Like a small city unto itself, an airport manages much of the same infrastructure.  Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (MKE) maintains utilities, pavement, lights, signs, leased properties, and so on. MKE also manages a host of airport-specific features, such as navigational aids, security systems, alerts, weather feeds, airline information, and others.

In December of 2011, after an 18-month implementation assisted by AECOM (, a global provider of technical and management support services, MKE went live with Cityworks.  Cityworks is used for common assets and work management, as well as many airport-specific workflows, including Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-mandated inspections and the Airport LOGBOOK—the daily “life” of the airport.  MKE employs Cityworks to fulfill these, as well as a variety of other requirements in its GIS Master Plan.

Cityworks Usage: Airfield, Terminals, Buildings, Maintenance, and More

Cityworks is used to manage hundreds of assets and an array of maintenance procedures throughout the airport. The airport has compiled a comprehensive GIS database that includes general and airfield-specific lights, signs, pavement, buildings, fences, gates, navigational features, security items, and other assets—all managed with Cityworks.

Airport Operations care for both airfield and public spaces, including the actual terminal buildings. A significant part of the GIS models the insides of buildings with extensive floor plans and room-related assets.  These features are all accessible with Cityworks, including many data layers that are linked to the airport’s property management software.  Though the attributes associated with these features are very detailed, the airport continues to add more refined details within interior spaces, such as lights, electrical outlets, carpet, wall coverings, and others.

Cityworks is used inside the buildings by shop supervisors (maintenance, electrical, HVAC-plumbing, custodians) to manage equipment, materials, and labor statistics. Security and safety personnel use the system to manage specific work orders while the Information Technology (IT) team tracks IT-related service requests and work orders.  Cityworks is also used to track airport-rented space so a user can quickly determine who is renting a space, how to contact them, and how to access the space in an emergency.  The parking management contractor and fire department use Cityworks and the properties department will be implementing soon.

Cityworks has streamlined work.  In the past, work orders would go to the wrong location and there was no way to adjust the recipient.  Work orders then had to be cancelled and re-created; paper copies were routed around the airport, and oftentimes a work order would be closed prior to final inspection.   With Cityworks, the time it takes to complete work orders has been shortened, and routing of work has improved dramatically, with virtually no errors.  The staff is happy to find the right work order at the appropriate maintenance shop.

FAA-Mandated Inspections

Each and every day of the year, airports perform a variety of FAA-mandated inspections.  With the ability to customize Cityworks, MKE has developed very specific work order templates.  Their Master Inspection Plan guides staff through the FAA-required airfield inspections three times a day, as well as whenever an issue may require a runway inspection.  This specific inspection (FAA 14 CFR Part 139) involves the examination of airfield assets, including lights, signs, pavement, navigational aids, security items, and more.  To accommodate multiple assets in an inspection, MKE customized a work order template with multiple tasks to act as an inspection form.  Work orders resulting from this inspection are linked to the inspection as child work orders. This allows users to track work tied to a specific inspection while managing open work orders produced from subsequent inspections.  Cityworks’ flexible search capabilities and unique map interface only makes the process easier.

“Using Cityworks for FAA-mandated inspections allows us to track daily inspections, see what work orders arise with each inspection, and in the end, the status of the airport at any particular moment in time,” said Timothy Pearson, GIS Specialist. “Cityworks makes the management of these inspections much more transparent and effective, enabling us to meet our compliance goals and ensure public safety.”

Logbook: The Life of the Airport

At MKE, two offices oversee daily operations: Airside Operations and Landside Operations.  Each of these uses logbooks to capture a veritable diary or “life” summary.  Everything that occurs on the airfield is entered into the logbook—terminal incidents, weather, staffing, airline issues, and so on.  MKE customized Cityworks service requests to facilitate the capture of events that occur at the airport.  Staff enters these events into custom fields, customized templates, contact information, etc.

“Work orders and LOGBOOK items are now trackable and searchable with Cityworks,” said Pearson.  “Using Cityworks for the LOGBOOK process has eliminated a great deal of paperwork.  Entries contain all the information that would otherwise be recorded on multiple forms and by different offices.  But with Cityworks, all the information is in one place—something I’m sure would make life easier at any airport!”

Specific LOGBOOK Example:
An example of how Cityworks manages a LOGBOOK incident might be when a person falls in the airport terminal and sustains an injury.  Before Cityworks, an airline employee would call the Operations Control Center (OCC), who would then contact police, EMTs, and Landside Operations.  The Landside Coordinator would respond to the scene, complete a lengthy form detailing the incident, replicate the information in the paper logbook, and make copies of the form to provide the OCC.  The OCC Operator would enter the same information into their logbook and make copies for the Security, Safety, and Properties offices.  The Property Manager would then enter the information into a database, make copies and forward those copies to Risk Management and the airport insurance provider.

“Two logbooks, multiple copies, an Access database, and so many different people would often distort the quality of the information,” said Pearson. “As you might imagine, questions would arise and miscommunications would occur time and time again.  You see our dilemma.”

With Cityworks, the OCC Coordinator enters incidents directly into the airport’s Cityworks LOGBOOK, which automatically dispatches a Landside Coordinator and alerts police and rescue.  Using a Tablet PC, the Landside Coordinator adds detailed incident information to the same record in the LOGBOOK, including a pinpoint map of where the incident occurred, photos, and witness statements.  With all the information in the LOGBOOK, the Landside Coordinator closes the record, which is then immediately available to Security, Safety, Properties, Risk Management, and insurance providers.
“Cityworks revolutionized our LOGBOOK process,” added Pearson. “Everyone is immediately aware of what occurred and has access to the same information—and more information than we ever had before.  By eliminating paper from the process, no trees are harmed in the handling of our incidents!”

Benefits of Cityworks

“Cityworks has provided us with cleaner, streamlined workflows with regard to work orders,” stated Pearson.  “Through entering our older, open work orders into Cityworks, we had a chance to cleanup our database and gain a better understanding of what is actually open.  Cityworks has provided a much better solution to collection information that wasn’t even considered before, such as labor statistics, materials used, who performed work, who is inspecting, who requested the work, etc.”

MKE now has a way to track events, categorize issues, and easily view the current status of the airport.  Through a series of reports, information is automatically disseminated to departments, airlines, and others.  Cityworks has helped the airport virtually eliminate the trails of paper that once piled up—a considerable savings in resources and time.
“With Cityworks’ report engine, we can now distribute information quickly, concisely, and to the people that really need it,” said Pearson.  “All in all, we have developed a much better way of communicating everything from outages to day-to-day issues.  We have streamlined our work processes, simplified user tasks, and created a better working environment.  From a data management perspective, we can now make changes to one map service that is immediately available to all of our users in both Cityworks and our GIS systems.  This eliminates the necessity to constantly update maps for multiple departments every time there is a even the slightest change—a huge savings!”
“Cityworks has also helped the airport better justify staffing needs,” said Mark Loach, Project Manager AECOM. “With a firm handle on labor and work statistics, the airport has a much more accurate picture of the time, effort, and efficiency of their maintenance efforts.”

Airport-specific Customizations

Cityworks’ flexibility has proven invaluable to MKE.  Airport specific requirements demanded unique customizations to Cityworks’ service request and work order forms. The out-of-the-box user interface was customized using XML to add an airport specific panel to the service request form while non-applicable fields were removed.  MKE tapped into Cityworks’ universal custom fields and the custom field templates to ensure the collection of key information.  The airport also leveraged the custom map template, print documents, and email templates.

Then and Now

Before Cityworks, MKE struggled with a series of systems ranging from computer applications to an established set of forms.  Their work order system was an admittedly underutilized legacy program that could not be deployed to its full potential.  After many years of struggling with this program, the airport’s Maintenance department embarked on a plan to replace the system.
Recognizing the benefits of GIS, the airport wasted no time in building a solid enterprise system.  A key part of their GIS implementation involved a series of educational interviews to determine where and how GIS would improve their work processes.  All roads led to asset management.
“At a Cityworks presentation, we discovered there were many opportunities to leverage Cityworks for our needs,” said Pearson.  “Most other maintenance systems couldn’t provide us the seamless integration with our well-established GIS.  We wanted an application that would tap into our existing spatial data, would customize to our very specific needs, and maintain significant growth potential.  We found all of this in Cityworks.”
“The inability for management to see a snapshot of the airport status was a real challenge,” said Loach.  “Cityworks changed all that and more—quick, easy, and accurate information is available for the first time to airport officials, airlines, maintenance, and operations.  With public safety high on the minds of management here, Cityworks certainly creates a whole new perspective.”

Looking to the Future

In the future, MKE plans to introduce more work order processes, such as labor entry, statistics, and inventory, and add the ability to track work orders in their eGIS web application. With AECOM, they aim to develop a variety of Crystal-based reports to further assist airport management with the data analysis.  MKE is presently gearing up to introduce Cityworks Server PLL (Permitting, Licensing, Land) to their enterprise system.
“Adding Cityworks PLL, we foresee the replacement and elimination of aging and inefficient applications along with improvements to project management, data sharing, and planning capabilities,” added Pearson. “In a sentence, Cityworks meets the airport’s needs, providing more than what we ever thought was possible.”

About Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport
Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is a county-owned, joint civil/military, public airport located five miles south of the central business district of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is named after United States Army Air Service General Billy Mitchell, who was raised in Milwaukee and is often regarded as the father of the United States Air Force. The primary airport for the greater Milwaukee area, Milwaukee Mitchell International is sometimes described as Chicago’s third airport, as many travelers in northern Illinois regard it as an alternative to Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports.

AECOM has developed multiple enterprise GIS solutions for airports throughout the United States.  Combined with their familiarity with the business of airports, the company was selected to assist MKE with their Cityworks implementation. For more information, visit AECOM at

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