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Developing GIS Tools to Meet the Needs of Spatially Distributed Assets – Integrating Field GPS measurements, Photos, Inspections and Risk Analysis for Waterways Asset Management using ArcPAD, ArcMAP, Geodatabase and Maximo 7.1

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One of the difficulties in waterways and watershed asset management is the geographic distribution of assets. Such assets include reaches of creeks, both natural and constructed; storm drains, levees and pipelines that are linear in nature (though not necessarily straight lines in the case of creeks); and fixtures that are at specific locations within a creek (such as outfalls, weirs, grade control structures, flow diversion structures). The condition of the asset can change with respect to time; it can also differ within a reach or a stretch of pipeline.

The two challenges in waterways and watershed asset management are (a) developing an inventory of assets and (b) tracking the condition of assets. The waterway assets and their condition(s) are geographically distributed as point, linear or areal assets. Point assets include fixtures that are at specific locations within a creek (such as outfalls, weirs, grade control structures, flow diversion structures). Linear assets include reaches of creeks (both natural and constructed); storm drains, levees and pipelines (constructed but not necessarily straight lines in the case of creeks). Areal assets or areal conditions of assets include erosion, vegetation, sedimentation, cracking – these are conditions that can be distributed over a geographic area within the boundaries of the asset. The inspection system must track the condition of the asset over time. The changes have to be measured in terms of (a) severity and (b) area affected within the asset. For example, the severity of erosion on a bank or a corrosion on a pipeline can change over time; it can spread over a greater area within the same asset.

A mobile GIS tool was developed to manage such geographically distributed assets and monitor their conditions. The tool has a spatially enabled data collection and management system. It integrates photos and GPS locations with customized forms to inventory each type of asset and to inspect each type of condition observed on each type of asset. This enables development of the inventory of assets for the asset register and improves the inspection for risk management. The asset data is stored in a Maximo 7.1 system that was upgraded to store data on asset condition and business risk, and the management strategies for each asset.
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Keywords: Asset; GIS; Maximo; business risk; handheld; management; spatial; watersheds; waterways

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2010-01-01

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