Guest Post

Guest Post: Northern Alberta Municipality Enhances Municipal Operations with GIS

Jill Tapp and Ann Holden oversee Planning & Development for the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River. They share how this vast and diverse Municipal District has leveraged Munisight’s GIS technologies to the net benefit of its stakeholders.

To serve the growing needs of constituents, business owners and visitors alike across a land area of more than ten thousand square kilometers, the Municipal District (MD) of Lesser Slave River relies heavily on Geographical Information Systems (GIS). By leveraging the next-practices technologies and implementation services of GIS industry leader MuniSight, the MD’s Geographics program is more feature-rich, versatile and accessible than ever before.

“The systems we have in place help us deliver real value to all segments of Lesser Slave River, from municipal staff to a variety of public users like ratepayers, developers and business operators,” remarked Jill Tapp, Planning & Development Officer for the MD of Lesser Slave River. “Our Munisight-powered GIS program helps the MD plan and grow communities, manage land use applications, and – most importantly – safeguard the region.”

By using Munisight’s GIS technologies, the MD has made many time-consuming manual processes more efficient. A vast database of geospatial information is now accessible to staff in real time via a secure online portal. All geospatial assets – from roads, property lines, water infrastructure and agricultural data – are visible in multiple digital layers overtop of highly detailed maps. Access to this geospatial information helps workers perform vital municipal duties, while also making these mapped data sets available to business-minded stakeholders like land developers and realty agents.

“Enhanced speed and accuracy are key by-products of the MD’s Munisight GIS program,” added Ann Holden, the MD’s Planning and Development Assistant. “Information on what the land contains, such as significant historical sites, oil and gas infrastructure, or even weed infestations can be accessed with a click of a button. With geospatial data, municipal planners are now able to access information to prepare zoning and bylaw changes faster and with far greater precision. The GIS program is also helpful in the preparation of individualized maps when presentations are made to the Municipal Planning Commission or to Council. These enhanced tools equate to better streamlined workflows, more efficient processes, and a safer, better-run municipality.”

Guest Post: Leveraging GIS technology for Asset Management Planning, at the City of Chestermere.

Seth Whitney is the GIS Coordinator at the City of Chestermere in Alberta, Canada, and explains how his municipality has used GIS to help further their asset management capabilities.

Understanding the current condition of assets, such as roads, is a crucial component of building a strong Asset Management Plan. The City of Chestermere built an inventory of relative road conditions, with the help of MuniSight’s software and technical services, based on GIS technology.

Prior to MuniSight, Chestermere’s roads function was using the US Army Corps of Engineers methodology to visually assess road deficiencies.  This was originally an effective but very manual process, which included having to fill out paper forms in the field and administrative staff entering the data into an excel spreadsheet. The original process was effective for a number of years, but became cumbersome and inaccurate due to the rapid development in the City of Chestermere, resulting in multiple data entry issues, lost forms and time wasted. The City needed a new process that could gain greater efficiency, and accuracy, by leveraging proven technologies.

The City’s Public Works department approached the GIS department to help them streamline their road condition assessment process. The GIS department created a roads condition assessment layer in MuniSight based on the paper form from Public Works, and with assistance from MuniSight’s technical team, was able to create a road assessment workflow that prompted inspectors to complete road condition information in a pop-up dialogue box in MuniSight. Inspectors were able to fill out 13 road deficiency types (i.e. rutting, transverse cracking, etc.) based on a score between excellent and poor.  Inspectors could simply enter the rating directly through Munisight using a laptop in the field or at the office.

Based on an aggregate score, from the 13 different deficiency types, the City was able to view relative road conditions in MuniSight, enabling them to prioritize maintenance planning accordingly. The City’s Roads Manager could easily identify roads that needed to be prioritized for maintenance by reviewing the map in Munisight.  By leveraging Munisight’s technology & expertise, Chestermere was able to gain tremendous amount of efficiencies using GIS technology.