In 2009, Montgomery County, Ohio Environmental Services Division (MCES) implemented Cityworks Server, a GIS-centric program designed to leverage Esri products to help manage assets. As Cityworks was being implemented, accurate and up-to-date GIS information became a necessity. In the past, MCES used multiple third-party software packages to help maintain its GIS infrastructure, but the organization found that the pace of software development made these difficult to maintain.
When MCES staff members attended the 2010 Esri International User Conference, they learned that many current processes could be completed using core ArcGIS for Desktop and the Infrastructure Editing template. This resolved the third-party software problem and made way for a new question: What would be the best way to migrate existing processes to the new ArcGIS 10 templates?
MCES staff began the migration process by working with a local copy of its geodatabase and building existing processes into the Infrastructure Editing template. The time-consuming work required a team effort. The staff members saw this as an opportunity to review and improve the entire workflow. As they became more familiar with the template, they realized it could do more than was previously possible with other software.
During the design and implementation phase, some rules and tools did not work as expected, but these hurdles were overcome with the help of Esri’s water utilities team.
“What impressed us the most was the support from Esri’s water utilities team,” said Ken Carrier, GIS specialist at MCES. “[The team members] listened to our needs, provided fixes in a timely fashion, and were constantly making improvements. Since Esri introduced add-ins at ArcGIS 10, it has become very easy to upgrade to a new version without having to touch every machine to install a new build.”
Upon implementing the Infrastructure Editing template, MCES has put into practice a “continuous improvement” approach toward the template.
“We realized that as our data changes over time, we must be able to adapt to these changes,” Carrier said. “This template gives us that flexibility. If we need to change our schema, add new features to our geometric network, or transfer attributes from other data sources to our assets, we can do it very simply by updating our template. This template has actually given us a new perspective on how to maintain an enterprise GIS.”
Once the template was implemented in the production environment, MCES was able to reduce annual software maintenance costs by $6,000. MCES staff members have also been able to build a fully customizable template that allows them to streamline data entry, ensure data integrity, and simplify the process of maintaining an asset in GIS.
“In the past, customization of existing software and tools cost a considerable amount of money,” Carrier said. “With the Infrastructure Editing template, we feel as though we are the developers. The toolsets provided within the template have allowed us to customize the template for our own needs. I believe it would be difficult, if not impossible, to put a dollar amount on just how much money we have been able to save by being able to design our own editing system that is tailored to our own data.”