The City of Lake Forest, IL has recently eliminated the need and cost of having ArcGIS software on each of their utility locate field laptops. Now using an online application called MapOffice™ Web-Access (MOWA), Public Works staff now has the ability to perform their required tasks without the need to carry additional software costs. Previously the four utility laptops were equipped with desktop GIS software that required an annual maintenance fee. This software was not designed as a basic map viewing environment, which resulted in a challenging user experience for the Public Works staff as they would periodically need the guidance of GIS personnel in order to accomplish basic tasks. The laptops would also have to be decommissioned quarterly to perform data updates, which resulted in a brief stoppage of work.
The first step in migrating from the desktop software environment was to have the City of Lake Forest’s IT department work with GIS staff to implement MapOffice™ Web-Access within the city to allow it to be accessed from any city workstation or laptop. Once MOWA is accessed, a login will be prompted to ensure data security. Due to the internet accessibility on the utility locate laptops, MOWA could now be utilized in the field as a substitute for the existing GIS desktop software. To make it easy for the Public Works staff to access and use MOWA, a shortcut link was placed on each of the laptop desktops and an initial training session was held for Public Works staff to provide them an opportunity to learn and ask question about the application.
The implementation of MapOffice™ Web-Access has greatly reduced the city’s GIS licensing costs and provided a more efficient method for Public Work staff to accomplish their utility locate duties. City staff also has an intuitive application that no longer requires a heavy learning investment and the laptops no longer need quarterly updates because the data is updated via the internet without interrupting use.