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City Views

City Views presents commentary from staff on the latest projects, initiatives, and successes.

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Jan 16

“One Stop Mapping” through the iPad

Posted on January 16, 2015 at 1:20 PM by OCOM Specialist

By Matthew Viverito, GIS Analyst

The City of Falls Church Department of Public Works (DPW) is using a mobile web mapping application and an iPad to help staff identify and collect stormwater and sanitary assets from the field.  Working with an iPad, staff now has access to the City’s Geographic Information System (GIS).

In the past, staff would carry multiple paper maps and plans into the field. However, sometimes maps were ineligible due to weather or age. Now though, staff can connect to a mobile network through an iPad and view the detailed information about stormwater and sanitary system structures. Using the iPad allows staff to instantly access the most up-to-date GIS data layers that the City maintains.

This includes the ability to view complementary GIS data layers, such as parcels, buildings, and easements of the City. Viewing the different GIS data layers against the sewer system data allows staff to make better decisions of where assets are located in relation to each other.  Additionally, the web mapping application includes base maps similar to what you find in Google Maps, such as, aerial imagery, streets maps, and topographic maps. In the GIS world we call this “one stop mapping”.

Finally, staff can collect or modify the GIS directly from the web mapping application. For example, staff can identify and collect “defect” information and add it to GIS data layers and map. For spatial accuracy, the location of the “defect” can be added by using the iPads' GPS. Other information such as a photo or repair notes can be added to the map to better describe the specifics of the "defect".  Staff can then send out information directly to the operations crew to the newly mapped "defect" location for repairs.

Learn more about DPW’s GIS program.