Out with the old, and in with the new, is the message Village Engineer Norm Etling touted at Monday’s Committee at Large meeting in Shiloh concerning the importance of integrating a geographical information system (GIS) with village department data.
“It’s just a more sophisticated than an old man,” Etling said..
Village Administrator John Marquart made the recommendation to allow Mayor Jim Vernier and the board to allow the village to enter into a “great relationship of innovative technolgy,” with Thouvenot, Wade & Moerchen Inc. engineering group.
“We have the money in the budget to cover the first year cost, and this will be a five-year contract that will give us a better idea of when and how we pave our streets, and what I like about it is being able to say we want to allocate $300,000 a year or whatever amount it may happen to be, and we can apply it more efficiently towards the end goal, which will also take the subjectivity of village staff (members) out of it,” Marquart said.
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Trustee Colleen Powers rhetorically asked Marquart, “so it takes the guessing out of it?”
“Yes, this will put the process of evaluation in a more objective platform,” Marquart replied. “From our standpoint, it’s a good way to analyze our pavement, plan for the future, be consistent in what it is that we budget for and that we will know every year what we need done and when it’s going to be completed.”
She then said, “I think this is good.”
After the old project that was put on the back burner, the village decided to revisit the project endeavor, and voted unanimously to invest $187 K for GIS database creation and hosting over the couse of a five year contract. The amount paid annually is in the ballpark of $37,000.
After spending more than 18 months in 2007 through 2010, and $17,500 paid to Mascoutah based Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development, the village discontinued efforts — until now.
TWM project engineer Karzan Bahaaldin presented his pavement management and GIS database plans to the board Monday night, along with Marsha Strom who has worked on a number of projects with the village.
“An element in the fiscal year 2016-2017 budget, is the effort to finally consolidate and complete the village’s GIS data. (Previously) the data has been hosted in several different locations and in different data forms,” Marquart said. “The objective is to bring it all together, finish the project and give the village a GIS data base that can actually be used by staff (now and in the future).”
Village Director of Public Works Megan Fuhler, who was a recent addition to the village staff this year, has been working on this matter and has significant experience in this area, Marquart said.
“This system will not only help the department staff to keep track of where things are, but also will allow us to longterm plan in terms of pavement management. But also we can not only figure out which streets need resurfacing based on several factors the program considers like weather, age and subgrade material, but also will encourage us to be more proactive in adding extra life to pavement in the village,” Fuhler said.
“It allows you to get more bang for your buck essentially,” Fuhler added.
Bahaaldin said during his presentation that the village has about 90 to 100 miles of paved roadways.
“Quite frankly, with the way we do things now, you’re always behind the ball on repairs and maintenance, and are always spending more money than necessary because we shouldn’t wait until the road needs repairs, we should be more proactive, and in the long term it will be better for the roads and the residents,” Marquart said.
Treasurer Bill Boker reitterated the point that this system is a more reasonable approach because it’s not just one person picking which streets we work on — residents may appreciate the scientific and objective evaluative process.
“Since I’ve been here (2013) we’ve spent at least $300,000 on a combination of asphalt and concrete work,” Marquart said.
Vernier said the work done at Hunter’s Crossing subdivision and Country Road amounts to about $1 million spent in the last six years.
“Hunter’s Crossing subdivision is one that was annexed into the village, and is an example or poor subgrade materials and wasn’t done by village staff,” Vernier said.
Another benefit to this contract to create a GIS system, Fuhler explained to the board is village staff, like inspectors, public works staff, engineers and even police and emergency medical service (EMS) members can all interface with GIS with the use of Apple iPad tablets that will be purchased either by TWM for $1,100 per device, or at a cheaper rate in bulk by the village.
Another annual cost of $7,500 the village will incur for TWM to set up and host the cloud based GIS implementation, and store everything in the internet cloud so the village doesn’t have to purchase more computers, servers or software.
Strom said the cloud based storage is fairly new to TWM, as they only began utilizing and offering it to clients two or three years ago.
“This will all play a huge role for the village to keep our focus on budgeting, capital improvements and future goals,” Fuhler said.
Fuhler gave a hypothetical scenario to the board, “Say in five years time we re-do a subdivisions streets, I could then go into it and add values to the database, and all the data for that project will be in one spot instead of in maps, file cabinets or on my desk on a piece of paper. And the software can be changed to whatever expectations you have, in other words the program will change the parameters everytime to update what has changed.”
In the first year is when all of the extensive mapping latitudes and longitudes, and data points like where properties, lift stations, hydrants, underground piping, inlets, outfalls, junction boxes, paved swales, force mains, air release valves and manholes are located specifically, which Fuhler said will be instumental in project, emergency or analysis situations. Points are GIS maps have layers upon layers of data allowing a person to choose the layers of information to be analyzed for future maintenance or where buildings are relative to inlets