Geographically, Surrey is the largest non-amalgamated city in Canada.  With its fast-growing population of 500,000, it is currently the second largest city in British Columbia and projected to surpass Vancouver’s population by the year 2020.  To manage this growth effectively, Surrey’s Engineering Operations Division (responsible for the maintenance of the water, sewer, drainage, roads, and pump station assets) recognized that efficient data sharing with other City departments must be seen as a critical objective.  In response, they replaced their work order and asset management systems and have since saved time, resources, and improved compliance with legislative maintenance requirements.


Previously, the City had been using a proprietary Computerized Maintenance Management System (CMMS) that did not communicate information effectively with other departments.  For example, staff would track work and service requests based on a municipal address to establish an approximate location of infrastructure-related issues.  This information would then be exported into a table and plotted onto maps on an annual basis.  Due to this slow and inefficient process, newly printed maps were already out-of-date and did not reflect “real-time” information.

Additionally, a number of standalone applications were already in place that had not been integrated.  Asset information was stored using ESRI’s ArcGIS technology and could only be accessed from the office, while field crews relied on printed “book maps” that were updated every one to two years.  Preventative Maintenance (PM) Program work was stored and maintained in Excel spreadsheets while service requests were recorded in an aging custom database application.  As these systems were not integrated, users were required to access multiple applications and datasets in order to compile a complete picture of any situation.

The City of Surrey selected Azteca’s Cityworks, a GIS-based facility/work management solution, as their asset and work management solution.  Cityworks integrates into the existing IT environment and eliminates the need to convert GIS data.  The system also interfaces with existing City applications such as the financial system, human resources application, payroll, taxation, and existing warehouse applications.  By leveraging Cityworks, the City can compile service requests and instantly plot them on maps to analyze patterns.  Work orders also generate a map view to provide asset deficiency information and work history quickly and in multiple scenarios, including program work effectiveness.  This centralized system enables better management of Surrey’s engineering infrastructure, providing the City with tools to create and track maintenance-related activities, analyze asset data in greater detail, (e.g., by material or make for comparison with other assets), track work history against individual assets, and provide in-depth analysis of asset costs for replacement considerations.

“The positive results from Cityworks include a significant savings in resource time and a much faster turn-around for service-related issues,” said Rob Costanzo, Deputy Manager, Operations, City of Surrey.

Through access to more accurate asset-associated costs and maintenance information, Cityworks places Surrey in a strong position to comply with PSAB (Public Sector Accounting Board) Tangible Capital Asset (TCA) reporting requirements.  Surrey is also able to meet additional legislative requirements such as the BC Waste Management Act that requires municipalities to report on sanitary sewer condition assessment, work accomplishments, and various financial analyses.  A spatial approach to asset management provides the employees with a simplified user interface for work order creation and work history access.  Users can now easily access work orders, create maps, perform asset analysis, and check the status of any work order or service request.  Information is delivered on a timely basis without delays, as data no longer needs to be manually extracted and shipped off to another department for map plotting.  This has vastly improved workflow efficiency, communication between departments, and customer service.

Cityworks supports asset management utilizing an integrated IT infrastructure plan. The single platform approach provides immediate access to accurate data, including historical information about an asset, to ensure compliance with increasingly stringent legislative requirements.  All of the tools needed to manage the City’s growing infrastructure are accessible at the touch of a button, saving the City time and money.  The solution also provides an important link between the City’s Engineering Department and the internal departments it assists, including Sanitary Sewer Operations, Water Operations, and Roads Operations.

About ESRI Canada
Founded in 1984, ESRI Canada provides enterprise GIS solutions that empower businesses, governments, and educational institutions to make timely, informed, and mission critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.  The company distributes the world’s leading GIS software from Esri, Telvent Miner & Miner, Azteca Systems, and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada.   Information about ESRI Canada can be found at

Note:  As many of you know, Esri changed its name and logo in July of this year.  ESRI Canada has decided to make the formal switch to the new Esri name and logo in January 2012.

By Karen Stewart, Industry Manager, Public Works, Business Development, ESRI Canada

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