Audit of the city's road maintenance practices recommends major GIS investment in Honolulu, Hawaii

June 23, 2005 -- Audit of the city's road maintenance practices recommends major GIS investment in Honolulu, Hawaii. Here are some excerpts from the audit report:

The city has not integrated geographical information systems with its road maintenance program.

A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer system capable of capturing, storing, analyzing, and displaying geographically referenced information. GIS also includes the procedures, operating personnel, and spatial data that go into the system. The power of GIS comes from the ability to relate different information in a spatial context and to reach a conclusion about this relationship. A GIS can reveal important new information that leads to better decision making.

Many computer databases that can be directly entered into a GIS are being produced by federal, state, and local governments. Baltimore County Public Works in Maryland uses GIS for a roadway condition program for dangerous or poor locations, road maintenance, and improvement planning and scheduling. The Ada County Highway Department in Boise, Idaho uses its system for roadway ownership and maintenance information, road width information, and road design, drainage, and pavement markings.

The City and County of Honolulu maintains a GIS for commercial real estate. The system, called Hawaii’s Economic Development Property Locator Geographic Information System, locates available commercial real estate property and displays different types of demographic and business reports based upon a selected distance from a particular property. In addition, the system provides aerial maps, identifies zoning and enterprise zones, and offers technical support.

Although the City maintains a GIS for economic purposes, the division has not integrated its road maintenance program with the system. The division is, however, working on a pilot project with the Department of Planning and Permitting to identify drain lines on the GIS. There are no immediate plans to use GIS for road maintenance.

Jurisdictions around the country are finding that integrated data can be a useful tool and are moving toward using GIS capabilities in road maintenance programs. The road maintenance division in Boulder, Colorado, for example, imported charted road maps into a GIS to create digital maps for every county asset. The division is exploring a sidewalk and pavement management program as a result of the GIS data collection. The city found that by using software that ties the county’s collected inventory to maintenance done on roads, bridges and other assets, the county’s finance officials have

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