Colorado Uses Laser Measurement to Safely Inventory Road Signs


Connecting state and local government leaders

Keeping track of a state transportation department’s infrastructure, including where it’s located, has never been easier.

The Colorado Department of Transportation wanted a way to ascertain the dimensions of signs and other physical assets it manages along state roadways, without its employees risking life or limb working in traffic, so the agency turned to a laser measurement solution.

Esri recently made its Survey 123 for ArcGIS mobile app compatible with ikeGPS’s Spike tool, which measures the areas, elevations, distances and GPS locations of objects in photos taken with a smartphone or tablet. The laser itself attaches to mobile devices and communicates with applications.

CDOT already had apps for collecting data on signs, facilities and riprap—stones that form the foundations of bridges and other structures—and Spike feeds its measurements into their smart inspection forms.

“The danger is there because of people speeding,” Roberto Avila, CDOT GIS applications and data services unit manager, told Route Fifty by phone. “But with this type of app, [employees] see a very safe way to collect data and a quick way to collect data.”

Since the agency began beta testing Spike at the end of 2017, measurements now take seconds instead of minutes. Curb ramps, outfalls and cattle guards are other assets routinely measured.

Esri’s customers maintain inventories of such assets for maintenance and graffiti removal purposes. Measuring the graffiti helps calculate removal costs.

Every state has thousands of signs alone typically inventoried on paper, so Spike is optimizing planning and budgeting workflows while creating photo-verifiable records of assets.

“Many organizations have obsolete workflows, where they can’t keep infrastructure up to date,” said Ismael Chivite, Esri product marketing lead. “By doing this, they can optimize their field operations dramatically.”

Local utilities have started asking CDOT how they can use Spike with Survey 123 to manage assets like light poles, and the agency is considering using the solution with Esri’s Collector as well.

Agencies too often don’t know the location of their infrastructure. Collector is map-centric, whereas Survey 123 is form-centric, and can geolocate entries.

“A lot of organizations are not aware, from a phone or tablet, they can quickly create these inventories of assets in no time,” Chivite said.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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