The Geocortex team recently returned from Austin, Texas where we hosted one of our last Geocortex Regional User Group meetings of the year. The event had no shortage of exciting moments, like a thought leadership piece on the evolution of the modern GIS pattern, a Geocortex technology update, a review of available resources for our customers, an open feedback session and various customer presentations. During our time down there, we also visited the City of Austin at their offices, and a group of Esri Natural Resource and State & Local Government staff in San Antonio. While visiting, we heard quite a few great stories about how our customers are using our technology, and we wanted to take a moment to share a few of them with you.
City of Austin Watershed Protection
The City of Austin Watershed Protection group’s FloodPro Application is a public-facing app that allows the public, developers, surveyors, realtors and insurance agents to access property information. It incorporates data from 7 sources including spatial data from FEMA and contains 10 layers. Users can download floodplain models including the 100 year and 500 year elevations of a property, elevation certificates that are necessary for permitting, and hydraulic/hydrologic models. The app has eased the burden on staff to produce and provide these models, and use of the application has doubled every year since it launched!
Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation
Founded in 1993, the Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation is a non-profit government agency tasked with eradication of the invasive Boll Weevil that nearly devastated the Texas cotton industry. One of our longest customer relationships, the Foundation won the Esri Award for Special Achievement in GIS at the 2016 Esri User Conference. Before the implementation of Geocortex, each Weevil trap had a bar code that was scanned and data manually entered into the system by inspectors. This data could not be downloaded or viewed until the inspectors got back to one of 40 offices throughout Texas. If there were errors or a trap was missed, the inspectors would not know until they had returned to the office, and would then have to make another trip out to the trap. The traps were not geolocated and often locations where estimated. After the implementation of Geocortex, all of the trap data was centralized; traps were geolocated, inspectors could work offline, and the office was able to get real time updates.
Inspectors and the office now know immediately if a trap has been missed and inspectors only need to edit a feature when they are within a certain proximity of a trap, eliminating the possibility of faking reports. Found Weevils can be reported right away and spraying can be coordinated by the next day to prevent their spread.
The success of the Foundation with the support of Geocortex technology has freed up a lot of internal resources, while completely eradicating the Weevil in Northern Texas. The Foundation is now exploring how Geocortex Mobile Viewer can take their mobile offline efforts to the next level and is working with other government agencies to explore how their model can be used to address the eradication of other invasive species.
Harris County Flood Control District
Harris County includes the Houston metropolitan area and is the third most populous county in the United States, containing 4.5 million people. The Harris County Flood Control District manages projects and infrastructure to reduce flooding across 1,500 water channels totaling over 2,500 miles in length. Several hundred thousand homes and businesses are located in Harris County’s floodplain.
The District characterizes flooding as the county’s natural disaster and that proved devastatingly true when Hurricane Harvey hit in August of 2017, dropping over 1 trillion gallons of water on Harris County over 4 days. Statewide, Harvey caused $125 billion in damage, with 68 people losing their lives.
Before the implementation of Geocortex in 2011, the District had several disparate, siloed, in-house solutions for everything from vegetation management to channel repair projects. They needed a standard, intuitive solution with a common look and feel and Geocortex fit the bill. When Hurricane Harvey hit, the District was able to quickly incorporate their Harvey ad-hoc GIS products into their Geocortex applications. This information included channel damage and debris information collected via a helicopter aerial survey and field crews armed with Esri’s Collector App. This information was easily incorporated into Geocortex without any post-processing like was required in the past with ArcMap.
Using these applications, the District was able to visualize before and after information to issue repair orders. They also use Geocortex for land records and document management solutions. They have over 5,000 channel plan sets available in their Geocortex application and they love the hyperlink feature that allows them to search and access channel plan sets from Geocortex.
These were just some of the customer stories we heard during our visit in Texas, and we can't wait to head back again soon to hear what everyone is up to!
To everyone who made it out to the Geocortex Regional User Group, a special thank you. These events wouldn't be possible without your involvement, and it means a lot to see you make the effort to come our and share your feedback and success with us.
If you have any questions about these customer stories, or would like more information about what our customers in Texas are doing with Geocortex, don't hesitate to reach out to us.
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