DOTD Recognized for Exceptional Use of Geospatial Technology
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development was recognized today with The “Special Achievement in GIS Award” for its robust use of Geographic Information Systems technology. The award, presented at the Esri International User Conference, in San Diego, California, acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work, and innovative use of GIS. GIS is the technology used to create and use digital maps.
In 2010, DOTD was given the statutory duty to develop and maintain Louisiana’s digital geospatial database. In this time, DOTD has expanded the use of GIS across the organization and made it available to the public.“I’m proud to be able to accept this award on behalf of DOTD,” said DOTD IT GIS Manager James E. Mitchell, Ph. D. “Everything we do has a geographic location. I look forward to continuing to identify innovative ways DOTD can use GIS technology for the benefit of DOTD staff and Louisiana’s citizens.”
DOTD has implemented a GIS approach, known as “Enterprise GIS,” that delivers geospatial resources across the organization and beyond. It utilizes the ArcGIS® software suite that provides simple, easy-to-use web maps and it’s an essential element of doing business at DOTD. With over 200 DOTD ArcGIS® users, it provides essential geospatial data analysis and mapping used every day. ArcGIS® also played a critical role in emergency operations during five major hurricanes.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, DOTD used GIS technology to create the state’s emergency evacuation plan. All of the Emergency Evacuation Route maps were produced using GIS. It helped to successfully evacuate 1.4 million people from south Louisiana for Hurricane Katrina and was used in conjunction with DOTD’s emergency preparation and recovery activities.
It was also used to create maps of priority winter weather routes during the 2014 winter storms, and to calculate the amount of de-icing materials necessary to keep the major east-west and north-south routes clear and open.
In one instance, GIS saved DOTD at least $500 thousand, by providing information necessary to comply with United States Environmental Protection Agency regulations for stormwater pollution. Requirements for a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit include mapping the locations of drains and identifying the receiving waters that they drain into. GIS made a quick, cost-effective way to gather, analyze, and present the necessary information.
The key to DOTD’s success was based on putting GIS technology in the hands of staff, providing the training to use it, and offering IT support to make it happen. GIS users are present in almost every business unit in DOTD. GIS technology, training, and support are available to anyone who wants to use it. Because of this Enterprise GIS approach, business requirements are met by professionals performing their work. The “business problem” solved by Enterprise GIS is getting users to take advantage of geospatial data and technology to perform their work and not expect “GIS people” to do it for them.