Local Government Solution: Citizen Problem Reporter

How great would it be to have a solution already developed for you and only some configuration is needed to roll it out? Today we look at the “Citizen Problem Reporter” solution developed by Esri to address a reoccurring need in local government.

Every local government has access to real-time, mobile sensors that travel throughout their jurisdiction on a daily basis. You guessed it, their citizens are their sensors! People notice issues left, right, and center. When armed with the right tools, people can be the eyes and ears of the community, giving near-instant notification of any concerns. These may range from dangers such as downed power-lines, or trash that wasn’t collected, or graffiti, or… the list goes on!

To help get the solution jump-started, Esri has developed a set of data and applications that fit together into a government’s ArcGIS online account.

The solution includes an application that a citizen uses to report a problem through a fully mobile-responsive web interface. Great for easy access on the go!

citizen reporter application

Once reported, the citizen problem manager sees all the issues using a separate application. They will route the issue to the appropriate department, add notes, and update the resolution status.

citizen problem manager

Citizens see the status of all issues through their application and know that they are being addressed. People can add notes, “up-vote” an issue, and make it into a social media platform if desired.

citizen problem reporter social

On the manager side, a dashboard keeps track of all issues that have been recently submitted. This helps to spot trends and identify departments that may need extra resources to address the needs.

issue dashboard

A statistical component of the dashboard keeps track of the requests over time and displays the status of all requests.

issue dashboard status

Optionally, a survey can be sent to the citizen who reported the issue to help close the loop and keep them engaged with the process.

reporter survey

Finally, the manager dashboard also keeps track of survey responses. This is helpful to view perceived responsiveness of the department and show where improvement may be needed.

reporter survey dashboard

This local government solution is just one of many that have been pre-assembled and tested by Esri professional staff.

If you’d like help deploying this or other Esri Local Government Solutions, let SymGEO know, as we’re here to help!

 

Croatian Rail Network

SymGEO is pleased to announce the completion of a project with The World Bank Group that enables valuable interactive insight into the rail transportation system in Croatia. This project started with a series of excel files that detailed rail segment speed, passenger numbers, freight volumes, age of track, and other characteristics.

croatia excel file

SymGEO then used a schematic diagram of the network to build and calibrate a spatially accurate network based on OpenStreetMap rail data and linear referencing of station locations.

croatia network diagram

This newly created spatial data was then hosted in ArcGIS Online and used to configure an Operations Dashboard application. This application was specifically designed to filter and query the data interactively on demand and present summary statistics based on complex queries. This combination of attribute queries, summary statistics, and visual representation now enables report graphics and key decision data to be created on-the-fly by the client.

“This is superb and exactly what the client needed and what I was imagining.”

– World Bank client

If you have complex transportation network data that you’d like to leverage with an intuitive, user-friendly, configurable application, then SymGEO would love to hear from you!

Land Area by Zoning

Ever wonder how much land area there is in DC by zoning district or specific zone? Well, wonder no more, as we sliced and diced the data, and created the DC Land Area Explorer by Zoning Type. This application leverages Esri‘s new select by chart category functionality in operations dashboard. Data is kindly provided by our friends at DC Office of Zoning (DCOZ),  the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), and a fabulous basemap by OCTO’s DCGIS team.

Users can select zoning categories or specific zones by clicking on the bars in the charts. This will update the total recorded land area calculation to just the selected zone(s). Alternatively, for really detailed analysis, zooming into the map and using the “select” tool in the map window allows the selection by zoning district, specific zone, or even property boundaries.

Take a look at the DC Land Area Explorer by Zoning Type, and if you have data you’d like sliced, diced, sauteed or… you know who to contact!

Waze Traffic in DC

Waze and Esri recently announced an expanded partnership, giving cities easier access to traffic conditions data and incident reports. Esri also has a traffic layer updated every 5 minutes, with road closure notices and other important information included. By combining these near real-time data sources with the marvels of modern technology, SymGEO is pleased to unveil the DC Traffic Dashboard.

Use the DC Traffic Dashboard to plan your commute, see what’s in store, or enjoy your day of telework that much more! Contact SymGEO for more info or for your own handy-dandy dashboard.

Workflow Automation

I admit, I resisted for years. Workflow automation seemed like too much work to set up, and I always argued that my spatial data challenges were mostly one-off unique situations that weren’t conducive to setting up a workflow. Until one recent day I saw the light… and I blame California.

Perhaps you remember our work to incorporate near real-time remote sensing into crop drought monitoring? Well, it turns out that to keep an application like that up to date, the same process is needed time and again, and so the need for data automation was born into the world of SymGEO. Through automation, data layers and attribute fields are always named the same, and features can be over-written without fear of “something breaking” deep within a configurable application. There is also the added benefit of incorporating the usual workarounds that go into regular behind-the-scenes geospatial work such as calculating areas as acreage, or converting grid values into meaningful text. This saves countless hours of frustration and memory searching down the road when trying to repeat a process.

Needless to say, this does cause a model to expand once all the pieces are bolted on, but Esri’s ModelBuilder allows the easy configuration (and re-configuration) of the model until all works as designed.

workflow automation

This model has been run many times to make sure all products worked as expected, especially during initial configuration. However, the time savings was considerable with workflow automation given the number of steps involved and the dependency on intermediate layers. In hindsight, it seems to be the finding and configuring of the tools that takes time, not the actual running of the tool.

model processing

These work products were used to produce and optimize the Crop Drought Status dashboard, which is now ultra-responsive and designed for use at the county-level.

crop drought status dashboard

If you’d like a second pair of eyes on your data workflow, let us know, as SymGEO is ready to automate with ModelBuilder!

Manage Your Workforce

Do you have a mobile workforce in charge of inspecting, maintaining or interacting with assets? Watering trees, inspecting signs, putting up flyers, or targeted fundraising activities? If so, there is a new technology from Esri called Workforce that has your name all over it.

Beginning with asset data hosted in ArcGIS Online, a series of filters and queries can be used to determine which assets need to be assigned to your workforce. These might be assets over a certain age due for inspection, or locations where an issue has been reported. Assignments are made to named individuals in your ArcGIS organization, and contain information including location, priority level and due dates.

workforce project

The assignments are then pushed to the mobile devices of your workforce, where they accept, navigate to, and complete the assignments. This may entail entering in notes, or taking pictures, and updating the assignment status. This information is sent back to the centralized cloud-based ArcGIS Online database in near real-time in a connected environment, or upon data synchronization if out of cell / wi-fi range.

workforce phones

Back in the office, the workforce administrator can use the information to check worker progress, see current worker status and location, and re-allocate resources if needed. The information is easily aggregated and displayed using a dashboard or configurable web application.

If you’d like a hand getting set up, let us know, and SymGEO will put Workforce to work for you!

Crop Drought Status in California

SymGEO is pleased to share a glimpse into what’s possible using near-real time satellite sensor data and the power of GIS to produce a Crop Drought Status dashboard. In this example, we have used vegetation drought status and intersected it with crop data for a county in California to determine which crop types and how many acres are at risk. The vegetation drought data is available on a weekly basis nation-wide at relatively fine granularity with approximately a one week production lag-time, so it provides a very current glimpse into the on-the-ground situation.

Crop Drought Status in California dashboard

This information could be used by farmers or irrigation districts for the planned allocation and distribution of water resources, leading to better decision for our agricultural industry. It could also provide insight into crop prices or forecast yields based on existing or modeled conditions.

The data was processed in ArcGIS Pro to convert the satellite data into usable classifications and then intersect the drought conditions with the crop type data. Be sure to learn more about how the processing was automated using Model Builder! Once processed and symbolized, the data was then published and hosted in ArcGIS online, from which the dashboard was constructed. Charts and numerical summaries update interactively based on the map window extents, and the two map views are synchronized to allow side-by-side comparison.

Check out the Crop Drought Status dashboard today and let us know what you think!

Stormwater BMPs in DC

Did you know that when heavy rain falls in an urban environment, most of it will run off the roads and buildings into concrete channels and quickly dump into streams and rivers? This “stormwater” can be very damaging, as all the water enters into the streams at virtually the same time, so channel erosion and water quality are serious concerns. In natural environments, the water is slowed down and filtered by things like trees, wetlands, soaking into the ground and moving through the landscape.

To help mimic the function of the natural environment, urban planners and municipal engineers construct stormwater “Best Management Practices” (or BMPs) to help filter and slow down the water on its way to the nearest stream. Stormwater BMPs may include structures such as reservoirs, green roofs, permeable pavement, filtering ponds, or rainwater harvesting among others.

Keeping track of all those stormwater BMP assets is a challenge, so SymGEO has built the DC Stormwater BMP Manager to help. This configurable application uses an ArcGIS Online Operations Dashboard template, and shows a select set of data attributes to display the characteristics and capabilities of local stormwater BMPs.

The data is coming directly from DC OCTO / DCGIS data servers, shared through Open Data DC. This powers the application with the authoritative data sets, and any updates to the data are immediately reflected in the manager dashboard. All statistics are calculated based on the stormwater BMPs within the view window, allowing interactive explorations around the city.

If only a certain subset of data is to be investigated (say by BMP type, or by green vs gray infrastructure), a left-hand panel can be opened to filter the data. All statistics and the map window are linked to those filters, and additional data about each BMP can be accessed by clicking on the BMP feature.

Give the DC Stormwater BMP Manager a spin, and imagine the possibilities using your own data. Contact us for more information on how to effectively display and share your digital assets!

US Income Explorer

Ever wonder where the earners live? Looking for that link between education and income? Want to see how your community stacks up against the neighbors? Use SymGEO’s US Income Explorer to visualize and explore American Community Survey data from the US Census Bureau combined with income and benefit data published by the Internal Revenue Service, all delightfully symbolized using a novel “firefly” cartographic style recently published by Esri.

income dashboard

As explained very eloquently by Lisa Berry, a Cartographic Product Engineer at Esri, the symbology for the ACS data tells a very visual story by showing the predominant category for each data point, proportionally sized to the number of reporting households, and then given the brightness according to how dominant that category is compared to the other categories.

There’s a lot of data being calculated interactively to summarize only what’s shown in the visible extent. This allows a comparison between different areas within a state or around the country to be achieved relatively easily. Clicking on the map points or county areas shows a pop-up with detailed data, allowing a deep dive into the characteristics of select areas. A number of different ACS data layers can be turned on or off using the “layer” stack icon in the map viewing window.

The sharp geographic divides in neighborhood area characteristics can be quite shocking, and hopefully the presentation of this aggregated data by SymGEO will lead to productive discussions on how communities can work together to lessen those differences.

Global Water Risk Dashboard

SymGEO is pleased to share a free and interactive Global Water Risk Dashboard to help inform policy decisions on water risk and spark international discussion around the world. Powered by Esri technology, this configurable application is based on population data provided by CIESIN, overall water risk data from Water Resources Institute, and country boundary data from GADM.

From WRI: “Overall water risk identifies areas with higher exposure to water-related risks and is an aggregated measure of all selected indicators from the Physical Quantity, Quality and Regulatory & Reputational Risk categories. Physical risks related to quantity identify areas of concern regarding water quantity (e.g. droughts or floods) that may impact short or long term water availability. Physical risks related to quality identify areas of concern regarding water quality that may impact short or long term water availability. Regulatory and reputational risks identify areas of concern regarding uncertainty in regulatory change, as well as conflicts with the public regarding water issues.”

These data sets can be explored in detail in the WRI’s Aqueduct application.

The data was processed in ArcGIS Pro to aggregate the number of people in each country by overall risk category using zonal statistics. Once processed and symbolized, the data was then published and hosted in ArcGIS online, from which the Operation Dashboard was constructed. Charts and numerical summaries update interactively based on the map window extents, and clicking on a country of interest reveals detailed overall water risk data for that country.

Check out the Global Water Risk Dashboard today and let us know what you think!