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Latest News

VUEWorks offers Best in Class Public Service Issue Reporting with Awesome GIS Capabilities

Stefano March 15, 2016
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Since the late 1990’s, VUEWorks has diligently been evolving the web-based GIS solution for a growing number of local and state governments, utilities and commercial organizations. The enterprise performance asset management solution is used to track service requests, manage work and ensure assets are maintained into the future with considerations of risk and condition.

To reach a larger audience for VUEWorks users, DTS, the Makers of VUEWorks, has released a public facing Service Request Portal or 311 System. The seamless and integrated solution is used to allow the public to report issues in the community with ease. The solution can be used on any device, and is responsive in nature, so no matter where someone is, they can report an issue sighted into your system of record and know the status of progress.

A responsive web form

A responsive web form

A key feature of the system includes a simple interactive map that allows for a geofence. The drag and drop Esri-based map performs a reverse geocode that validates a user’s reported issue location with the service area and saves time for organization on the response – all agree, this is a good thing.

An Esri based location map with seamless Geofence

An Esri based location map with seamless Geofence

With a starting template, this best of class solution means no organization needs to recreate the wheel or build out with third party development costs. Additionally, the configuration is all done within VUEWorks, so the control remains with your organization, no need to hire a team of developers to tweak the black box. We know hot issues change and public issue reporting is a personal element to citizen or public engagement. To learn more about this exciting offering or request a personal demonstration, simply let us know by using our contact page.

DTS’ Mobile Asset Collection (MAC) Vehicles Making the News

Stefano March 9, 2016
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The DTS MAC vehicles have been busy around the United States collecting data and assisting organizations with compiling asset inventories and pavement condition assessments. As a part of this, our local government partners have been excited to get the word out to their constituents. Below is a sampling of the news stories DTS has been featured in over the past few months.

City of Houston

mac van news
“Channel 2 Investigates: List of Houston’s Worst Roads”

City of San Antonio
van
“Filling in Cracks, Gaps”

City of Denison
“High Tech Van Helps Denison with Street Repairs”

City of Knoxville
“High Tech Vans Collect Traffic Sign Data for Knoxville”
“Deep in the Heart of Texas”

If your organization is interested in mobile asset data collection or performance asset management for pavement, contact DTS at 407.382.5222 or use the contact page on this site.

Changing Times

Stefano March 3, 2016
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MobileVUE-tablet

Dealing with Change Management and adopting the Performance Asset Management Solution – Getting it right without the fight.

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Change – it is the one thing we can all count on. The balance of adopting technology and keeping staff engaged to advance an agency goals can be a very difficult balance. As key staff gets closer to retirement or move onto new opportunities, the void of a system of record is laden with the risk of infrastructure knowledge literally walking out the door. VUEWorks has been specifically built to allow for one-stop-shop performance asset and work management. Through configurability, and the growing community of sharable forms we are finding ramp up times shortened and pertinent asset and work information remaining with the agency.

Technology is another pitfall that can alienate change in an agency looking to adopt a performance asset management system. By offering MobileVUE, smart phones and tablets are now able to be brought into the fold. By using store and forward techniques, a persistent connection to Wi-Fi or mobile networks are not required. The simplicity of MobileVUE allows field staff to focus on the job at hand without having to master new software and still retain work related information or condition inspection data with ease.

MobileVUE-phone

Overcoming assumptions and risks when implement a performance asset management system start with stakeholders and expectations. At DTS, nothing is taken for granted and subject matter experts are selected for implementation teams. It is understood that staff resources are always tight and to help reduce these challenges the offering of a dynamic support portal, custom training, monthly webinars, and regional meetings are making system adoptions become more fluid than ever before. It really does start with the basic understanding of efficiency and workflows incorporated with performance based asset management training.

Holistically, the end goal for easy report generation, condition, risk and valuation modeling are all communicated with each implementation. This helps stakeholders know the larger goal for the agency and has shown to improve system adoption rates. When everyone within an agency understands that caring for assets are something they are a part of, resistance tends to give way to cooperation and contribution.

At DTS, we continue to strive to make improvements with implementation services to bring our software into line with client cultures and wide ranging demands. This personal partnership has proven to be successful for managing a wide range of assets. Examples include pavement, signs, utility infrastructure, facilities and the list can be expanded to include anything of value and importance.

DTS recently celebrated ten years in business, helping organizations of all sizes. In addition to the expertise in Geographic Information Systems, we continue to improve client success through adoption and system configuration to allow for changes in needs to changes within a client’s demands. From Houston’s city streets to parking lots or heating and cooling systems for major retailers. Change in asset type does not always require a change in the software version or in the operators of the system to manage. In other words, VUEWorks was designed to anticipate change and empowers clients to make changes within the system at their own discretion and control. A model that is unique and flexible handles those inevitable changes even when they are unforeseen.

Developing Fast: Increasing Image performance using HTML5 and JavaScript

Stefano February 14, 2016
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night-traffic

Everybody loves to go fast. Our Mobile Asset Collection team has set the bar high with the innovative Mobile Asset Collection (MAC) vehicle fleet. So here in the development shop, we match their ingenuity with blazing fast web apps with HTML5 and JavaScript.

Our VUEpoint web app sorts through terabytes of images to simulate a driving experience for users at their desktop. Our clients love to view these images as rapidly as possible, and in doing so there are huge performance bottlenecks that we have hit and overcome. This topic deserves multiple blog posts to elaborate on, but we’ll keep it simple today.

Switching from Images to HTML5 Canvas

Our first iteration of this web app was built with JavaScript Image objects and HTML Image tags. For every single image requested, an Image object was created to load the image data and then insert into the Document Object Model (DOM). This worked, but over long periods of time we noticed memory leaks occurring. Chrome specifically would chew through memory preloading images due to this known bug: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/11032018/dispose-an-image-object/11032338#11032338.

We then shifted our focus to HTML5 Canvas and got more performance gains than athletes doping with human growth hormone. Now, for each image requested, we continually reuse one canvas context reference. We can insert images into the canvas as fast as we receive them from the server without seeing any major spikes in RAM usage. We did not stop there.

Request Animation Frame API

We made another cool change to utilize the JavaScript requestAnimationFrame API. This optimizes the animation paint cycle to hit an ideal 60 frames per second refresh rate. It also results in more appropriate utilization of the CPU by the browser.
Previously we solely relied on using the JavaScript setInterval function to control painting the image to the screen, but it seemed to cause a bit of a stuttering effect between images. Now with incorporating these changes, the images have a silky smooth transition and use even less RAM.

vuepoint

There is always still more to do, but we have made great performance gains as our VUEpoint web app continues to grow. Our driving experience went from a casual Sunday cruise with your grandparents to your hair whipping through the wind in a Ferrari with the top down.

A quick shout out goes to Paul Irish of Google for all his great contributions and resources we have used in testing and increasing web application performance. Check out his requestAnimationFrame API tutorial here: http://www.paulirish.com/2011/requestanimationframe-for-smart-animating.

Visualizing Pavement Distress – The Complete Story of Pavement Inspection

Stefano January 28, 2016
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Pavement management incorporates data collected utilizing various methods to gain a complete view of how the pavement is performing through its life-cycle. One of the most common practices in pavement inspection is imaging utilizing high-resolution cameras mounted on vehicles outfitted with precision GPS and inertial navigation. This imaging, when combined with laser profiling, constitutes a typical pavement inspection setup utilized by many DOTs as well as Local government agencies.

dts van

Pavement Inspections tend to follow a process that in many cases is proprietary and “black box” in nature. This makes it hard for the purchasing agency to see how their roads were inspected and how the resulting pavement condition scores were generated. Our team of Engineers and GIS professionals have worked hard to develop a process to remove the “black box” related pavement inspection and to make it easy and simple to trace inspection results back to their originating distresses from the field.

First, our entire process is geospatial in nature from the get-go. Our van’s location is tracked in six-dimensions in real-time and this information is used to calculate the exact location of pavement cracks in the resulting images. Next, the pavement images are geospatially referenced in 3-d and 1mm-pixel resolution, making it easy to extract low-severity cracks in a true 3-d environment. This process then allows us to create GIS vectors (points, lines and polygons) of each distress for each pavement image and deliver them to our clients as part of the pavement inspection deliverables.

pavement

pavement

This is a crucial piece to the pavement inspection “story” because it shows the purchasing agency exactly what distresses were identified and measured when creating the pavement condition scores for a section of road. Being able to see these distresses on a map helps to complete the story by providing the ability for a rigorous QA/QC process utilizing some simple GIS tools.

Each Section of road can be colored by the condition score and its range of values. This tells one component of its story. The underlying distress information tells the rest of the story related to “How” a section of road was scored and assigned its inspection score. By having this information at their fingertips, pavement inspection personnel have a GIS-centric and user-friendly tool that allows them to QA/QC pavement inspection data efficiently.

vueworks

DTS Helps State DOTs Meet FHWA ARNOLD Requirements

Stefano January 20, 2016
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winter-road
In 2012, FHWA announced that the Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) data collection would be expanded in 2014 to include all public roads required under 23 CFR 460. This requirement was later entitled the “All Roads Network of Linear Referenced Data” or ARNOLD. A very helpful overview of ARNOLD from FHWA can be found here: https://goo.gl/H7o4F5.

Many state DOTs have been challenged by the expanded requirements as they focus on their State-owned system while local entities manage non-State public roadways. FHWA decided to help states build a sustainable all-roads network that meets the ARNOLD requirements through the ARNOLD Pooled Fund Study. FHWA is working with state DOTs through the development of individual work plans designed to meet their specific needs and DTS was selected to assist states through a variety of approaches. Activities may include the planning, development and maintenance of the network geometries and linear referencing systems (LRSs) as well as the development and maintenance of network attributes supporting HPMS, MIRE (the Model Inventory of Roadway Elements) and/or FMIS (the Fiscal Management Information System).

DTS is proud to be working directly with all nine participating states including California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Minnesota, New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Utah.

The table below provides a brief listing of key project tasks and current status for each state.

Participating State Key Project Tasks

California

LRS System Development Plan

  • Assess Caltrans’ LRS Business Needs and California’s LRS Requirements Objectives
  • Analysis of Alternatives for Caltrans’ LRS Related Business Needs
  • System Development Plan for Caltrans

Colorado

ARNOLD Data Collection and Process Development

  • Data Collection and Development
  • ETL Script Development
  • Local Outreach for Local Roads Data Collection

Florida

ARNOLD Network Development Assistance

  • Develop Plan for Building the ARNOLD
  • Build the ARNOLD Network
  • Develop ARNOLD Maintenance Plan

Georgia

ARNOLD Local Government Coordination and Portal Planning

  • Local Agency Coordination
  • GDOT ARNOLD Portal Planning
  • Design ARNOLD Portal Architecture

Kansas

ARNOLD Implementation Plan

  • Implementation Plan Technical Requirements
  • Define Information Pipeline and Local Agency Coordination
  • Conduct Pilot Project
  • Develop Final Implementation Plan

Minnesota

ARNOLD Geospatial Portal Plan

  • Develop Shared Centerline Requirements
  • Develop Geospatial Portal System Architecture and Development Plan
  • Long-Term Strategy for Improving the ARNOLD Network

New Mexico

ARNOLD Development and Strategic Plan

  • All Roads Network Development Planning Review
  • Development of the All Roads Network
  • ARNOLD Maintenance Strategic Plan

Pennsylvania

Data Integration for ARNOLD Development

  • Develop Plan for Building the ARNOLD Network
  • Build/Develop the ARNOLD Network
  • Develop an ARNOLD Maintenance Plan

Utah

Geospatial Data Assessment and Local Stakeholder Involvement Program

  • Develop a UDOT Geospatial Data Summary Assessment to Support ARNOLD and Esri Roads & Highways
  • Conduct Local Outreach and Regional Workshops
Participating State Key Project Tasks

For more information regarding the ARNOLD Pooled Fund Study or to inquire about DTS’s geospatial planning and development services, please contact Greg Yarbrough, Director of GIS Solutions. Mr. Yarbrough may be reached via email at gyarbrough@dtsgis.com or by calling (803) 960-9665.