Muskoka Plows Through Record Snowfall with the Esri Canada Automated Vehicle Location Solution

Hosted solution enables real-time tracking of snow plows and maintenance activities, resulting in efficient, safe and timely snow removal

Muskoka, ON – March 12, 2014 Severe winter storms and record-breaking snowfall this year has put a strain on municipal snow removal operations and budgets. The District Municipality of Muskoka effectively manages this challenge by using the Esri Canada Automated Vehicle Location (AVL) solution. The hosted service uses geographic information system (GIS) technology to track snow plows and winter maintenance activities in real time. It helps the District to meet snow removal service and salt management standards, control operational costs and enhance road safety.

“This winter was the perfect time to deploy the Esri Canada AVL solution,” says Steven Dollmaier, road maintenance operations technician, District Municipality of Muskoka. “Since December, we’ve received over 12 feet of snow. We’ve been plowing the roads for more than 30 days straight. Having the ability to see where the snow plows are at all times in a dynamic map helps us to ensure that priority roads are cleared first. The AVL solution also allows us to monitor the kilometres travelled, as well as the amount of salt and sand spread by our trucks. This enables us to accurately determine the financial and environmental costs of our winter operations.”

The District replaced its legacy system with the Esri Canada AVL solution in the fall of 2013. It took only three months to get their equipment installed and staff trained and running on the new solution. Muskoka’s outsourced snow removal vehicle fleet was outfitted with hardware provided by Ontario-based Tach West Technologies, on which the AVL solution runs. Unlike Muskoka’s previous system, the Esri Canada AVL solution provides real-time updates on the District’s winter operations and provides more functionality.

“It’s much easier to know what’s going on in the field and react to changing requirements,” continues Dollmaier. “When a resident calls to ask when their street will be plowed, we can immediately tell them where their assigned truck is and when it will pass their location by looking at our dynamic map. We can also easily address any concerns if trucks are driving too fast, not plowing the roads properly or missing routes. The Esri Canada AVL solution significantly improves our ability to respond and provide better service to citizens.”

The AVL solution generates daily reports on the previous day’s activities including the number of snow plows deployed, their speed, direction and stops made. It also provides information on the distances travelled, as well as salt/sand spreading rates and volumes. With this additional insight, the AVL solution will enable the District to have a more reliable and accurate basis for determining payments to vehicle fleet contractors. In the coming months, Muskoka will deploy the AVL on mobile devices to provide supervisors with more flexible access to the solution.

For more information on the Esri Canada AVL solution, visit esri.ca/avl.

About the District Municipality of Muskoka

The District Municipality of Muskoka was established on January 1, 1971. It is comprised of six area municipalities which include the Towns of Bracebridge, Gravenhurst and Huntsville, and the Townships of Georgian Bay, Lake of Bays and Muskoka Lakes. Located just two hours north of Toronto, Muskoka has been a vacation area of choice in Ontario for well over 100 years. With a significant seasonal population, Muskoka is able to offer many amenities normally associated with larger cities, while maintaining the attractive lifestyle of a small community. More information can be found at muskoka.on.ca.

About Esri Canada
Founded in 1984, Esri Canada provides enterprise geographic information system (GIS) solutions that empower businesses, governments and educational institutions to make timely, informed and mission-critical decisions by leveraging the power of geography.  The company distributes the world's leading GIS software from Esri, Schneider Electric, Cityworks – Azteca Systems, Inc. and other technology partners.  Headquartered in Toronto, the company serves over 10,000 customers from 16 regional offices across Canada.  Esri Canada has joined the elite rank of Canada’s Best Managed companies and has been named to the Branham300.  Information about the company can be found at esri.ca. Follow Esri Canada on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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