewater Management & Analysis
  • Transportation Management & Analysis
  • Water Network Management & Analysis
  • GIS Online Applications
  • GIS Mobile Applications
  • Geodatabase Design & Maintenance
  • Real-time GIS

With TWM’s decades of municipal engineering and mapping, GIS is a natural extension of our services.  We work hand-in-hand with officials and administrators to produce a professional product, customized to each client’s needs.

To learn more about TWM’s GIS services or to see if GIS is right for your needs, give us a call.