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Georgia city uses geospatial technology to identify assets and improve safety

One of Georgia’s newest cities decided to go digital with CH2M - digitizing assets to manage operations and improve public safety for the city.

If you’re a brand new city, you’re probably thinking what can we do to quickly make our community a better place to live? Peachtree Corners, one of Georgia’s newest cities, decided to go digital with CH2M - digitizing assets to manage operations and improve public safety for the city. CH2M Project Manager Brandon Branham outlines how the use of geospatial technology can save time and money, while making the community a safer place.

Roads, rights-of-way, signage and other built and installed assets require substantial staff resources to administer. When a new city is incorporated, like Peachtree Corners, Georgia, the task can be monumental. This newly-formed city needed to identify all of its assets located in right-of-ways, but was relying on outdated data from the county. The City needed a fast, accurate and economical tool to assist with asset inventory and analysis. So how did we do it?

Innovative technology provides new options for managing assets
Municipal governments now have more technology options available to successfully manage their assets. For Peachtree Corners, CH2M applied photo imaging and LIDAR - a surveying technology that measures distance by illuminating a target with a laser light - to compile a comprehensive asset catalog for the city to help refine and focus its management strategy.

Although this technology has been used to produce aerial views for years, no jurisdiction in Georgia had used it from the ground level. Thanks to this innovative and relatively new process, the city is “capturing” all of its assets and using the technology to design road projects, sidewalk projects and create asset replacement schedules. Residents can also use the data via a geographic information system (GIS) to view street-level imagery and see where the municipality’s assets are relative to their property.

Strategically placed streetlights will enhance walkability and safety
In addition to capturing the city’s assets, CH2M is kicking off a street light enhancement program with Peachtree Corners this year that will use LIDAR data to locate areas where there are currently no street lights. Based on the information that is gathered, the city plans to install street lights to enhance walkability and safety for its residents and visitors.

Peachtree lighting pole locations

Geospatial programs help cities provide quality service to citizens
GIS technology provides vital support for almost everything a local government does. Well-defined geospatial programs help cities like Peachtree Corners provide quality service to citizens in a cost-effective manner. Local government geospatial programs support a wide variety of functions including:

  • Community development – 3D visualization, capital improvement planning, citizen participation, land-use analysis, sustainability initiatives and zoning efforts.
  • Economic development – Affordable housing, special district assessments, job creation, business retention and attraction.
  • Environment – Air quality improvements, endangered species and environmental protection, regulation, site remediation, disaster response and stormwater management.
  • Public Works – Vehicle routing for inspections, trash pickup and snow plowing, parks management, permitting, work order management and infrastructure management.
  • Revenue – Impact and impervious surface fee assessment, property tax assessment and revenue projection.
  • Transportation – Mass transit management, congestion management, demand modeling, infrastructure design and maintenance and capital project management.
  • Utilities – Asset management, call-before-you-dig programs, demand forecasting, dispatching, outage notification and response, and broadband mapping.

The Peachtree Corners asset inventory project is complete and 35,000+ assets were captured in right-of-ways -- more than double what the city thought it had. The city is surprised by the amount of data it is receiving and is benefitting from the value innovative geospatial technology is providing.

A version of this article also appeared on Smart Cities Council.

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