Sunday, October 20, 2013

"Trusted-Crowd Sourcing" for Rural County Road Assets Survey and Inventory


Working as a GIS volunteer for Caroline County, Maryland, I created the first-ever web map of RACPro road survey data used to inventory signs, crosspipes, and utilities.   Why does this matter?

1.  County road survey can move away from 10-year-old "distance measuring instruments" (DMIs).  DMIs replaced the hand-wheel and use vehicle odometer readings to survey road assets like signs, crosspipes, and utilities.



2.  Instead of one expensive DMI ($900 each), county personnel could now use any mobile device to collect GPS-generated data.


JAMAR distance measuring instruments typically pay for themselves in increased productivity in a matter of days


3.  The survey data is no longer locked into a proprietary data format (.rac).  Our county owns just one copy of the RACPro software that can display this data using 10-year-old MapPoint technology.



4.  The data and map were locked into the RACPro desktop app and were not shareable.  I exported the data to Excel and published it as a web map at ArcGIS Online:


5.  Because of limited resources -- especially personnel equipped with obsolete DMIs and proprietary software -- our county has only surveyed and inventoried a small portion of county roads.  It would now be possible to train other volunteers, such as Service Learning high school students, Eagle Scout candidates, and senior citizens to use their mobile devices to survey and inventory county road 


View Larger Map

Are geolocation using mobile device GPS accurate enough for this type of survey?

I think it is,when used along with the web map app.  Access to the web map with a streets or satellite imagery basemap would allow a survey volunteer with minimum training to place the asset correctly on the map.  And to edit or update the map point as needed.  This kind of interaction with the data and the map are not possible with the DMI and desktop software now in use.

Can volunteers accurately collect this kind of data?  

Maybe better than the current method.  Volunteers can use the mobile device's camera to document their collection.  Quality controllers can use the photo context to verify the record and edit the data in ways that are impossible with the current technology.

Tell me what you think.

2 comments:

  1. great psot as usual. I try and post data on argis.com and always run into the 10Mb barrier, are you files smaller than that, or have you found a workaround? My latest blogpost also discusses appropriateness of data.
    Cheers, Andrew http://blog.zolnai.ca

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  2. Don, this is a great post. I started using Gaia GPS app on my Android in 2012. I need something to mark points on the ground for sensor calibration. I also needed the app to be able to run offline. I didn't have the budget to spend on a high end GPS device, so I opted for Gaia GPS. It was a great low cost solution. It also works great for measuring commute times or logging hiking/run routes. I can save my "tracks" and export them to a .csv, .gpx, or .kml when I get back into wifi coverage and then load them up to AGOL or into ArcMap for analysis.

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