Using Cartegraph and ArcGIS to build data with integrity
City of Maple Grove, MN
Recognized by Money Magazine as the “Second Best City in America,” Maple Grove, MN, is a community that its 65,200 citizens take pride in. To help maintain its strong status and good condition, city leaders invested in Cartegraph. They use the software to help prioritize maintenance projects and ensure the preservation of infrastructure assets for years to come.
Shortly after implementing Cartegraph, the public works department embarked on a large-scale project to identify, inspect, and organize assets — particularly the city’s streetlights.
Maple Grove had a large amount of streetlight assets on different repair timelines. Without a central database, it was difficult to track the condition and work history of those assets.
The city was also working with a variety of materials on its streetlights. Some poles were aluminum; others steel. The height and width of the poles varied, and there were differences in the spread of bolts. The department sought a way to standardize and stock the materials to expedite repairs and keep assets in prime condition for citizens.
The public works department went to work with Cartegraph’s mobile technology. GIS analyst Heather Albrecht and a handful of interns began the process of verifying the location of every streetlight, relying on Esri maps in Cartegraph. They conducted inspections to confirm details and conditions, gradually illuminating their ArcGIS map with 4,000 tiny dots marking each streetlight in the city.
This asset collection brought to light a clear picture of which streetlights needed attention, where to direct the engineering department, and how to allocate resources. The Streetlight Inventory and Condition Survey was a significant project, but Heather’s team was able to finish the task smoothly — and in a fraction of the time they expected.
“We were able to complete the inspection of all city-owned streetlights in half the summer, with [the help of] two interns,” says Heather.
The team measured and collected data to account for the full range of poles on the field — detailed information not easily found filed away at the office. This allowed them to develop a “universal street pole,” and order greater quantities to stock for when repairs were needed.
The power and precision of Maple Grove’s GIS data was key. Through the survey project, the team was able to build a complete and accurate streetlight inventory — and share that information across previously disparate systems. The comprehensive web map linked assets to a variety of data sets, all in one accessible system.
“You’re looking at information in many different media, all accessible in Cartegraph,” says Heather. “Cartegraph pulls together fragmented pieces of info, building data with integrity.”
After fresh inspections and data collection, the team had an OCI on every streetlight and a live condition of every pole in the field. With everything in one place, thousands of assets and their conditions were one click away – and it was easy to see what work needed to be done first.
“Cartegraph OMS has helped the communication between the public works and engineering [departments],” says Tim Brandon, Street Department Lead for the public works department. “This project gave us a really good picture of what we have out there — and helped us direct the engineering department to the areas we needed to focus on.”
Now, repairs are a year-round endeavor. The department’s workforce triples in the summer, running queries and using ArcGIS mapping functions in Cartegraph to reveal trouble spots. This shows the team where to prioritize replacements and perform upgrades in the fall. It’s a well-oiled machine, thanks to the data in Cartegraph and Esri.
“Our use of Cartegraph has streamlined the workflow,” says Tim. “The widespread use of technology in the field has made our staff more efficient.”
“Putting the power of the data entry into the hands of the people who actually know what’s out there has been really helpful to us,” adds Heather. “Being able to track all of the activities done to that asset and costs associated with them is really valuable. It helps us analyze and prioritize — just like we did with the streetlights.”
Now, the department is two years and over 5,500 civilian requests into its use of Cartegraph, and the database of assets is growing every day. They are expanding their operations management system to include a comprehensive tree inventory and municipal storm sewer compliance program among other projects — and with the integration between Cartegraph and ArcGIS, they say the possibilities for future efficiencies and long-term benefits for citizens are endless.
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