The Minnesota Local Road Research Board recently funded a project to survey and analyze the use of Geographic Information System (GIS)-based asset management tools for city and county public works departments.
Asset management is critical for local and state government to not only track assets but also plan for maintenance of assets that will provide the greatest return on investment for the agency. Inventorying of infrastructure assets, such as signs, culverts, roads and bridges, and tracking their location, age and condition allows agencies to predict when maintenance or replacement is necessary and allows them to plan ahead and rather than waiting for asset failure. The use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications, tools and geospatial data in asset management can provide agencies with an accurate inventory of assets, cost-effective mobile tracking, and reporting tools to justify asset expenditures.
However, GIS use for asset management is varied among local agencies within the state of Minnesota. Tools and usage depends on agency size, urban/rural location, and access to accurate and up-to-date geospatial data, making it difficult for agencies looking to integrate asset management and GIS to understand the best data processes, applications, and tools to use. This research project will survey and analyze GIS tools and applications for existing and new technology, present local agency case studies, and make recommendations for data best practices, and cost-effective mobile technology use.
This project, sponsored by the Local Road Research Board, will have several benefits to Minnesotans, including streamlined processes, cost-savings, and increased transparency. Local agencies will use best management practices (BMPs) and case studies to improve operations management systems and use mobile devices to track assets, identify maintenance concerns, and record work orders from the field into the database, thereby increasing efficiency and reducing costs. Leveraging the knowledge and experience of existing users and communicating the results to all the city and county engineers will expedite successful implementation, and increase efficiencies in day-to-day usage. This technology will also increase transparency by helping local agencies manage their data in a streamlined and accessible manner that can be shared.
Researchers from Pro-West & Associates will survey staff from local agencies in Minnesota regarding asset management strategies and share results and case studies, demonstrate mobile technology, and document their findings and recommendations. The focus will be on exploring integration of GIS tools and asset management systems, and helping local agencies implement best practices.
Utilizing GIS for asset management is expected to extend service life and improve maintenance and replacement planning for vital assets, while streamlining processes, reducing costs, and increasing transparency.