OMS Plus GIS: A Digital Stop on Cobb's Smart County Journey
As the Cobb County Department of Transportation delivers data and services to our citizens and workforce, we've found that becoming a smart county is a continuous journey—not a destination. This journey includes “digital stops” along the way, where old workflows are enhanced, new services are created, and opportunities for collaboration are sought and implemented.
A key stop on our smart county journey is how we've leveraged the the dynamic duo of operations management software (OMS) and geographic information systems (GIS) to improve our operations and service to the public.
Our DOT maintains Georgia’s second-largest county-owned road network, and we're committed to keeping Cobb County in motion. We've been using Cartegraph since 2003 to manage our work and assets, and went live with OMS in 2016. Since then, we've grown our Cartegraph implementation to four DOT divisions and two outside departments, streamlining workflows and improving communication between 125 users.
This November marks the 20th anniversary of Cobb’s GIS team. Over the years, we've developed a rich platform of databases, business application integrations, and online maps. Cobb has a centralized GIS Core group that distributes the resources of Esri's ArcGIS Enterprise platform across the county so that we can create and use maps, apps, and location data to meet our departments' needs. This works amazingly well and it helps that we have a lot of fun together. We truly believe that GIS can help with any problem that needs to be solved or question that needs to be answered.
Cobb County DOT GIS
GIS is at the center of everything we do at the DOT and it's what helps us build transparency and clarity with our community. In short: our citizens know what we know. As county employees enter information via their office computer or mobile apps in the field, GIS is what connects the dots and helps us share that real-time information with our citizens through public-facing apps like Cobb Commute and Waze.
Cartegraph's open architecture allows us to combine the infrastructure, work, and resource data we're capturing in OMS with Esri's easy-to-use-templates as well as our custom GIS-based applications. Here are a few of our favorite examples:
Pavement Story Map
Cobb roadways and right of way are some of our most valuable assets that our citizens interact with every day. As it has been for everyone, having our resurfacing program sufficiently funded has been a challenge.
Using ArcGIS StoryMaps, we've shown the public the process of how we inspect roadway pavement conditions, select roads for resurfacing, the role funding plays into that selection, and—for the first time—shared a map of PCI for county roads with them. The StoryMap also includes an ArcGIS Operations Dashboard of the status of this year’s resurfacing contracts.
Putting this ArcGIS StoryMap together was a collaborative effort spanning several divisions and departments. Our goal was to have the map and dashboard seamlessly update, and we were able to achieve just that. A few tweaks to Cartegraph data workflows were easily implemented by our resurfacing staff. For the dashboard, the pavement asset and works status were linked in ArcGIS. We also updated how we publish our map services through Portal for ArcGIS to improve security.
Inclement Weather Workflows
Believe it or not, we do have winter weather events in Georgia! Over time we've developed inclement weather procedures to treat our roadways for snow and ice. For example, in Cartegraph, we've created snow routes as assets and we track work on those assets during inclement weather events. Work status in Cartegraph OMS is linked to the snow route GIS asset which, during an inclement weather event, enables roadway treatment statuses to be communicated to the public via our Cobb Commute GIS web map. Again, citizens know what we know.
Inclement Weather Next Steps
This fall, we're super excited to explore the power of webhooks between Cartegraph and ArcGIS. When our automatic vehicle locator (AVL) -equipped trucks cross geofence check points, ArcGIS GeoEvent-configured enter and exit events will trigger Cartegraph automations so that salting and plowing tasks will be automatically created, started, and closed for hands-free workflow. How cool is that?
To support this future effort, we created an integration between ArcGIS and the AVL our Road Maintenance Division uses. In addition, we've connected our AVL data feed to our GeoEvent server, allowing us to publish a service to ArcGIS Online so that a map of AVL locations can be viewed in Cartegraph. Today, road maintenance staff are using this functionality to see who is closest to a reported issue without having to open another application.
We hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about how our team is leveraging the power of OMS and GIS at Cobb DOT to become a smarter county. We're looking forward to implementing our next digital stops along the way and can't wait to find opportunities to better serve our citizens, improve the efficiency of our workforce by looking at old ways of doing business, and improving our workflows by combining good ideas with the sound use of technology.
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