GIS supports winter operations

Blog_GIS_supports_winter_operations.jpg

Seasonal operations planning is a process all municipalities, large
and small, must go through as the seasons change throughout the year.
Whether it’s ordering salt for the winter months or flowers for the
spring plantings, all municipalities are involved with planning out the
process by which seasonal services will be executed. For the City of Des
Plaines Public Works department, snow removal and street salting have
always been two of the primary services included in the winter operation
plans. In past years, the various plow and salting routes have,
primarily, been determined by the individual truck operators and had
little coordination across the department from route to route. To help
better coordinate this effort, and to avoid routes overlapping, the
department asked the city’s GIS department to assist in creating a
series of city-wide maps showing the various routes to help make the
overall snow plowing process more efficient.

The Public Works department had two primary goals for developing the
city’s snow plow and salting routes in GIS for mapping: 1. To help
clearly define each route for the truck operators to avoid route
conflicts and to ensure maximum coverage across the city and 2. To get a
spatial record of the route areas to allow for an easier transfer of
information for substitute or new operators. Before the GIS department
was involved in this process, the areas covered by each route were
developed by the primary truck operators and were not coordinated by the
department administration. Developing a spatial record of the routes
provides an administrative tool for better route planning and promotes a
more efficient use of the department’s resources.

In addition to providing an administrative advantage for overall
planning, the maps create an operational advantage by providing a
consistent tool for any truck operator who is not familiar with his
assigned route. In addition to city-wide maps used in the office,
individual route map books have been provided in each truck to allow an
operator to see the individual streets they are responsible for. While a
route map did exist for each truck before GIS was involved, the maps
were hand-drawn and would take hours to duplicate, provided someone
could remember exactly where the route went. Developing the maps in GIS
allows for duplication and redundancy with the mapping, resulting in a
much easier process for printing off new maps as needed.

By using GIS to assist in the development and mapping of the city’s
route information, the Public Works department has improved its winter
operations planning efficiency and developed a more stable operational
resource for the truck operators. For these reasons, the department has
decided to use GIS as its primary medium for maintain this information
moving forward.

GIS supports winter operations

Blog_GIS_supports_winter_operations.jpg

Seasonal operations planning is a process all municipalities, large
and small, must go through as the seasons change throughout the year.
Whether it’s ordering salt for the winter months or flowers for the
spring plantings, all municipalities are involved with planning out the
process by which seasonal services will be executed. For the City of Des
Plaines Public Works department, snow removal and street salting have
always been two of the primary services included in the winter operation
plans. In past years, the various plow and salting routes have,
primarily, been determined by the individual truck operators and had
little coordination across the department from route to route. To help
better coordinate this effort, and to avoid routes overlapping, the
department asked the city’s GIS department to assist in creating a
series of city-wide maps showing the various routes to help make the
overall snow plowing process more efficient.

The Public Works department had two primary goals for developing the
city’s snow plow and salting routes in GIS for mapping: 1. To help
clearly define each route for the truck operators to avoid route
conflicts and to ensure maximum coverage across the city and 2. To get a
spatial record of the route areas to allow for an easier transfer of
information for substitute or new operators. Before the GIS department
was involved in this process, the areas covered by each route were
developed by the primary truck operators and were not coordinated by the
department administration. Developing a spatial record of the routes
provides an administrative tool for better route planning and promotes a
more efficient use of the department’s resources.

In addition to providing an administrative advantage for overall
planning, the maps create an operational advantage by providing a
consistent tool for any truck operator who is not familiar with his
assigned route. In addition to city-wide maps used in the office,
individual route map books have been provided in each truck to allow an
operator to see the individual streets they are responsible for. While a
route map did exist for each truck before GIS was involved, the maps
were hand-drawn and would take hours to duplicate, provided someone
could remember exactly where the route went. Developing the maps in GIS
allows for duplication and redundancy with the mapping, resulting in a
much easier process for printing off new maps as needed.

By using GIS to assist in the development and mapping of the city’s
route information, the Public Works department has improved its winter
operations planning efficiency and developed a more stable operational
resource for the truck operators. For these reasons, the department has
decided to use GIS as its primary medium for maintain this information
moving forward.