The city of Longview, Texas, is utilizing Cityworks® in the cloud, providing tremendous benefits in managing work performed on critical assets and property, as well as the lifecycle of city assets. The cloud offers multiple benefits and substantial returns including reduced costs, increased scalability and flexibility, quicker response times, and new remote-access and disaster-relief capabilities.
Longview uses Cityworks Server AMS to manage assets within Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and Development Service Departments, and uses Cityworks Server PLL to manage building permits and inspections, planning and zoning cases. The city will soon be incorporating code enforcement into their implementation. In 2012, concerned with an aging server, vulnerable to major power outages and crashes which could cause inaccessibility to Cityworks and Esri ArcGIS that resulted in an onslaught of problems, Longview learned how hosting software applications via the cloud could combat these issues. By September of 2012 Longview was up and running in the cloud. Longview utilizes NTB Associates (NTBA)—a technical services provider and Cityworks partner—to fully manage and host the solution to simplify, organize, and sharpen the work performed in the city.
“Longview has been using cloud technologies for a year and a half now,” says Justin Cure, Information Services Manager at Longview. “We have moved our email to Google Apps, and Cityworks and our web applications are on ArcGIS Server in the cloud.” In this time, Longview has experienced immense benefits utilizing the cloud for a more secure work environment.
Cure adds, “(The cloud) gives more mobility than ever before. We no longer need to access the city network to access our data. We can check email, enter Cityworks work orders, and modify applications from anywhere with an Internet connection.” As a reliable form of technology, the cloud provides a central location for all work management activities. If the server fails, the system automatically switches the information to another server, minimizing downtime. Another benefit of cloud computing is that it gives Longview “the opportunity to increase server performance if needed. For example, if we notice our server used for ArcGIS Server applications is not performing because of increased usage, we can quickly modify specifications and improve its capabilities,” Cure says.
Although NTBA fully manages and supports Longview’s cloud, there’s a small group of users at the City of Longview with cloud access to make customizations to templates and other items. Users can also run changes through a test environment, and, if they like the changes, move them over to the live environment. Longview recently added some additional web-based applications to the cloud, making their entire organization a cloud-hosted site.
“Longview has been very pleased with using the cloud to host Cityworks and their GIS-centric solutions,” states Laura Carr, associate and GIS project manager at NTBA. “Aside from all the saved resources it has provided, the cloud has given Longview a dual environment to use as a training site and a live site, where they can test adding new GIS layers or changing the database. Immediately putting the cloud into production reduces time for fixes, lowers maintenance, and lessens environment changes. We manage the setup, software upgrades, and security, which has provided Longview a great deal of time and resource savings.”
“Many Cityworks agencies are experiencing the benefits of running cloud-hosted environments,” says Brian Haslam, president and CEO of Cityworks—Azteca Systems Inc. “The cloud is about easily leveraging and connecting data sources to improve efficiency and decision-making. The virtues of GIS-centric public asset management are magnified by the cloud.”
Longview received the distinguished Cityworks Exemplary User Award at the 2013 Cityworks User Conference. Moving forward, the city strives to continually improve its efforts, addressing the critical needs of its aging infrastructure and more than 80,000 citizens.