Bay Area Rapid Transit: Improving Efficiency and Simplifying Critical Business Processes
Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) is a public transportation system serving four counties in the San Francisco Bay Area; their rapid transit system operates 46 stations across 112 miles of track, with an estimated average ridership in 2016 of 433,000 trips per weekday, and close to 129 million trips for the entire year.
For more than four decades, BART has been an efficient and reliable way for San Francisco’s Bay Area Residents to commute: what began as a futuristic dream in 1972 has grown to be a vital part of the regional culture and economy.
A major challenge BART faced was how to manage the ongoing need for track maintenance and repairs. They were following a paper-based system, which was inefficient and labor intensive. Each time the track had to undergo maintenance, Track Allocation staff had to complete and submit a detailed paper form, which took more than half an hour to complete and often had transcription errors.
They were able to solve this problem with a Geocortex application called the Track Allocation System (TAS) that leverages Geocortex Workflow and Geocortex Reporting technology. Track Allocation staff can now simply draw a box on the map to select the area and assets where the work needs to occur, and the workflow running in the back-end automatically populates a Track Allocation Request Form.
A process that used to take more than 30 minutes now takes a matter of seconds to complete. The TAS was implemented in March 2016 and already has a user base of more than 160 employees, who have recorded more than 7,000 track allocation requests.
Clayton Statham, BART’s TAS GIS Architect, has been able to quantify savings. Early analysis indicates that the TAS will help BART free up more than $1 million in annual operating labor; once linked to their enterprise asset management system, that number is expected to grow to $4 million annually.
Esri's 2017 Partner Conference and DevSummit
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of checking out Esri’s Partner Conference (EPC) and DevSummit in Palm Springs, where Esri shares their plans and technology direction for the year ahead. Latitude Geographics has attended the EPC and DevSummit for the past 13 years; although I have been with Latitude for 16 years, this was the first time I took part. As the lead Business Analyst on our ArcGIS Implementation Services team, it was a particularly great year for me to be there and take in all of the information Esri had to offer.
I took some time to go through my notes from this year’s event, and wanted to share with the Geocortex community what I saw as 2017’s main themes.
Unification of the ArcGIS message
One thing that stood out immediately to me was that the ArcGIS message has consolidated under the umbrella of the new ArcGIS Enterprise terminology (introduced at ArcGIS 10.5). In recent years, I’d heard about individual components of the ArcGIS platform – Portal for ArcGIS, ArcGIS for Server, and the rest of the individual stack components; while all the individual components are still there and still very powerful, the updated messaging around ArcGIS Enterprise has simplified things and brought everything together. Each “piece” feels much more like contributing technologies to a cohesive whole, rather than individual software components.
Maturity of the ArcGIS platform
Related to the unification theme above, there is a noticeable increase in maturity of the complete ArcGIS platform. Some exciting capabilities have started to come into their own over the past year (e.g. ArcGIS Insights and ArcGIS GeoAnalytics Server), and this maturity makes the ArcGIS platform an even more compelling, comprehensive GIS solution. Single-user, high-power desktop GIS isn’t exactly what I’d call a dinosaur just yet, but it’s sure looking grey compared to the new distributed and connected GIS computing paradigm Esri has introduced.
On-premises options for ArcGIS Enterprise
During the DevSummit this year, it seemed to me that there was a heavy focus on on-premises options for ArcGIS Enterprise. ArcGIS Online was still a focus, but I expect that the attention towards on-premises installation, configuration, tuning and management is reflective of the number of organizations that simply need to host their GIS infrastructure themselves. I probably shouldn’t use the term ‘on-premises’ -- quite often ArcGIS Enterprise is best implemented inside Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Azure – ‘self-hosted’ is perhaps better terminology.
Discovering useful tools and tactics
Finally, I must say that so much of the value for me at this year’s Partner Conference and DevSummit was all the bits of information I picked up related to many different areas of the Esri ecosystem. From learning about tools that I wasn’t aware of (like Koop), to valuable brainstorming and UX wireframing techniques, to tips and tricks for working with Geodatabases (hello extracting coded value domains!), this year’s event was a treasure chest of useful nuggets of information.
I can’t wait to see what else Esri has in store for us, and I look forward to working with our customers on more successful ArcGIS and Geocortex implementations as the year continues to unfold!
The first Geocortex user group
Our customers and partners have long asked us to kickstart Geocortex user groups where there were a concentration of users around them. A combination of busyness (building the technology) and platform penetration have hindered this before, but no longer...
We (and more importantly, our users) are pleased to announce the first Geocortex user group - California. The Golden State is home to the largest pool of Geocortex users anywhere, and based on ongoing interest, its time to bring them together.
Our first meeting is scheduled for Thursday October 16, 2008 in Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County has generously offered to host this event. So far, our draft agenda includes introductions, a "Geocortex Technology Update" section (courtesy of me!), user presentations, Q&A and more.
If you're a customer or partner and think you should be home to user group #2, contact your account manager!
For more information about the California User Group, please contact me. Hope to see you there.
New Webinars Scheduled
We put together a number of webinars for the launch of Geocortex IMF 5.2 a little while ago, and got some great feedback from clients. So, we've added a few more and hope to offer them on a recurring basis. Topics vary from new products to new releases to technology we feel clients and prospective customers should keep their eyes on. Check out our Learning and Education page for more information and to sign up.
New year, new logo
On Tuesday, we rang in the new year with a soft launch of our new Geocortex logo on the websites.
Because of the hassle and expense associated with the switch, we've put it off for a long time despite the fact the old logo (at right) looks like something a graphic design-challenged entrepreneur might have hacked together in his old Fort Street apartment circa October 1999 using a student license of CorelDraw 8 (and that observation would be as correct as it is specific).
I suspect that nobody really notices a decent logo, but they do notice an amateurish logo. With the help of our qualified graphic design staff, I think the new version better fits the Latitude Geographics of 2008. I'm still wondering if we should've dropped the Internet Mapping part, given that the term doesn't adequately capture what we do (web-based Geographic Information Systems for non-specialist users is on the long/inaccessible side). Oh well.
2008 IMF/Geocortex User Conference Registration Opens
Registration for the 3rd Annual IMF/Geocortex User Conference, April 20-22nd, 2008 in Victoria, BC, is now open! To learn more and to register, head over to our user conference homepage at www.geocortex.com/uc
We look to improve our conference experience every year, and our 2008 conference is no exception. We sold out our workshops very early last year, and as a result, we've added additional seats this time around. Our workshops will be on the University of Victoria campus this year, and I'm told we may have a double-decker bus (which are seen regularly around town) in the works for the short shuttle up to campus! Since we'd have the bus for the day, we're also considering combining the shuttle trip with some sightseeing for those not attending the workshops - contact us if you're interested.
We hope to see you in Victoria in April '08!
Geocortex IMF 5.2 Released
We’re not sending out the press release until Monday, but Geocortex IMF 5.2 is now available. We haven’t done the launch on the main product page yet, but the main demonstration site on our Map Gallery is now running 5.2. I have attached the Geocortex IMF and Site Manager release notes to this post.
We’ve been working on 5.2 for a while now with Moxi. In addition to some new features (e.g. dynamic CSS support and updated UI, configurable WMS layer transparency, built-in drop-down tab support), it rolls up lots of great little client suggestions and tweaks.
Check it out and let us know what you think.