GIS

City of Surrey Maintains Infrastructure with Mobile GIS

8 Feb, 2012 By: Karen Stewart

Cityworks Anywhere enabled this Canadian metropolis to replace its printed map books with laptops.


The city of Surrey, British Columbia, spans 316 square kilometers, making it geographically one of the largest cities in Canada. Four times a year, the City conducts "sector checks" that require three field crews to inspect visible assets along Surrey's extensive road network and record infrastructure-related issues. To better manage this time-intensive task, Surrey implemented Azteca Systems' Cityworks Desktop and Anywhere, which automated the generation of service requests and work orders while equipping field crews with the ability to electronically access asset-related data.

Sector checks are an integral component of Surrey's infrastructure management program; they enable the city to comply with both provincial and municipal regulations, while ensuring the optimum safety of its assets. In the past, field crews would record observations using a proprietary application, transfer the information onto a floppy disk, and return to the office to upload data into a master sector checks database. During this upload, work sheets would be automatically created and distributed for other crews to address recorded deficiencies.

However, a lack of system integration was creating operational challenges. The city stored asset information in a central GIS database that could only be accessed in the office. Field crews did not have access to electronic mapping software, and relied on printed map books that were updated annually. Preventative maintenance (PM) program work and service requests were stored and maintained in Cityworks, requiring users to access multiple applications and datasets in order to fully visualize the current state of the city's infrastructure. To streamline workflows, the city would need to replace the aging, proprietary application with an automated work and asset management system.

Surrey had previously integrated Cityworks Desktop into its existing IT environment and interfaced the application with the city's finance, human resource, and warehousing systems to better manage asset lifecycles. Cityworks Desktop leverages data from within the central GIS database and makes it available to the entire department within the application.

Asset data is plotted on a map view, rather than maintained in individual proprietary databases, so city staff can easily visualize and analyze asset characteristics and service request and work order history. By clicking on an asset, staff can access and edit detailed information such as its age, make, material, and work history.

To expand asset management capabilities across the enterprise, field crews were equipped with Cityworks Anywhere, a mobile solution that interacts with the city's asset information and provides remote access to GIS data. Using lightweight Toughbook computers, city staff can locate and view the assets on GIS-generated maps. Work requests are then transferred back to the central Cityworks database, where they are verified and leveraged to generate work orders, all through a single, integrated system.

Through a single-platform approach, the City of Surrey has extended access to critical asset information across the enterprise, ensuring that information is always up-to-date. The integration of service requests and work orders has eliminated multiple data entry points, which has significantly improved accuracy and enabled field staff to work more productively. These documents can now be easily accessed through a map view to check the status of work occurring throughout the city.

"The integration of workflows has made our jobs significantly easier to perform while improving data accuracy and accessibility across our growing city," said Gord Simmonds, project supervisor and Computer Applications, City of Surrey. "Connecting field staff with current asset information means that our sector checks are performed both consistently and compliantly."

The Cityworks Anywhere mobile solution helps ensure that consistent information is recorded during sector checks and that data capture is complete. Picklists within templates reduce typing requirements so that field crew can easily record information on the spot.


While in the field, Surrey staff can access aerial imagery on mobile computers.


Real-time, GIS-based maps have replaced costly, printed map books which quickly become outdated due to Surrey's rapid growth. The ability to access aerial imagery on the lightweight Toughbooks also enables field crews to easily locate the infrastructure they are inspecting. This is especially useful for inspections that occur throughout the city's rural areas.


About the Author: Karen Stewart


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