Today, it seems everyone is talking about “location intelligence”—almost at the risk of it becoming a buzzword. We all experience the uniqueness of location intelligence daily with the explosion of mobile devices and location services, making it possible to constantly know our location relative to a desired destination.
Knowing location has always been important for public asset management. For many years, much of the world relied on the postal address system as the de facto way to identify and find a location. When I first entered the public asset management software world 30 years ago, it was common practice to assign an address to each asset within a community. Utilities and public works organizations needed to know where work was occurring. It seemed assigning an address to each asset, though tedious and with limitations, was the only option.
Early in my career, I came to realize there was another way. Esri’s ArcGIS®, with its inherent location and spatial intelligence, is a superior platform from which to catalog, manage, and visualize public asset data and make decisions. In December 1995, I turned my full time and attention to developing a GIS-centric solution for infrastructure management and community development.
The result was Cityworks, the original and leading GIS-centric public asset management system and a pure-play ArcGIS® solution that fully leverages the power of Esri® GIS.
In the last 23 years, ArcGIS has become the predominant system for public asset data for local government, public works, utilities, authorities, and community development. Cityworks and Esri recognize the importance of user-friendly engagement apps that are mobile, real-time, and easy to use. GIS maps offer a superior platform for interpreting data and supporting location intelligence.
What’s Next in GIS
As Jack Dangermond, president of Esri, explains, “The next leap in GIS technology and computing is connecting to the vast network of devices providing data in real time. The more accessible data is, the more important it will be to understand it. And maps are the visual language for understanding the context of data.”
True transformational public asset management solutions begin when we better understand the complex relationships between public asset data and location. Location intelligence is the key to clearly understanding constituent engagement, asset inventory, work management (reactive and proactive), lifecycles, planning, community development, deeper and better-informed decision making, and much more. We are limited only by how quickly the technologies develop and how well we understand their potential.
In a recent issue of Businessweek, Sam Kim outlines how fifth-generation wireless networks will change our world through increased access to real-time location data. He highlights the importance of emerging 5G networks for providing better real-time access to “roads equipped with cameras and sensors,” to drones with high-quality video, and to improved transportation systems that merge self-driving vehicles with ordinary vehicles. How any one of these solutions will play out in the market is yet to be seen. But, the importance of location intelligence is rapidly expanding as “5G involves connecting everything besides phones, a transformation that could reorder urban life.”
ArcGIS remains the most up-to-date repository of public assets and related data. The GIS-centric platform architecture of Cityworks, combined with Esri’s ArcGIS, provides an excellent foundation for effective location intelligence. Esri has always been the leader at incorporating emerging location intelligence technology into ArcGIS. As Esri continues to inspire the importance of GIS around the world, Cityworks remains the leading web GIS-centric solution for public asset management and community development. Becoming GIS-centric helps an organization move toward a digital transformation of full location awareness and intelligence.
Moving into the future, Cityworks will continue to evangelize the importance of GIS-centric as the leading approach to location intelligence solutions. We will continue to create GIS-centric solutions for public asset management including incorporating ArcGIS web maps, apps, and analytics with single sign-on—providing a better and deeper way to use location intelligence for engaging and serving constituents, managing public assets, and gaining valuable insights for informed decisions. Together, Cityworks and ArcGIS help local government, utilities, and authorities improve the communities they serve.
By Brian Haslam, president and CEO, Cityworks