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FEMA Reporting: A Sustainable Approach

Frequently Asked Questions

A disaster could happen any minute—is your local government prepared to submit the required FEMA reporting? Or, will your team leave money on the table after scrambling to pull together activity plans, time records, material usage, and photos for reimbursement?

While there’s no way to be completely prepared for a natural disaster, you can put tools in place to help streamline your response, cleanup, recovery, and reports. Following our FEMA Reporting: A Sustainable Approach webinar with Sustainable City Network and the City of Arlington, TX, here are the responses to some of your frequently asked questions.

How long did the FEMA reporting process take the City of Arlington from start to finish?

The key to effective and efficient reporting is having an accurate operations management system in place before disaster strikes. The City of Arlington implemented Cartegraph OMS about 1.5 years ahead of their May 2015 flood. So, when the water started to rise, they already had their employee, equipment, material info, and rates in the operations management system.

Once the flood struck, it took Arlington a little over a month to complete all their disaster tasks, and submit the corresponding Cartegraph OMS reporting, photos, and invoices to FEMA for reimbursement. Want to hear more about the City of Arlington mitigates the impact of weather-related events? Read their full story now.

How long did it take the City of Arlington to set up their asset, employee, and equipment data into Cartegraph OMS?  

Working solo, it took only a few months for Scott DeGrant, City of Arlington asset system administrator to gather, clean, upload all the asset, employee, and equipment data into the system using Cartegraph OMS’ Import/Export features.

Did Arlington open tasks daily during the disaster?

When the flood hit, Arlington’s field professionals were trained to input data using their Cartegraph for iPad devices. Individual employees were dropped off where work needed to be done, and they created and completed their own tasks—attaching photos, and logging their labor hours, equipment, and materials along the way. Individual tasks stayed open until they were complete, and field professionals could piggyback their labor day after day.

Does Arlington use another work order system for their regular operations?

Since 2014, the City of Arlington has used Cartegraph OMS to manage their 11,000 assets and to streamline their day-to-day operations, special events preparation and cleanup, and disaster responses. Approximately 100 staff members use Cartegraph OMS to log their hours—from parks operations staff, asset management staff, the aquatics groups, and field maintenance group—and the team has completed 120,000 tasks since their implementation. Want to learn more about how the City of Arlington streamlines their day-to-day operations with Cartegraph? Check out its How We Work episode now.

How many iPads does Arlington use in the field?

To streamline their day-to-day field operations, the Arlington team uses more than 50 iPads loaded with the Cartegraph for iPad app. Crew leaders use the mobile technology to manage their team’s tasks, perform inspections, and track labor, equipment and material costs on the go.

Back at the office, managers and supervisors use the web-based version of Cartegraph OMS to analyze their real-time work and asset data and use it to prepare budgets, build reports, and plan for the future.

What sort of naming convention does the City of Arlington use for asset, task, work order, labor, and equipment IDs?

The City uses Cartegraph OMS’ auto-populated ID numbers for assets, tasks, work orders, and labor. For equipment, however, they rename the entry to match the City’s pre-existing equipment identification numbers.

When adding new assets, do you create them through Cartegraph, GIS integration, or both?

Both! To establish and round out an infrastructure inventory through Cartegraph OMS, you can use Cartegraph for iPad or the Cartegraph One app for iOS and Android to collect assets. In fact, Cartegraph One’s state-of-the-art Capture tool can collect a sign, water hydrant, tree, light fixture, or water storage tank asset just by taking a picture on your smartphone. Capture automatically selects the correct asset type, sets the location, attaches the photo, and inputs available attribute data. How cool is that?

On the GIS side, Cartegraph OMS seamlessly integrates with Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS, allowing you to perform data collection in the field using your iOS, Android, or Windows tablet or smartphone device.

Can you perform a condition assessment on your park assets within Cartegraph OMS?

Absolutely. Manually collecting city-wide asset conditions used to take the City of Arlington six years to complete. Now with Cartegraph OMS, they efficiently and effectively assess the City’s infrastructure assets in a single year.

Need help building your asset inventory? From pavement management to right-of-way imagery collection, our Cartegraph Data Services experts will help you capture your asset data, analyze it, and prepare for the future.

Can you drill down to a particular asset such as a ball field or playground within Cartegraph OMS? Or, are your assets just the entire park location?

You can do both! Using container/component relationships within Cartegraph OMS, the City of Arlington can hone in on the details of a single asset component—such as a bench—including the location, manufacturer, total cost to date, maintenance history, and more. Alternatively, they can group assets together—such as an entire park—and see the total cost, total condition, total tasks, and total requests for every asset component in that area.

Where does Arlington store all their asset data?

The City of Arlington chose a hosted Cartegraph OMS deployment for two reasons: because it was more cost-effective and offered better data security. On average, hosting through Cartegraph costs about 60 percent less than an on-premise deployment. In addition, Cartegraph utilizes Amazon Web Services (AWS)—the top data center infrastructure in the nation—to host the Cartegraph cloud, and they follow a meticulous set of protocols to protect your data while ensuring a fluid connection between your authorized users and their products. 

Can you manage facilities with Cartegraph OMS?

Yes. From warehouses to workshops, you can use Cartegraph OMS to effectively manage the buildings, grounds, and structures that house your operations. From electrical generators and HVAC equipment to plumbing fixtures and roofing systems, Cartegraph OMS can help your organization inspect and maintain every asset in your facility network.

Have a question that isn’t answered above? Let’s chat.

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