Building Bridges between Platforms

8 Dec, 2013 By: Cyrena Respini-Irwin

User Profile: For civil engineering firm IDS to function, data must move smoothly between GIS and CAD — and Amanda Nunley Menard is the person who gets it there.

What are the web mapping applications you develop?

Most of the web mapping applications I developed were created to internally support our engineering staff. Using Esri software, I’ve created regional applications for our offices that show a variety of GIS layers — everything from political and regional boundaries to geologic and topographic data.

When I began, I developed our web sites using an ArcIMS web server, connected to our ArcSDE SQL server databases; I performed the programming in ArcXML and JavaScript. Later, I transitioned everything over to our existing ArcGIS Server and .NET applications. I am currently in the process of switching our internal sites over to Flex and Silverlight applications.

For our external-facing applications, I am working on some ArcGIS Online sites for our Municipal Utility Districts, showing sanitary sewer and water line information. These sites are built using the Esri Water Utilities Data Model and allow mobile access through Esri’s suite of mobile apps.

Using web mapping applications, engineers at IDS can display layers such as floodplain boundaries and aerial imagery (top), property lines and elevation (middle), and land use types and urban jurisdictions (bottom). Click images to enlarge.

What aspects of your job do you particularly enjoy?

I work with a great team of people in our company, and I love the variety of projects I get to work on. Every day, I get to try something new or I have the opportunity to analyze data in a new way. Since the technology is always changing, I’m constantly learning new things.

My most rewarding project to date was developing our internal GIS web sites. When I first started at IDS, our GIS department was just starting to grow. We spent a lot of time creating basic maps and finding data for our engineering groups. Our goal in creating an online tool was to allow them the opportunity to reference data and generate quality maps on their own.

To accomplish this task, our group had to work with several departments within our company. Before we could even begin, we had to set up servers, software, databases, and security permissions. Then we had to find and merge data from different groups and external sources. I had to learn new programming languages and software. And finally, we got to design and develop the sites. It was a great team-building experience. Even though the software has continued to change, those sites are still in production today, and I look forward to the opportunity to create even better web mapping apps.

Tell us about your life outside of work.

I enjoy spending a lot of time with my family and friends, relaxing, traveling, and hanging out with my Australian terrier, Quigley. I head up to College Station for Aggie games, play fantasy football, and read a lot of books. And when the Texas heat isn’t too bad, I do a little vegetable gardening.

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