Posts Tagged ‘Halcrow’

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.

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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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