LiDAR and Survey
In 2006, Monroe County flew a LiDAR elevation model for various utility or transportation improvement projects. Until a few years ago, most of this data was only available to the GIS group. The problem is, while ArcGIS can handle the size of the data, most of our consultants could not, so we came up with a workflow to help them use the data. This workflow was created to use the full five foot per pixel LiDAR elevation model and the guidelines that the different survey consultants required. The workflow was then turned into a toolbox with different geoproccessing tools. Now a base study, which used to take days or weeks, now takes under an hour, and at a sizable cost savings. This allows the survey teams to focus on trouble areas inherent in the LiDAR, such as tree cover, or at the bottom of stream channels.
Hazus-MH is a great tool provided by FEMA for modeling a few major types of disasters including flooding, hurricane winds, and earthquakes. In Monroe County, the emergency that we have the most concern about is flooding. Hazus-MH uses a HecRAS analysis as its backbone and can use any existing HecRAS model. The Hazus-MH software not only takes into account the terrain of the region but also the impact the event has on community and critical infrastructure.
In Monroe County, our emergency modeling program is just starting. We have taken the Hazus-MH software and combined the data with our own LiDAR data, which was collected in 2006. There were many hurdles to get this data to work but in the end, it was very accurate but time consuming to work with. Between the two main datasets, we are creating extensive preplans for each of our major water bodies based on various discharge rates. These discharge rates were chosen based on previous flood event levels. Then these areas were then used to analyze the impact to the population and emergency services.
Land Cover Modeling
During the Storm water coalition’s 2008 summer work, a data gap was found, there was no real estimate for the total percentage of the County that was impervious. Using some intern time we were able to create a Land Cover model using IDRISI and the 2005 New York State Ortho Imagery. This project only looked at areas within the color portion of the NYS Ortho database but from that we had 12% of impervious surface. In 2009 New York State flew the Ortho Imagery again and this time it included the entire County with four-band (red, green, blue, and near infrared) imagery. This model is in the early stages and percentages have not been calculated yet.
Asset Management Improvement Though GIS & Hansen
Environmental Services is currently into its eighth year of utilizing GIS and Hansen technologies to manage various assets throughout the County. In 2001/2002, DES staff used GPS receivers to collect approximately 60,000 sewer assets within the City of Rochester and the Gates, Chili, Ogden Sewer Districts. While locating sewers, we also mapped our fiber optic conduit that had been put in the ground during the previous ten years. With fiber going in the ground on a regular basis, we decided to purchase an extension for ArcMap (called OSPInsight) to help manage our fiber cables down to the strand level. As recently as 2006, we've been working with Monroe County DOT to map all of the County-owned street lights, power points and pull boxes. Once everything was mapped, we were able to take that data and populate a work order management system which we know as Hansen. It was a long road to get where we are today, but we are taking advantage of several benefits by using these systems.
One of the obvious benefits of having our assets mapped in GIS is the reduction of "paper clutter". Crews no longer have to carry along the rolled up Mile Square maps that got wet when it rained or crumpled up when put behind the seat. Instead, most vehicles are now equipped with rugged laptops that can be updated on a regular basis. Also, by combining GIS basemap data with aerial photography, the field technician will have a good sense of where he/she is when in the field looking for these assets. The most important benefit from this conversion is the fact that our data helps the field crews and dispatchers communicate more efficiently. Each asset in GIS is linked to Hansen by a unique ID number which can eliminate confusion when discussions take place over the radio.
The Hansen software is a work order management system that tracks the maintenance and history of an asset. For example, if a particular catch basin requires maintenance, a service request is generated, followed by a work order. Once the maintenance has been completed, the work order is closed, and the information is stored in history.
Two tools that we utilize to query and maintain the data are called GeoAssistant and GeoAdministrator, which are extensions to ArcMap. The GeoAssistant toolbar allows dispatchers and office personnel to selet an asset in ArcMap and automatically display it in Hansen. GeoAssistant will also allow us to query an asset in Hansen and automatically display it in ArcMap. GeoAdministrator is a tool that we use to maintain sewer data. This tool allows us to synchronize the attributed fields between two databases as well as add new assets to the system. Although sewer assets have been used as an example, these tools are also being utilized for fiber and street lights as well.
The migration from paper to digital was certainly a challenge. However, it was a challenge that was conquered internally by DES employees. After four years, this process is still ongoing, as we are continuously trying to find ways to enhance the system and make it run more efficiently.
Mapping Sewer Discharges
The Monroe County Stormwater Coalition was formed by municipalities and concerned organizations to collaboratively meet the EPA Stormwater Phase II regulations. Each Municipal Seperate Storm Sewer System (MS4) must have all outfalls mapped and inspected by January of 2008 to comply with EPA regulations. The GIS Services division is assisting each MS4 with this task.
This effort involved mapping outfalls, manholes, and catch basins with a GPS; scanning and inventorying record drawings; and creating storm and sanitary sewer maps based on these records. Additionally, each outfall is inspected and photographed. This inspection will help MS4s determine which storm sewers need further investigation to pinpoint cross connections or other sources of illicit discharges. Photographs can be linked to each outfall on a GIS map, making it easier to find in the field.
So far, over 1,800 outfalls have been mapped, along with 4,500 more sewer features. Over 3,000 record drawings have been scanned, many of which have been geo-referenced and used to create GIS sewer layers. Of the 27 MS4s Stormwater Coalition members, 15 now have all of their outfalls mapped, with five more partially complete.
Many thanks go to Andy Sansone for his help with illicit discharge inspections. When all outfalls are mapped, MS4s can more effectively and independently identify and correct sanitary cross connections.
Web Based GIS
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool used for mapping. A GIS helps us to understand geography and our relationship to the things around us, and it facilitates informed decision making.
Our recent effort to redesign Monroe County's website has created new opportunities to put GIS technology directly in the hands of the public we serve. The first project came about in response to the County Executive's desire to help local business owners and residents comply with provisions of New York State's Pesticide Neighbor Notification Law. The law requires that commercial applications provide 48-hour written notice to abutting properties prior to the application of pesticides. To assist with this notification, Monroe County has developed a web-based computer program that will determine the mailing address of neighbors whose properties abut the customer of a commercial applicator.
Access to the program is provided free of charge. The program uses the County's GIS technology to locate neighboring properties, both next door to and in back of a customer's property, and provides mailing addresses of the property owners. Applicators have the option of downloading this data to a program of their own, or printing address labels directly from the web sites.
Another great example of GIS on the web is also directly linked to Monroe County's website redesign. This project is a component of the new Real Property Portal. In total, the new Portal offers five areas of functionality:
- Pay/View Your Taxes Online
- See a Detailed Property Report
- Compare Assessment Data with Similar Monroe County Properties
- Compare Sales with Similar Monroe County Properties
- View Property on a GIS Map
The GIS Property Viewer application allows users to enter any Monroe County parcel address and return a birds-eye view of the property. Featured layers include parcel boundaries, town boundaries, school district boundaries, roads, water features and full color aerial photography. The map is fully integrated with Real Property's Assessment Database. Additional tools allow users to Pan, Zoom, Measure and Identify any map feature.
Mapping Monroe County's Fiber Optic Network with ARC/FM FIBER MANAGER
Monroe County has spent several years creating an extensive Fiber Optic network system with the intention of connecting local governments to the county's main network backbone. The goal is to unify all municipalities, and provide access to the county's information and services. Part of this process involves the mapping and documentation of existing and future expansion of the Fiber Optic network throughout the county. The GIS Services Division has incorporated the use of an ESRI based product (ARC/FM FIBER MANAGER) to assist in the mapping and documentation of the county's Fiber Optic network. This mapping system allows the sharing of the county's Fiber Optic data in a commonly used ESRI ARCMAP format. This enable's the integration and retrieval from a relational database with the ability to do a wide array of functions that can be customized to fit each users individual needs.
Project Purpose and Goals:
- Conversion of the pre-existing hard copy documentation of our fiber optic network into an interactive multi-user database.
- Creation of a GIS format graphical representation of our fiber optic network, showing fiber optic cable spans, fusion splice locations, termination cabinet patch panel locations, fiber duct banks and access points, attached equipment, etc.
Benefits of ARC/FM FIBER MANAGER:
- Ability to do time saving fiber network traces, fiber data reporting (trace reports, fusion splice schematics, termination patch panel schematics, etc.) interrelationship data between fiber network components, etc.
- Ability to trouble shoot fiber network faults using distance input from an OTDR reading to pinpoint fault location.
- Ability to assist in the planning of future fiber cable installations, route planning of new fiber connections, etc.
- Ability to breakdown the allocated and unallocated fibers, priority of fibers, cumulative lengths by capacity, etc.
- Ability to customize and configure reporting parameters to fit a wide array of reports per individual requests.
Dig Safely NY
Dig Safely is a state-wide program to promote the principles of safe construction and maintenance of property and utilities. It's always a good idea to obtain the necessary information before beginning a project.
The Program Focuses on These Key Areas:
- Call Before You Dig
- Wait The Required Time
- Confirm Utility Response
- Respect The Marks
- Dig With Care
Apartment Complex Addressing
The Master Address Database contains 207,000 single family residential units and over 108,000 apartment addresses. In addition to a database, all addresses are geographically plotted and associated with their real property parcel, the city or town that they are located within and the apartment complex name.
Digitizing Sewer Connection Permits
The Digitizing of Sewer Connection Permits is the scanning and logging of the permits which document the locations of Lateral Sewer Connections, and Sewer Cleanout connections. Anytime construction occurs in which someone needs to tap into a main sewer or install a new lateral connection, an inspection permit must be filed. A cleanout will be installed at the edge of the property, and Monroe County will be responsible for maintaining the connection between the main sewer and the cleanout. Anything between the cleanout and the new lateral connection must be maintained by the homeowner.
Each permit contains a number of pieces of information. All relevant connection and pipe locations are recorded, as well as the materials used, the name of the plumber doing the installation, and the date the work was done. Monroe County hired an outside company, Biel's, to do the scanning of the old hard copy permits. To date, approximately 30,000 permits have been scanned, for a total of over 45,000 images. The whole process took about a month to complete.
After receiving the digital images, Monroe County was able to store all the necessary information in a Microsoft Access database, on the County's Local Intranet. Permits can now be found through street name lists, or by permit identification number. Each permit entry has a Description and/or corresponding Image. The whole process took about a month to complete, and now makes our field workers' jobs easier and more efficient. Field workers can now save time by merely looking up a permit on their vehicle laptops, as opposed to relying on the Records Department to find it for them.