Like most organizations, the City of Woodland manages limited IT/GIS resources. Since the Anywhere/Desktop days, IT and Public Works staff have embraced Cityworks as a way to free up the limited IT/GIS resources by allowing users to take ownership of the data and assets. Using Esri ArcGIS and Cityworks tools, users were empowered to update attributes, easily add/edit assets with a simple redline workflow, and manage their activities. This same level of empowerment and ownership of the GIS data needed to be maintained when Woodland transitioned to Office for AMS, and the platform approach embraced by Cityworks made it possible. To that end, IT and GIS staff collaborated to develop new custom tools and map plug-ins, as well as extend the existing tools available in Office for AMS These tools included an Edit Pencil tool, a measure tool, a LatLong tool, an enhanced search, a custom email tool, and a print tool. The time saved by empowering their end users also enabled the IT and GIS teams to improve upon the existing water shutoff and preventive maintenance processes.
Scott Grasso, an application analyst in the Information Technology Department, said, “Many of our users are editing asset attributes on a daily basis, or even hourly in some cases.” Prior to Office for AMS, they had to use the native tools in ArcView to perform their edits and measurements. Understanding Office for AMS wasn’t designed the same way ArcView was, Grasso set out to build what he called the Edit Pencil. The Edit Pencil is a map plug-in that was built with the efficiency of the Cityworks Anywhere ArcView attribute editing experience in mind.
Grasso said that customization ideas like the Edit Pencil tool come to his attention in different ways. For instance, a user may specifically ask for a customization during one of their monthly Cityworks meetings or a support call. Users also ask for customizations indirectly, through actions or lack of action. For example, while observing end users during their normal routine, Grasso noticed some users were overwhelmed by the new work order search page. The solution was to customize the page to look like the Standalone/Anywhere search screen they were accustomed to using.
The customizations for Woodland users didn’t stop there. On the last Tuesday of each month, the Public Works Department is responsible for performing water shutoffs. For field staff to successfully complete their work, first a list of accounts needs to be generated, a work route plotted, and a service request created and assigned. This complex, time-consuming process required a lot of back-and-forth communication between the Public Works and Finance Departments. By leveraging PHP, Esri tools, and the Cityworks web service APIs, Grasso and the IT/GIS team were able to automate much of the old process. New Crystal Reports were designed to generate the list of accounts, Esri’s geoprocessing tools were leveraged to geocode and route each account, and a custom webpage was developed to handle the creation and dispatching of the service requests. Grasso said, “This used to be a long, stressful day for Public Works, and now they consider it [to be] just like any other day.”
Next the team decided to focus on the existing preventive maintenance program. The solution they came up with leverages the Cityworks web service APIs, PHP, Cityworks tasks, and a new object table in the GIS. They call it CoWPIE, the City of Woodland Preventative Infrastructure Evaluator. With CoWPIE, Cityworks tasks are used to track preventive maintenance activities. A dashboard has been added to the inbox so users can track the status of their tasks. Users can also easily view preventative maintenance information on any asset selected in the map.
The City of Woodland has a lot more in store for 2016 and beyond. Their immediate plan is to expand on the functionality of CoWPIE. Also on their radar are a handful of customizations to Cityworks PLL, which the City uses for code enforcement. With this in mind Cityworks clients should keep a close eye on the Cityworks forums!
By Scott Grasso, Application Analyst, City of Woodland, CA