GIS supports a holistic approach to infrastructure management

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All municipal governments face the challenge of how to prioritize
infrastructure maintenance work. Everything from road repairs to sewer
lining to water main upgrades have to be itemized in the annual budget,
and as such tend to be managed as unrelated projects. Unfortunately,
this method can result in inefficient project planning because a
particular component might be repaired in one year, only to be dug up
again the next year to complete a different project.

GIS is well-suited to assist local governments with this challenge,
as the Village of Lincolnshire can illustrate. First, the Village paid
outside contractors to collect data on its road infrastructure and a
portion of its sanitary sewer. Next, it used GIS to conduct an in-house
analysis of the spatial distribution of water main breaks. Finally, GIS
was used to combine all of the findings to pinpoint locations where
multiple problems are occurring. Some clear patterns emerged, which made
it easy for the Village engineers to prioritize their project plans for
the coming year.

This analysis led to a larger discussion with the Village board about
infrastructure management. Using maps and statistics, Village staff
members were able to demonstrate to the trustees how the road and
sanitary surveys augmented their decision-making abilities. Further, the
presentation justified the planned studies on storm water retention and
more of the sanitary system. Once all of the studies are completed, GIS
will be used to aggregate the data and look for spatial patterns
throughout the Village. The findings allow for a holistic approach to
infrastructure management, avoiding needless waste of time and resources
in areas that have multiple issues to address.