Geographic Information Systems, or GIS, is one of the newest ways to utilize information this is spatially relevant. GIS Specialist, Max Villanueva tells us more.
What is GIS?
GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is one of the newest ways to utilize information that is spatially relevant. A GIS is a system created to capture, store, manipulate, analyze, manage, and present many kinds of geographical data. It allows users to analyze data and answer spatially dependent questions such as “Which parcel meets all my buyers’ requirements?”, “Where are most of the water systems users?”, “How many pipes have been repaired this year?” Follow AES for tips on how GIS can make your data to work for you.
Based on Data
In recent years, data, especially spatial data, has become both an effective tool for municipalities and government agencies to manage several different tasks across departments. From asset management, utility billing, record keeping, to mapping, planning, and reporting, the data contains spatial information which can be interpreted through a Geographic Information System to provide valuable information for decision making. GIS can help you to understand complex problems by mapping where things are, in what quantities as well as keeping relevant data on infrastructure which is often underground and unseen. Proper Data collection provides the foundation on which to build GIS.
All municipalities and companies have assets that need to be managed. When the assets in question are sometimes out of sight such as pipes, hydrants, electric boxes, and manholes, it becomes imperative to know where they are and their condition. Access to infrastructure records, repairs, and structural information is key to proper maintenance. GIS can provide the data associated with their location, through information easily accessed via the web. This saves time, space, and man hours while keeping your assets up to date and in working order.
Record keeping is an important part of asset management. Being able to keep record drawings, reports, inspections, images, and information on your system will help clear out cabinets of clutter at the same time making this valuable information available in the field. GIS is a more efficient way to retrieve information in an emergency, such as a broken water main. Having all the main locations, as well as the associated valve locations available in the field will save time and effort. You can focus on fixing the problem instead of looking for information.
From meter checks, maintenance, and the updating of addresses and account names, keeping track of utility bills can be difficult. However, using a GIS system to track these updates and their associated billing accounts can simplify the process, making it easier to locate meters, and store account information. Additionally, newer billing software is available and can be set up to work in conjunction with your GIS system saving time so that labeling for bills are created automatically.
Mapping is the basis of all GIS databases. Maps provide information in a visual format to compliment information obtained from reports. With map graphics, survey drawings and projects plan, GIS is a useful tool in understanding your spatial data as it aids in identifying problems as well as solutions to them.
Just as Strategic Planning is important in business and project management, Map Planning helps to plan for future infrastructure needs and maintenance. Maps help make planning easier to understand and can add a sense of scale to your plans. GIS maps allow you to categorize your tasks, assign importance and then plan your budget accordingly. Planning utilizing maps that have tasks organized by difficulty, cost, or both help make decisions faster and keep tasks on budget.
One of the newest features of GIS is web deployment. Web deployment allows users to see and use their associated mapping data anywhere if they have a browser and internet connection. In some cases, users can even collect information and update items in their databases right from the field. Web Deployment eliminates the need for every user to have an expensive computer just to view or upload documents to the database. While this setup may seem complicated, AES is always willing to lend a hand in getting you started.