Posts Tagged ‘Engineering’

Introducing the PortGIS Present Conditions Web Application

October 30, 2009

The new web application PortGIS Present Conditions takes the most valuable aspects of PortGIS Utilities and builds upon them. With this iteration, our view broadens beyond our utilities infrastructure to gain full comprehension of our surroundings as they currently exist. This new web application brings with it a few enhancements, the largest being the integration of new, more accurate reference points to our engineering drawings. RH, as an intern in the Engineering and Construction department, spent many painstaking hours opening scanned record drawings, identifying the location where the majority of work took place, and creating point(s) so we can quickly and easily access them via a map. The PortGIS Present Conditions web application also brings direct access to these drawings, via a clear and organized structure. If you know the IMP site and the record drawing number, you can get to these drawings directly without finding them in the map. Below is a video where I go through accessing these drawings.

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Accessing Aerial Photos within AutoCAD using ArcGIS for AutoCAD and the mapiinsert Command

October 1, 2009

At the Port of San Diego, our CAD Designers and Mapping Technicians can access our new 2009 4-inch aerials photos within AutoCAD in 2 ways. Each has their own advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these pros and cons empower our CAD designers to be more efficient and effective. I suggest any substantial project would be best approached by utilizing both methods.

ArcGIS for AutoCAD- Great for everyday workflow
Pros
fast
access to content on other ArcGIS Servers, including ArcGIS Online
easy to create image with defined extent
Cons
Best resolution not guaranteed at all scales

mapiinsert command – Printing
Pros
best resolution guaranteed at all scales
CAD users more familiar
Cons
slow

As a footnote, it should also be mentioned that ArcGIS for AutoCAD has another powerful component; the ability to create GIS attribute data within AutoCAD. As the PortGIS Program matures it will require us to gain more information about our features which originate in AutoCAD. What is the material/width/flow capacity of this pipe? Collecting this type of attribute data will allow us to 1) display and symbolize this data across the enterprise and 2) do spatial analysis, such as identifying where weaknesses might be in our utility infrastructure.

ArcGIS for AutoCAD can be downloaded from ESRI at the link below.
http://www.esri.com/software/arcgis/arcgis-for-autocad/download.html

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and another

Introducing the 2009AerialsFourInch Service

May 29, 2009

Aerials are an integral part of any well rounded Geographic Information System. Aerials can be used as a great base to provide a context for other data, as part of a quality control effort, or as the source to create new data.

Our new 2009 aerials were flown between 11:20AM and 12:30PM on April 17th, 2009. They are 4 inch resolution meaning each pixel correlates to 4 inches by 4 inches (16 square inches) on the ground. Our new aerials are the highest quality I have ever worked with. They are on-par with the best aerials available today. Below is a table comparing some of the variables between the 3 main aerials we use here at the Port.

Aerial Service: I3_Imagery Prime_World_2D 2005AerialsHalfFoot 2009AerialsFourInch
Source: ArcGIS Online Port Port
Date Taken: 3/15/2008 in Port Area 2005 4/17/2009
Coverage: Worldwide 52.5 Sq. Miles covering Port Tidelands 48.7 Sq. Miles covering Port Tidelands
Resolution: .3 Meters (≈1 Foot) in Port Area Half Foot Four Inch
Ground Pixel Size: 12 x 12 = 144 Sq Inches 6 x 6 = 36 Sq Inches 4 x 4 = 16 Sq Inches

Below are 2 images showing measurements of one side of each pixel.

2005 Pixel Measurement

2005 Pixel Measurement

2009 Pixel Measurement

2009 Pixel Measurement

This is all great, but how does this correlate to the real world? Below are the 3 images of the Administration Building Parking lot. As you know the parking lot was recently repaved and reorganized.

2003 Parking Lot

March 2008 .3 Meter Resolution

2005 Parking Lot

2005 Half Foot Resolution

2009 Parking Lot

April 2009 Four Inch Resolution

Along with our parking lot there have been other changes on or around the Port tidelands since 2005, including the new Hilton between the Convention Center and Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.

Left 2005 - Right 2009

Left 2005 - Right 2009

We have set up a web application where Port employees can examine the new aerial photos. You can get to this web application by clicking on the 2009 Aerials button at the PortGIS Resource Center. They are much larger images and therefore take a second or two more to render on your screen. Feel free to turn on and off layers in the “Map Contents” area. We hope to include them in the other PortGIS applications shortly.

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Using Google Streetview within the PortGIS Explorer Web Application

May 7, 2009

We have all used Google Maps and Google Earth with amazement. Google has done an incredible job of creating engaging and easy-to-use geography visualization tools. Streetview, a feature of Google Maps and Google Earth,  provides a 360° horizontal and 290° vertical panoramic views from a row of positions along streets throughout the world. The Streetview images were collected by a camera mounted on a car or truck; therefore, the images are limited to streets. Below VS (See Docs: 315612) shows us how to use Streetview from within our PortGIS Explorer Web Application.

Data collection is the hardest part of any GIS. Google has collected an incredible amount of ground level information as geospatially referenced images. At the Port, this tool can be used to identify an unfamiliar area or be used as part of QAQC process, but the real functionality comes across when we combine Streetview images and our Port data, such as the TidelandsMapbook2007. For example, with this tool in their arsenal our Land Use Planning Department can explore areas before construction or demolition takes place. Without switching to another system, they could also research adjacent tenants, their frontage, and when their lease agreements expire.

We also wrote a blog post on how to use Streetview from within the Harbor Police Desktop Application based on ArcGIS Explorer. We want to thank ESRI, and the tool’s author, for making it available to the public through ESRI’s .Net ADF Code Gallery. See the links below to learn more about these topics

Streetview in PortGIS Harbor Police desktop Application
https://posdgis.wordpress.com/2008/12/02/the-streetviewer-custom-task/

More information about implementing this tool:
http://resources.esri.com/arcgisserver/adf/dotnet/index.cfm?fa=codeGalleryDetails&scriptID=15788

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Accessing our Engineering Drawing PDFs from within the PortGIS Utilities Web Application

April 29, 2009

Our PortGIS Utilities Web Application is a useful tool to share our data created in AutoCAD throughout the Port. The data shown is held and managed as .dwg files, which are primarily accessible only by the Civil Designers in our Engineering Department. The output of much of their work are blueprints. It is a reasonable notion to assume that GIS based maps and blueprints can easily be integrated, after all they both show spatial relationships. In order to bring CAD data into GIS our CAD users must follow both CAD and GIS standards. Using CAD data within GIS  is one of the great obstacles we as GIS professionals work to overcome. We are tackling this obstacle 2 different ways 1) We have created a folder, dubbed “the vault” , where CAD data follows GIS standards and 2) We have created a GIS feature and a link to the digital blueprint. This video below shows how we have addressed both of these methods and goes into detail on how to track down blueprints, as PDFs, for projects within Port Tidelands.

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NorthSouth GIS at the Port of San Diego

April 5, 2009

Last Wednesday we had a visit from Daniel Elroi and David Pimblott of NorthSouth GIS. We got their attention through a blog post we wrote about a month ago. In January 2008, NorthSouthGIS wrote a document titled “The Port of Los Angeles Port Police GIS Strategy Project”(DM#: 348668). This document outlines steps to implement a world-class Enterprise GIS at the Port of LA, including specifics such as which software suites to use and skills to look for in new hires. We are very interested in the progress the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) is making toward the development of their GIS program. POLA is much larger than the Port of San Diego (POSD), but has many of the same obstacles and objectives. Today, we held a meeting where Daniel and David met with key representatives of various departments at POSD. Port Employees representing Information Technology, Land Use Planning, Engineering, Environmental, Harbor Police/Dispatch, and Homeland Security were there. For all who were present, the meeting was an opportunity to discuss the future goals and possibilities of the POSD GIS program. Before Daniel and David started their presentation I took the opportunity to describe where we are in the process of creating a truly Enterprise GIS. Below are my notes and videos on the current GIS functionality available to everyone on our internal network.

Our current full blown enterprise systems at the Port are Docs Management and SAP. Creating an Enterprise GIS System will help create a common operating picture from a geographic perspective across the Port from General Services to Real Estate and from our interns clear up to our CEO. There is no longer a costly piece of software, minimum hardware requirements or years of technical experience blocking access to basic GIS functionality. Our goal now is to understand the workflow of Port Employees and how this system could be best utilized to them be more efficient and accurate. One important  point about this system that should be mentioned is that the Enterprise GIS System is currently only an internal product. Only those who have access to our other Enterprise systems, DM and SAP, have access to this system. This system is not being shared with any outside organization.

[Play video one] This is the PortGIS Resource Center. You will be able to get here from a clear icon on the internal homepage. The PortGIS Resource Center is the central gateway to access GIS information at the Port of San Diego. From here you can access web mapping applications designed specifically for various tasks and departments. At the PortGIS Resource Center IT staff will also have a streamlined method to help end users (you) through the process of installing software. Users can also send us an email or check out the GIS blog. All of the GIS web applications are still in Beta, meaning they can’t be counted on to be up and running all the time, but they are of a high enough quality to expose users to their capabilities.

[Play video two] This GIS web application is called PortGIS Explorer. At this site a user can access our high resolution aerial photos and the tidelands mapbook, which represents our overall geographic interests at the Port of San Diego. A user can navigate to see precisely the information they need. They can turn on and off layers and create images to include in reports and emails. They can learn specific information associated with the geographic features on display allowing them to answer questions like: “Who is the Master Tenant at this location?” They have the capability to measure distances between two or more points and measure areas. Questions this might help users answer are: “How long is the runway on the Midway? Or, what is the area water between the Navy Pier and the Broadway Pier?” We also have included a link to utilize Google Streetview. This tool allows users to access ground level images from within the GIS environment.

[Play video three] The second GIS web application is called PortGIS Projects. It is a full port effort to work through our large development effort which effect land we manage. This application includes the full functionality of the PortGIS Explorer application, but it also includes georeferenced maps from important documents. The ability to measure distances or compare these plans to the tidelands mapbook will create a common operating picture as departments move forward. Currently we have maps submitted from Destination Lindberg, the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan and the Old Police Headquarters and Park Project. If you would like to include a map from a report it is as easy as clicking on the “Add a Map” link and attaching it to your email.

[Play video four] The last GIS web application I’d like to introduce is called PortGIS Utilities. This web application is intended to be the central clearing house for our utilities data. The particular utilities included are: Electrical, Fire, Natural Gas, Fuel, Molasses, Oil, Sanitary Sewer, Storm Drain, Tallow, Telephone, Water, Chemical, Fiber Optics and Communication Lines. It is built upon the familiar PortGIS interface and is live data, meaning as our Engineers update this data it is updated in this page. Not only have we included the linework on the map, but Halcrow has also helped us to integrate the extent of our record drawings PDFs. These PDFs can be accessed from inside the PortGIS Utilities Web application. Instead of our engineers working with a file system to structure their data, the data will now be spatially indexed so they can find it more easily. It also will allow our engineers to share this data with the rest of the Port. General Services and Port Police are very interested in learning how to access this information quickly and efficiently.

The Port of Los Angeles GIS Request For Proposals

February 18, 2009

As San Diegans we sometimes view Los Angeles as a bigger, more pushy, older brother. We are buffered by Mexico, the Pacific Ocean, Anza-Borrego National Park and Camp Pendleton on the south, west, east and north, respectively. These buffers will keep San Diego a unique destination for residents and vacationers alike. This being said, we should do everything we can to learn from our larger neighbors.

The Port of Los Angeles (POLA) has released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for GIS Consulting Services for their Harbor Police Department. A consultant will be selected around May 2009. As you might imagine, at the Port of San Diego GIS department, we are very interested in their choices and progress. They are working hard to accomplish many goals similar to ours. Not only are we in the same industry, but we both work with similar environmental laws, financial constraints and weather which effect the state of California and our region.

For Example, both Ports are working to bring Engineering drawings into GIS to be shared with their respective Harbor Police Departments. If you are a regular reader of %scratchworkspace%, you are familiar with the Port of San Diego GIS departments work with Jerry Wallenborn from Halcrow to bring our utilities data (currently only accessible through our engineers, surveyors and architects) and project closeout PDFs to every internal computer at the Port of San Diego, including the Mobile Data Computers (MDCs) in the patrol cars.

Much of the funding for these types of endeavors comes through the Port Security Grant Program (PSGP). We are classified as a Group 2 Port, while the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together are classified in Group 1. Under this program, they receive about 10 times the funding we do.

Before the RFP was released in December, POLA released a GIS Strategy Project, written by NorthSouth GIS LLC, which detailed specific steps to bring a world class GIS program to the POLA Port Police and POLA as a whole. This 67-page document was very well thought out and in-tune with today’s thinking in the GIS, Information Services (IS) and IT communities. This document details required skills for positions to fill, how to leverage current systems, what type of servers to purchase, software vendors to use and a myriad of other strategy implementation specifics. I found myself saying “right on” out-loud more than once while reading this document. Many of these concepts directly apply to our GIS goals at the Port of San Diego. Below are some of the quotes I circled.

From POLA Port Police GIS Strategy Project (January 2008)
Executive Summary p4
“Accurate, timely and complete geographic information improves emergency response time: The primary need for GIS within Port Police is to provide accurate and timely information to officers in the office and in the field. GIS should help answer key questions of: “Where am I?”, “How do I gain access to this facility?”, “Who is the tenant and how do I make contact?”, or “Are there hazardous materials or circumstances at this location that I should be aware of?” GIS reduces the time needed to respond to a call for service.”

Needs Assessment- Systems Integration- Software Applications p12
“GIS implementation often relies heavily on a GIS analyst to provide products (typically maps and reports) on behalf of clients, which becomes a bottleneck in operations. The judicious building of a specific software application that provides specific search query and analysis tools, coupled with customized reports and map templates, can deliver powerful capabilities directly to users. This not only removes the human bottleneck, but permits users to make many more requests than would be feasible through a human agent, and in police work this can be a crucial freedom.”

Recommendations – A Vision P14
“Successful GIS implementation at Port Police will not be possible without senior management commitment to the project, including acceptance of the proposed strategy supported by way of financial investment and commitment to the proposed organizational structure.”

Recommendations –Implementation-Create a training program p17
“While GIS implementation is focused on data, it is possible for most Port Police to “experience” GIS through other systems that consume this data, like CAD. Similarly, if most applications development is Web based, then very limited training may need to be provided.”

Recommendations-Infrastructure-Software Applications-Support COTS First, Provide Access Second, Custom Applications Last p35
“CAD/RMS and Integrated Command are examples of systems already being funded, which rely on GIS data. It would be a missed opportunity to let the vendors provide their own data, in a manner that would not benefit the broader GIS effort. Conversely, this could be an opportunity to push GIS development forward (and get funding), and also to be in the driver’s seat for the data that will be provided to those systems.”

Recommendations-Software Applications-Prioritize Applications that Benefit Most from Spatial Analysis and Integration p37
“GIS is a technology capable of managing and displaying geographic information, but also of analyzing this information and integrating it with other systems and types of information. Whilst GIS is most critical in the initial phase for supplying up-to-date data to other systems, such as CAD/RMS and Integrated Command Console, over time GIS will find utility in supplying capabilities that other systems are incapable of supplying. One of GIS’s particular strengths is in bringing together data that would be difficult or impossible to integrate, by using the spatial element of the data. It will be at this stage that GIS will gain particular visibility at Port Police – until then it may be limited to a supporting role.”

Interview Summaries w/ Director of Real Estate p61
“It is perceived there is a need for a GIS division within the Harbor Department.”

From POLA Port Police GIS Consulting Services RFP (December 2008)
Project Description-Project Goals and Objectives p8
“The Port Police desires that a number of data sources external to the Harbor Department be able to “stream” data into its GIS, and into other systems, such as the Integrated Command Console. Such data sources include a variety of vehicle, vessel, and cargo tracking systems. The Port Police seeks to leverage Services Oriented Architecture (SOA), so that the data streams are able to be “plugged into” a variety of client applications. To easily accomplish such use of these data streams, an architecture should be designed that permits different data streams types to be funneled into a uniform format that can then be consumed by any system capable of understanding such data streams.”

We have been in contact with POLA’s Project Manager for the POLA RFP. She has kept us informed of her progress and we are excited to follow, learn and collaborate.

If you would like to view these documents you can borrow the hard copy I have printed out for my files or click the links below. They have also been uploaded into our Docs Management System at the Document Numbers below.

ArcGIS 4 AutoCAD and our Port GIS Services

December 26, 2008

ArcGIS 4 AutoCAD is a free tool which allows AutoCAD users to view ArcGIS Services within AutoCAD. This software creates a bridge between the GIS world and the CAD world. AutoCAD users are drawn to this tool because it gives them a window into GIS data, while still allowing them to work in the familiar AutoCAD environment. As a GIS professional, I think it is useful because it will lead CAD users to implement GIS spatial standards (coordinate system, projection and scale) without much effort. The short-term selling point for this product is that it is easier to access our in-house aerials using ArcGIS for AutoCAD than the current process. Below is a video showing how to connect to our in-house GIS services. I am not sure why my cursor is shown as a timer icon- please ignore.

I reviewed ArcGIS for AutoCAD a few months back. Since then ESRI has released the new version (build 110) which is used in the video. It seems much more stable and we are now getting real functionality we can integrate into our daily workflow.

The current release of ArcGIS for AutoCAD makes great strides in bringing GIS data into AutoCAD. The next release will streamline the process of creating GIS data within AutoCAD. We will update this blog as new functionality becomes available. If you would like to learn more about this I suggest you also read Don Kuehne’s GIS CAD Interoperability blog at http://giscadblog.blogspot.com/. We certainly will.

Our AutoCAD users manage much of our spatial data. For example; a storm drain is moved based on new construction. Not only will these changes effect Engineering data. These changes will also be reflected throughout the rest of the system. Environmental Services and General Services seem most likely to utilize this data. How does your department utilize data produced (or owned) by AutoCAD users? Would it be useful for this data to be displayed in an interactive web-based map?

Obstacles to Engineering and GIS

September 27, 2008

Malcolm and I presented today to the Engineering department showing the beta version of the PortGIS. Integrating Engineering could easily become our most difficult challenge. The major obstacle for us is this: Engineers produce/edit geometry (AKA geographic data, linework), while other departments are focused upon producing/editing table data associated with geometry. For example, Environmental Services would like to manage their Storm Water Inspection database through GIS. Their data will be associated with a point line or polygon (geometry), but they will not be producing/editing the geometry on a regular basis.

I’d like to propose my usual “begin with the end in mind”: I keep thinking about the example of a water utilities network and a task which would ask a question like “If a particular valve is turned off, which buildings won’t get water?” Engineers would be providing us with this data, meaning they would not only need to follow CAD standards but also GIS standards. As you can see, this could quickly become more trouble than it is worth. We have hired Halcrow as a consultant to help develop a sustainable, user friendly approach to this issue. We had a meeting with JW and BW (see Docs #315612) to kickoff phase 2 of this project. They seemed open to the idea of working with ESRI products, but we are depending on them to create a sustainable integration of Engineering drawings in the PortGIS.

I planned on including directions to install the software I showed at the Engineering meeting at the end of this post. The directions ended up being detailed and long winded. Instead, I have decided to include a video, and I promise to get together clear and easy directions to follow for early next week. The PortGIS is currently down due to a server operating system upgrade. Hopefully we can get it going again first thing Monday morning.

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