Maintaining mowing areas in GIS


Planning for seasonal operations is a process all municipalities must
go through as the seasons change throughout the year. For the City of
Des Plaines, IL Public Works department, mowing grass in areas that are
maintained by the city is a primary component of their summer operations
plan. In past years, the mowing schedule for each field crew has been
determined by the crew members themselves, based where they were and the
amount of time it took to mow each area. To help create a more
consistent mowing schedule, and start tracking the daily progress of
each crew, the department asked the city’s Geographic Information
Systems (GIS) department to develop a set of mowing routes based on the
mowing areas the city is responsible for and create a series of route
maps that can be given to each crew for reference.

The Public Works department had two primary goals for developing maps
of their mowing areas: 1. Help create a consistent record of where the
city is responsible for mowing and clearly define each route for the
field crews and 2. Provide a resource for tracking what areas were mowed
in a route on a given day. By creating this information in GIS and
having it available for mapping, the crews can now take maps out into
the field and highlight the areas that were mowed, making it easier to
manage the day to day workload of each crew.

Tracking this information spatially, using a visual reference tool
such as map, makes the transfer of information more accessible and
easier to understand for those involved in the mowing operations. It
also makes tracking the progress of each crew easier for the department
management and provides them with a clearer picture of how efficient
their crews are and if certain areas of the city require additional
crews based on how long it takes to complete each route.