Benefits of GIS - Integrated Solutions

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                                                                                                                 September 2009

                                                                                                      San Diego's success integrating a
                                                                                                      GIS (geographic information
                                                                                                      system) with SAP in its Street
                                                                                                      Services Division encouraged the
             Elizabeth Mueller, EAM (enterprise asset                                                 city to expand the system to several
             management) program manager, City of San Diego                                           other departments.
           PUBLIC WORKS
           GIS • Mobility

                                                                                      San Diego's success integrating a GIS (geographic information
                                                                                      system) with SAP in its Street Services Division encouraged the
                                                                                      city to expand the system to several other departments.

                            The Exponential Business
                            Benefits Of GIS
                                                                                         by Ken Congdon

                                   an Diego is largely regarded as one of revolves around the city’s integrated GIS and SAP

                            S      America’s finest cities. With its miles of coast- workforce management system.
                                   line, near-perfect weather, and legendary zoo,
                            it’s hard to argue with this distinction. Amidst all INTEGRATE GIS WITH ERP TO ADD
                            these attractions, it’s easy for the effort the city puts CLARITY TO PUBLIC WORKS PROCESSES
                            into repairing and maintaining its streets to go unno- Ten years ago the City of San Diego went through a
                            ticed. However, anyone with experience in public massive reorganization that merged the city’s Urban
                            works understands the coordination, communication, Forestry and Electrical Divisions with the Street
                            and responsiveness required                                                                          Services Division. Each of
                            to run an effective streets                                                                          these divisions tracked their
                            department — and San Diego                        Installation Profile                               work using a different work-
                            does it better than most. So,        Technology User: With a population of approximately 1.34
                                                                                                                                 force management platform,
                            how does San Diego keep its          million, San Diego is the second-largest city in California and and these disparate systems
                            streets so classy? Well, it all      the ninth-largest city in the United States.                    soon caused communication

                                                                    Problem: As a result of a citywide reorganization, the City of
                                                                    San Diego’s street department inherited five disparate workforce
                                                                    management systems. Using these separate platforms resulted in
                                                                    repeat work and increased expenses because project information
                                                                    was not effectively shared among department teams.

                                                                    Solution: The City of San Diego adopted a single workforce
                                                                    management system that integrates SAP with ESRI ArcGIS plat-
                                                                    form. This solution not only provides the street department with
                                                                    a common platform in which to share information, it also pro-
                                                                    vides workers with visual validation of work requests prior to
                                                                    dispatch. This capability reduced instances of wasted trips and
                                                                    repeat work. The initial investment of $1.8 million for this sys-
                                                                                                                                                                 Photos by Eric Laycock

                                                                    tem was recouped in just two years as a result of these cost sav-
                                                                    ings. Because of this initial success, the system has since been
                                                                    extended for use by city constituents, field technicians, and
                                                                    other city departments — each enjoying a distinct set of bene-
                                                                    fits from using the system.

2 SEPTEMBER 2009                                                                                                                                 ISMINFO.COM
Elizabeth Mueller, EAM (enterprise asset man-
agement) program manager for the City of
San Diego, says the city’s integrated GIS and
SAP solution recouped its initial $1.8 million
cost in just two years.

first, second, third, and fourth line of the
photo caption; first, second, third, and fourth
line of the photo caption; first, second
                                                                                                PUBLIC WORKS
                                                                                                                           GIS • Mobility

“We had instances where the street services group would
go out and pave a street, and a week later the electrical group
would dig it up to fix a cable. These types of scenarios resulted
in repeat work and escalating costs.”
                                                                                             Elizabeth Mueller, City of San Diego

and work efficiency problems once the            The City began its search for such a new    handle the millions of records we were
divisions were combined.                       platform by looking for a best-of-breed       going to dump into the system from all the
  “Operating on separate systems caused        solution that could integrate the job-spe-    other division groups. If we went this
all kinds of problems because the left         cific features of many of the workforce       route, I knew we would have to upgrade
hand wasn’t talking with the right,” says      management systems already in use (e.g.       or rebuild the system in four or five years.
Elizabeth Mueller, EAM (enterprise asset       integrate a street paving management          As a result, we selected a less cus-
management) program manager for the            application with a tree trimming manage-      tomized, but more robust and scalable
City of San Diego. “For example, we had        ment application, etc.). Not only was this    platform for our workforce management
instances where the street services group      approach difficult to accommodate from        system.”
would go out and pave a street, and a          an integration perspective, but Mueller         The platform the City of San Diego
week later the electrical group would dig      was also concerned about the scalability      selected was SAP ECC (ERP Central
it up to fix a cable. These types of scenar-   of a platform of this nature over the long    Component) 6.0. While SAP was the ideal
ios resulted in repeat work and escalat-       term.                                         solution for data management, reporting,
ing costs. We needed to transition to a          “Technology evolves at a rapid pace,”       and workflow for the City of San Diego, it
single, unified workforce management           says Mueller. “And, many of the specialty     lacked the graphical, location-based
system so that we had a common platform        industry solutions we were considering        interface the Streets Division depended
in which to share information and thus         for a best-of-breed solution were only able   on to respond to street repair or mainte-
create synergy in the work efforts             to handle a finite number of records effec-   nance requests. To fill this need, the city
between the groups of our division.”           tively. These solutions weren’t built to      integrated its existing ESRI ArcGIS 9.2

                    Build And Deploy Synchronized Mobile GIS Applications
   To extend the power of its integrated GIS (geographic     made by any field staff who are also connected to the
 information system) and SAP work-                                             network. Furthermore, when operating
 force management platform to the                                              in disconnected mode, the application
 field, the City of San Diego imple-                                           caches the information locally on the
 mented ArcGIS Mobile 9.3. ArcGIS is                                           device and updates the database as
 a GIS software platform that enables                                          soon as the device reconnects to the
 organizations to deliver GIS data and                                         network.
 services from centralized servers to a                                          ArcGIS Mobile can integrate with
 range of Windows Mobile devices                                               your existing GIS by consuming maps
 (including smartphones, handheld                                              that are authored in ArcGIS Desktop
 computers, notebook computers, and                                            and published as map resources with
 tablet computers) via wireless net- The City of San Diego runs ESRI ArcGIS ArcGIS Server. Using the ArcGIS
                                           Mobile 9.3 on the Panasonic CF-19
 works. ArcGIS Mobile allows organi- Toughbook computers deployed to its Mobile SDK (software developer kit),
 zations to take GIS to the field where field technicians.                     the solution can also be tailored to
 new data can be collected and updat-                                          work with an organization’s specific
 ed in near real time to reflect real-world conditions.      mobile workflows on any Windows Mobile device sup-
   The applications deployed have the ability to synchro-    porting a Microsoft .NET framework.
 nize directly with ArcGIS Server when connected to a
                                                                              For More Info. On ESRI
 wireless or wired network. This allows both office and
                                                                                Go To
 field personnel to instantly view and work with updates

     ISMINFO.COM                                                                                                                     SEPTEMBER 2009 4
           PUBLIC WORKS
           GIS • Mobility

platform with SAP. The two systems work         Furthermore, callers would often dis-          service to a larger number of people.
together as follows.                            patch us to fix assets outside of the San      Plus, the SAP system would automate
  The ESRI ArcGIS application serves as         Diego city limits. By visually verifying an    much of these
the front end user interface for most of        asset’s location on a map prior to dis-        customer service               To see how a county
                                                                                                                              government is integrating
the work performed by the Street                patch, we have eliminated these costly         efforts.”                      GIS with document
Services Division. For instance, when a         scenarios.”                                      The majority of              imaging software, visit
call comes into the call center to notify                                                      city      officials  

the city about a broken streetlight, a help     EXTEND GIS TO YOUR CUSTOMER BASE               eventually shared
desk employee asks the caller for an            The initial success of the integrated          Mueller’s viewpoint, and the project was
address and pulls up a map in ArcGIS            ArcGIS and SAP solution was well-              given the green light in 2003. The web-
that visually presents all the streetlights     received, but city officials soon searched     facing ArcGIS and SAP platform basical-
at that location. Using this map, the           for ways in which the system could offer       ly gives citizens another medium (other
exact location of the streetlight in ques-      more value to San Diego and its con-           than by telephone) in which to submit
tion can be verified prior to dispatching a     stituents. As a result, an initiative was      repair requests to the city. Constituents
repair technician.                              proposed that would make the platform          can     now      simply     log      on       to
  ArcGIS provides visual information and        available for citizens to use as part of the and click on the
basic data (e.g. ID number) for that   website.                      “Request A Street Repair” tab in the left-
streetlight, but the integration                                                                      hand column of the home page.
with SAP takes the functionality of                                                                   Citizens are then prompted to
the platform a big step further. For                                                                  enter an address for where the
example, selecting the streetlight                                                                    maintenance needs to occur. Once
in question and clicking an “SAP”                                                                     entered, a map highlighting the
button embedded in ArcGIS                                                                             area in question is displayed.
launches an SAP screen that pro-                                                                      Using a drop down menu, citizens
vides all the pertinent data associ-                                                                  can then select the type of mainte-
ated with the streetlight’s ID num-                                                                   nance required (e.g. streetlight
ber (e.g. schematics of all compo-                                                                    repair, pothole, missing traffic
nents associated with that street-                                                                    sign, etc.). The geographic inter-
light, a history of work that has                                                                     face then either presents all the
already been performed on that                                                                        streetlights/traffic signs in that
streetlight, other calls that have                                                                    area or prompts you to select an
been placed regarding that light,                “We realized substantial                             approximate location on a street
etc.). From this screen, the call                                                                     where a pothole is located. Once
center employee can also issue a                 cost savings through our                             the exact streetlight/traffic sign or
work order and assign a technician                                                                    approximate pothole location is
to the job. All job status and com-           integrated SAP and GIS system                           selected, the citizen is prompted to
pletion information is tracked in
SAP as well.
                                                by eliminating false alarms                           provide some basic contact infor-
                                                                                                      mation (e.g. name, email address,
  The initial implementation of the              and wild goose chases.”                              etc.) and submit their request.
integrated ArcGIS and SAP ECC                                                                         Once submitted, SAP automatical-
6.0 system was a $1.8 million                          Elizabeth Mueller, City of San Diego           ly sends the citizen an email to
investment for the City of San                                                                        verify that the request was
Diego. However, Mueller states this                                                                   received. SAP sends another auto-
project paid for itself in just two years.        “A lot of folks internally lobbied against   mated email to the citizen once the job is
“We realized substantial cost savings           extending our integrated ArcGIS and            completed.
through our integrated SAP and GIS sys-         SAP solution to the public,” says Mueller.       “By extending our integrated ArcGIS
tem by eliminating false alarms and wild        “They didn’t think we had the labor to         and SAP system to the public, we’re
goose chases,” she says. “For example,          address thousands of added repair              allowing citizens to enter a lot of the
callers would often provide an inaccurate       requests coming in via the Web. However,       maintenance information our call center
description of the location of an asset in      I felt this logic was a bit warped. For        employees normally would,” says Mueller.
need of repair, and our technicians would       example, just because you have more peo-       “This helps reduce manual labor and
drive around for hours trying to find it.       ple reporting a pothole doesn’t mean you       increases our efficiency. Furthermore,
This unnecessary activity resulted in           have more potholes. You just have the          SAP can track how many people reported
wasted time, productivity, and fuel.            opportunity to provide better customer         the same problem. This data helps us pri-

5 SEPTEMBER 2009                                                                                                                    ISMINFO.COM
         GIS • Mobility

oritize which jobs to complete first. For           uploaded to the SAP back end servers.                         Storm Water, Publishing Services, and
instance, we can choose to fix a pothole              The mobile deployment of ArcGIS and                         Communications Divisions as well.
40 people have complained about before              SAP was completed in April 2009. Jobs                         Finally, the city is currently investigating
addressing a pothole one person com-                are now issued via the Toughbook com-                         ways the ArcGIS and SAP platform can
plained about. This enhanced data com-              puter, and field technicians enter infor-                     be extended to support the City of San
bined with the automated email messages             mation directly into the application                          Diego’s entire Fleet Management
sent from SAP have helped improve con-              rather than recording the information on                      Division. Talk about squeezing the most
stituent satisfaction with our services.”           shop papers. This new process has elimi-                      out of a technology purchase. By leverag-
                                                    nated the need for supervisors to manual-                     ing its SAP and GIS platform throughout
GO MOBILE WITH GIS AND                              ly key the information contained on the                       the enterprise rather than keeping it
RUGGED NOTEBOOK COMPUTERS                                                                                         siloed in a single department, the City of
While the initial ArcGIS and SAP deploy-                                                                          San Diego has maximized the value of
ment helped the Street Services Division                                                                          and return on its investment.              ❏
eliminate wasted trips and repeat work,
the core functionality of the system was
                                                                                                                                                                   Ken Congdon is the
still tied to the office. In other words,
                                                                                                                                                                    editor in chief at
street maintenance personnel received                                                                                                                             Integrated Solutions.
their daily work orders in the office each                                                                                                                        He can be reached at:
morning and tracked job progress on                                                                                                                                  ken.congdon@
paper forms (called shop papers) while in                                                                                                                   
the field. These forms were then returned             The City of San Diego allows citizens to
to the office at the end of the day where             make accurate street service requests
the data was manually keyed into SAP by               via the Internet by extending its GIS
                                                      system to
division supervisors. Not only was this an
inefficient use of labor, it introduced an          paper forms into SAP. It also has elimi-                                                        ESRI
added opportunity for human error into              nated the potential for lost forms,                                                             380 New York Street
the process.                                        miskeyed data, and other points of                                                              Redlands, California
  To combat this issue, the City of San             human error.                                                                                    92373-8100 USA

Diego decided to deploy the integrated                The applications highlighted in this
ArcGIS and SAP platform to wirelessly               article illustrate the extent to which GIS                    Contact ESRI
connected Panasonic Toughbook CF-19                 and ERP technologies have permeated
computers. The Toughbook computers are              several facets of the City of San Diego’s                     1-800-GIS-XPRT (1-800-447-9778)
currently deployed to approximately 30              street services operation. However, these                     Phone: 909-793-2853
field technicians. Furthermore, the                 applications are but a sample of the                          Fax: 909-793-5953
mobile application leverages ArcGIS                 impact the platform has had on the city as          
Mobile 9.3 (see sidebar on page 4) and              a whole. For example, the ArcGIS and                
SAP’s mobile asset management compo-                SAP platform has also been integrated                         Offices worldwide
nent. This component allows field techni-           with GPS (global positioning system)                
cians to continue processing job informa-           technology on the city’s street sweeper
tion even if there’s a loss of wireless con-        vehicles to enhance San Diego’s street
nectivity. The component simply stores              cleaning operations. The platform has                         Copyright © 2009 ESRI. All rights reserved. ESRI, the ESRI globe logo,, and
                                                                                                         are trademarks, registered trademarks, or service marks of ESRI in the United States,
                                                                                                                  the European Community, or certain other jurisdictions. Other companies and products mentioned
this information locally until there is a           also been extended beyond the Street                          herein may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective trademark owners.

return in coverage and the data is                  Services Division to support the city’s                       118411

                                                  Posted with permission from Integrated Solutions. Copyrighted 2009.
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