Florida Department of Transportation’s Five-Year Work Program (WP) outlines the strategic planning and financing for maintaining and expanding Florida’s transportation network. This program is integral to the broader Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) required by federal, state, and local governments.
The WP process involves meticulous financial maneuvering within the “annual gaming cycle” from September to March. During this period, the Work Program staff continually allocates funds and adjusts projects to address the state’s transportation needs. These data change frequently, and once finalized, they require approval from various stakeholders, including Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), local governments, the public, and the legislature. To streamline this complex process and create clear, up-to-date visual representations, a robust Geographic Information System (GIS) was much needed.
Challenges of Pre-WPAGIS Era
Before the advent of the WPAGIS, WP staff faced numerous challenges. They relied on a combination of reports, spreadsheets, CAD software, and various applications running on different platforms. Two types of maps were in use, but both were far from ideal. CAD-based maps with manual symbols were labor-intensive and prone to inaccuracies, while GIS maps from the central support center took weeks to produce and were limited to intrastate highways.
Furthermore, several constraints hindered efficient data usage and dissemination, including the inability to view data graphically at the district level, the complexity of centralized data, difficulties in mapping due to milepost references, and challenges in providing quality assurance and control (QA/QC) for data use.
Introducing the WPAGIS
The WPAGIS emerged as a solution, initially piloted in three of Florida’s eight districts. It operates on ArcView 3.0, utilizing Windows NT desktop PCs. This application enables the Work Program staff to efficiently analyze, query and map WP data. Development of the FDOT Work Program GIS also involved a close partnership between consultants and the Florida Department of Transportation.
Data Replication for Accessibility
A key feature of WPAGIS is the automated nightly replication of WPA data from the FDOT Central Office mainframe in Tallahassee to the pilot districts via the Wide Area Network (WAN). This data warehousing process involves multiple databases and software packages, ultimately storing approximately 100,000 rows of data per district in relational ORACLE databases running on IBM SMP Pentium Pro Windows NT servers.
WP staff access this attribute data over the Local Area Network (LAN) using ArcView’s SQL Connect and standard ODBC protocols. The data is then mapped onto an ArcInfo route system via dynamic segmentation, facilitating data integration with CAD, GIS graphic reference layers, and various other databases.
Functionality of WPAGIS
WPAGIS offers a wide range of functionalities to WP staff. The application boasts an on-line customized Windows hypertext Help system and Data Dictionary with Metadata. Users can access these features through the ArcView View Graphic User Interface (GUI).
- Locate Menu: Offers access to twelve standard functions, enabling users to locate, zoom, and label various elements such as WP projects, roads, bridges, counties, and more.
- Query Menu: Provides seven pre-defined analysis mechanisms, including detailed project reports, program-specific mapping, significant project identification, system-specific queries, and more.
- MAD DOG: A flexible query tool allowing complex queries without the need for SQL, with graphic results on maps and attribute tables.
- Automated Map Layout: Generates customized map layouts based on user preferences, including title, resolution, and more.
- Specialized Tools: Text box, WP item/workmix, and highway shield tools for labeling and symbolizing data.
- Ad Hoc Functions: WPAGIS also grants access to ArcView’s default functions, facilitating ad hoc queries, spatial analyses, report generation, and chart production.
Additionally, WPAGIS enables users to save data snapshots to their local hard drives for historical comparisons and remote presentations.
Future Development of WPAGIS
The project’s future phases include:
- Implementation for all WP staff across all eight districts.
- Providing district-specific WPAGIS ArcView extensions for customization.
- Offering a subset of functionality to staff Department-wide through intranet access.
- Providing a subset of functionality to the public via internet access.
- Expanding analysis functions, such as project spending summaries and traffic data analysis.
- Integrating other FDOT databases and CAD/GIS data layers.
- Integrating WPAGIS with other Windows applications.
Key Implementation Strategies
Several factors contributed to the success of WPAGIS implementation:
1. Read-Only Data Duplication: Replicating only the WPA attribute data nightly improved application responsiveness without overburdening the network. Local data replication is also used for application maintenance.
2. Rapid Application Development: Regular WPAGIS Task Work Group (TWG) meetings allowed for collaborative development. User feedback and suggestions guided the application’s evolution, ensuring it met user needs.
3. Single ArcView Project File Statewide: To simplify installation and updates, WPAGIS utilizes a single ArcView project file. The application dynamically loads data, ensuring it remains up-to-date and manageable.
In conclusion, FDOT’s WPAGIS revolutionized transportation planning in Florida by providing timely, accessible, and comprehensive GIS solutions for WP staff, offering a model for large-scale GIS implementations. With continued updates and improvements, it can play an increasingly significant role in improving the state’s transportation infrastructure.
Q : What is WPAGIS used for?
A : WPAGIS is used for querying, analyzing, and mapping Florida’s transportation data, specifically the Five-Year Work Program (WP).
Q : How is data updated in WPAGIS?
A : Data is updated nightly via automated replication over the Wide Area Network (WAN).
Q : What are some key WPAGIS features for WP staff?
A : WPAGIS provides data location, mapping, detailed reports, and flexible querying tools, along with customizable map layouts and labeling options.