Did You Know? “Utilizing Your Urban Engineering Data”


Many small urban municipalities spend a lot of money on engineering data that sits unused. Recently, MuniSight found some creative ways to get more value out of the vast amounts of data that these municipalities had, but were not using.


Several Albertan municipalities had untapped engineering data that they needed to use. The data included closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of a sanitary manhole and various up-to-date photos of municipal assets. MuniSight imported the CCTV footage and attached it to asset information already housed within MuniSight. MuniSight also geotagged asset images and attached them to the appropriate assets in Webmap. The engineering information is now catalogued and attributed to each asset and can be viewed at any time.


Now municipal workers from various departments can access the most recent asset information on demand, reducing silos and ensuring municipal agility.  This solution lets small urban municipalities get added benefit out of the engineering data that they already have, and unlocks more value for the money that they have already spent.

Did you know MuniSight can help you make the most out of your costly engineering data?

Contact for more on how we can help.

Fee Free 20 Professional Service Policy

Exciting News: MuniSight announces new professional service policy, effective April 1, 2019.

At MuniSight, we like hearing from our Client Partners. We like to hear about how we can help solve some of the challenges that municipal governments encounter on a daily basis.

For this reason, any service request that takes less than 20 minutes to resolve will be free – known as the Fee Free 20 Professional Services Policy.  Regardless of the type of request, we will not charge our Client Partners for any requests that are resolved in less than 20 minutes. As a MuniSight Client Partner, this means that you can ask us to consult on GIS challenges, perform simple GIS requests, or any other type of professional service request. As long as it takes less than 20 minutes to resolve, it is free.

For Client Partners that have subscribed to pre-paid General Service Hours – this policy is designed with you in mind.

“As long as it takes less than 20 minutes to resolve, it is free.”

We value interactions with our Client Partners, and we value hearing what they have to say, so making quick professional service requests free, only seems to make sense to us.

We hope that Client Partners will take advantage of this new policy. Whether the request is big or small, we are dedicated to delivering high quality service and value to our Client Partners.

Kind Regards,

Teresa Yeager

Director of Customer Success

Full details of the policy are available here:, in the policy section.

MuniSight now supports QGIS

For over 15 years, MuniSight has been dedicated to providing our Municipal clients with the very best software and services. As part of that commitment, MuniSight has decided to start providing technical support for QGIS software.

QGIS is a powerful and technical GIS software that can be used to execute complex GIS tasks. The majority of municipalities (including our clients) would not require a program like this, as the program’s functionality exceeds what they would need. That said, a select few of our clients do want to push the envelope of GIS technology in their municipality, and we are excited to help them do so by supporting the QGIS product.

MuniSight’s commitment to QGIS does not change how we will support our Hexagon GeoMedia clients. For over 7 years, MuniSight has strived to provide the highest quality of GeoMedia support, and we plan on continuing to do so for a long time. Our commitment to QGIS simply gives our clients access to another GIS software, should they choose to pursue one.

We are excited to see the benefits that some of our clients will gain from using advanced GIS technology, like QGIS.

What is QGIS?

QGIS is an open source GIS application. The program can be used, free of charge, as a desktop GIS software. QGIS is a very technical GIS software program, that can be used to complete many tasks, including:

  • Bulk feature information updates;

  • Custom cartography; and

  • Custom data analysis and spatial queries, etc.

What is open source software?

In general, open source software is a type of software licensing agreement. It essentially grants users the right to develop, change, and distribute the software free of charge. It is important to note that not all open source software abides by the same licence agreement, so it is important to get familiar with the terms of any software of this nature.

Open source software is typically developed in a collaborative public manner. This means that anyone can contribute improvements by making changes to the source code. Open source softwares do follow release cycles, so any code that is added is checked before a release is dispatched.

Why is MuniSight supporting QGIS?

Some MuniSight clients have advanced needs that can be better addressed by using a technical GIS software (like Hexagon GeoMedia, QGIS, Esri, etc.).

For over 7 years, MuniSight has been supporting the Hexagon GeoMedia software. In order to give our clients access to more options, the decision was made to start supporting QGIS as well.

How can I access QGIS?

QGIS can be downloaded at the following website:

How can I access QGIS support?

The QGIS community provides a User Manual and Training Guide, for QGIS users. These guides are regularly updated as new software releases come out, and can be found here:

MuniSight can provide technical support for the QGIS product, including everything from installation to troubleshooting. Feel free to contact MuniSight Support with any questions that you may have.

For more information about QGIS:

QGIS website (

Enhancing Personal Relationships at Scale – POD Service Model

How was MuniSight able to double its client base within a year, without losing that person-person interaction? This post explains MuniSight’s POD based service model, and how we arrived at that solution.

About our business, and our client’s requests

Municipal governments have unique needs – they don’t behave like businesses, and they certainly don’t behave like consumers.

Based on MuniSight’s experience, Municipalities require person-person interactions to help advise their decision making. Although we do receive many “transactional” requests that are quite simple to execute, we also receive a relatively high number of complex requests that cannot be solved by following a step-by-step guide. In a sense, a lot of these requests are almost like consulting activities – giving advice on how to tackle a specific problem. It is not uncommon for us to receive requests that take 20 man-hours to resolve. For this reason, the person-person interaction is key, and therefore MuniSight has always serviced its customers in a way that is a bit different than most other software or service companies.

Before – large pool support model

Since MuniSight’s start in 2002, and up until last year, the way that we served our clients remained relatively unchanged. The process was quite simple – a client request would come into our support line (phone or email), it would be triaged by a Technician, and then the request would be assigned to another Technician for completion. The triage part was the only step with any degree of complexity, and involved a Technician reviewing the request as soon as it came in and writing guidelines on how to solve the request after trying to understand what the client was asking for. The triage step was critical in ensuring that our team prioritized requests properly, and processed requests most efficiently.

Before: Large Pool Support Model

This model worked very well when we had a small number of clients, and when that number of clients did not change (in other words, when we were not growing). The model worked because we were able to quickly dispatch requests into a large pool of technicians, with different areas of expertise and focus, so we could always find the right person for the job. In addition, having a small client base enabled us to maintain strong person-person relationships, to make sure that our clients got the most out of our services.

The large pool model came under strain when our business started to grow. In early 2018 our business started to gain traction with new clients across Canada. Consequentially, our service team had to grow from 6 technicians to 11 technicians in one year to keep up with the demand. When this growth happened, the person-person relationships were lost, causing clients to become frustrated with how we communicated with them. Many things got lost in correspondence, causing MuniSight to drop the ball on many service requests.

After – POD support model

MuniSight’s service team started to see signs of a decrease in service quality as early as April 2018, due to the team’s inability to keep up with our growth. Our business did a good job of hiring talented team members as we grew, but no matter how many team members we hired, we could never seem to keep up.

“In the POD model, each client has access to a dedicated set of Technicians.”

After consultation with our clients, and senior members of our service staff, we concluded that the person-person interactions had been lost as our business grew. Because we know that the person-person interaction is so important to Municipal Governments, we decided that we had to try to find a way to find that place again – and along came the idea of a POD model.

The concept of the POD model is quite simple. We asked ourselves this: instead of channeling all requests through one technician and then delegating tasks to specialist technicians (large pool model), why don’t we pair up teams of technicians with teams of clients? So, we took our team of 13 technicians, divided them into 3 balanced groups, and then paired each of these groups with a set of clients. We then built a system to process incoming client emails and phone calls, so that they would be automatically routed to the correct group of technicians. Emails from clients in the 2nd POD, go to the POD-2 Technicians, while phone calls from the 3rd POD, go to Technicians in POD-3, etc, etc.

In the POD model, each client has access to a dedicated set of Technicians.

Now: POD Service Model

This change was beneficial for a few reasons:

  • Better Client-Technician communication – It enabled technicians to work directly with clients, instead of having to go through a request dispatcher;

  • Improved Technician knowledge – Technicians became more familiar with the unique considerations of each client’s deployment, so their solutions were better tailored to the client’s needs;

  • Building Client-Technician relationships – Clients were able to develop a better relationship with our technicians because they interacted with them on a more frequent basis;

  • Increased “Time on Tools” – our Technicians now spend more time doing work, rather than trying to figure out what work to do;

  • Better Client empathy – strong person-person interactions enable our Technicians to get to know the challenges that our customers face, and adapt solutions to best meet those needs; and

  • Improved Technician collaboration – now that our technicians are in small teams, they work better as a team. Communication in a group of 4, seems much more effective than communication in a group of 13.

We took the time to strategically design each client POD, by grouping clients with similar needs together (Albertan Towns together, Manitoban Rural Municipalities together, etc), which helps our technicians become familiar with the differences between client regions. On the Technician side, we designed each group to be well-rounded by putting technicians with varying skillsets, and experience, together.

Even though the POD model has made a significant net-positive impact on our clients, there have been some downsides, including:

  • Email first response time has gotten longer – because we no longer have a dedicated dispatch technician, it usually takes longer for us to get back to a client when they file a request;

  • Technician training requirements have increased – to ensure that each POD has qualified and capable technicians, MuniSight has had to invest more resources into training our Technicians on various areas of support and service. For example, now all Technicians need to be trained at how to communicate properly with clients, instead of just one Technician being capable in the large pool model;

  • Lower work-rate efficiency – because Technicians are no longer pigeon-holed into specific tasks, they are now generally less efficient at doing specific tasks; and

  • Customer support cost has increased – increased training requirements, and a lower work-rate efficiency, have increased the overall cost that MuniSight has to pay to support its clients.

It is worthwhile to note that we also experimented and considered other support/service models, such as tier-based support. In a tier-based system, requests are gradually escalated through tiers of technicians to help try and make service delivery more effective. Although this would have lowered MuniSight’s customer support cost, we found that it was very impersonal, and therefore would not meet our client’s needs.

Getting better today, then we were yesterday

Even though we have made improvements to how we deliver service to our clients, we are still hungry to improve. So, we openly invite any Client, or anyone for that matter, to weigh in with their thoughts on our new customer support model. So far, both MuniSight’s Clients and the company itself have been happy with the change, and we look forward to hearing any ideas on how to further improve. Contact us with any comments or questions that you may have.

Asset Management – The Guiding Principles

Asset Management is essential to running an effective municipality. Earlier this year, we discussed what Asset Management is and how municipalities can benefit. In this post, we will dig a little deeper and uncover the keys to Asset Management success.

The following key principles are the basic, and fundamental propositions that serve as the foundations of Asset Management. Regardless of how an Asset Management plan is constructed, the following principles should always be kept in mind:

  • Assets Support Municipal Objectives – Municipal governments can strategically invest in assets to progress their municipal objectives. Appropriately managing assets based on objectives allows municipalities to use their assets in the most effective way possible.

  • Asset Management is a “Way of Thinking” – Asset Management is not a report or a software system. It is a learned mindset that allows administrators to get the most value out of a municipal asset, as efficiently as possible. It ensures that ratepayers receive the appropriate level of use from a municipal asset while minimizing the cost.

  • Asset Management is the Great Evaluator – the principles of Asset Management are most effective when considering trade-offs. Although Asset Management reporting is important, the true value from the implementation of Asset Management comes to the forefront when evaluating two options that require investment and deciding which one to pursue.

  • It is a Continuous Process – Asset Management is not stagnant. It is a process whereby plans and systems are continuously refined and improved. No matter where a Municipality starts in their Asset Management journey, their goal should be to focus on getting better today and tomorrow.

  • Prioritization is Key –  No Asset Management system will ever be “complete”. Municipalities must prioritize the assets that warrant the most attention, based on their importance to the municipality.

  • It Takes a Multi-disciplinary Approach – Asset Management expertise should not be confined to one department within a government. Each service area in a municipality needs to be knowledgeable on Asset Management principles so that they can work together to build a comprehensive view of how to best manage municipal assets.

  • Asset Management is Fit for Purpose – Not all municipal Asset Management Plans will be the same. Plans should be built to fit the requirements of the municipality, and therefore will be different between municipalities. For example, a small town may be focused on different priorities than a sprawling rural municipality.

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

Chinese Proverb

Our advice is always to start today – no matter where your starting point is. Asset Management Planning is not a one-time project, but rather a continuous process that evolves over time. So, whether you are a municipality that has a full Asset Management Plan in place or a municipality that doesn’t have any asset information, the goal remains the same; make your Asset Management Plan better today, than it was yesterday.

Schedule an asset management consultation today

MuniSight helps you facilitate continuous improvement of your Asset Management Plan, no matter where you are at in the process. Our solution highlights missing information, to enable any municipality to focus on gathering the information that matters. In fact, we recommend gathering asset information over a long time period, instead of feeling the need to gather all possible information before you start.

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.

Land Use: To farm, or not to Farm – that is the question!

Understanding soil quality, so that you can best plan the locations of future developments, is key to optimally growing your taxable base. MuniSight has the technology to help you better understand where to build, and where to preserve the best farmland!

The map below highlights optimal farming conditions, based on using Digitized Farmland Polygons, the Canadian Land Inventory (CLI) information, and assessment classifications, with the darker green signifying the better areas for farming.

Using queries, we can identify parcels based on certain land rating criteria that match the guidelines, or targets, that the municipality has set.  The advantage of using a GIS software to query this information is that you are able to make changes to the criteria and immediately see the resulting information.   Below show the results of three different criteria.  In these examples the client wanted to identify parcels with a certain percentage of “good” farmland.  The soil productivity calculation was based on the assessment information.

 In this example it was decided that Criteria 1 best identified the farmland that should remain agriculture.  Our client then compared this information with current development in the area and were able to put forth a recommendation to council for land use changes that best suited the ratepayers and the land.  The parcels highlighted in orange were recommended to change from Agriculture to Limited Development (i.e. Residential).

If you are interested in learning how we can help you with your future land use, please contact our Support Team!