Intelligent Utility System Asset Labeling

In the field, Public Works staff benefit from being able to locate utilities quickly and efficiently. Arbitrary utility asset labels on map, such as sequential east-to-west methods, may work well on paper, but are ineffective when it comes to identifying the actual location of a utility element in the field, such as a manhole or catch basin.  Leveraging the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS), the Village of Morton Grove, IL began labeling manholes on their utility system maps based on type, address range, and distance from major roads. Unlike traditional labeling methods, GIS can create a labeling system that delivers accurate location information within the asset ID itself that makes sense to those using those IDs in the field.

An example of this type of label is S8860-46-204.  Using this number, the user immediately understands that S stands for Sewer, 88 and 60 are the 8800 and 6600 address blocks for the surrounding streets, and 46-204 indicates that the manhole cover is located 46 feet from one street, and 204 feet from another.  This formula may be refined or altered to suit the needs of specific departments and may apply to most single location assets.  

Even without the complexity of the distance measures, this method is an excellent way to generate procedural numbers throughout a village or segmented by a grid.  Not only does this method eliminate the need to manually number each asset, it also means that new additions to the network can be added seamlessly.   Beyond utilities, this methodology can be useful for other village inventories with numerous features such as trees, street lights, fire hydrants and much more