What GIS Tools Can Do For Parks, Utilities

GIS technology is helping municipal agencies monitor resources and plan data-driven projects more effectively

What is GIS?

Geographic information system (GIS) technology is able to capture, store, manipulate, analyze and manage spatial or geographical data. GIS technology is helping municipal agencies monitor resources and plan data-driven projects more effectively.

Parks and Recreation

Several major cities across the country have adopted GIS solutions to improve their parks and recreation department efficiency. Agency officials can use the technology to map out and visualize all land and assets within the community. City partners, contractors and other departments can access the cloud-based solution to add updates and new information into the system. This ensures all public agencies have access to the latest information on resource management and project development, Next City reported.

Not only does the GIS technology make it easier and more efficient for all those involved on projects to monitor progress and communicate updates, but it also reduces costs. Problems are identified faster and solved sooner, while supervisors can take advantage of visualizations to see where cost-cutting measures can be deployed successfully. Decision makers can test new strategies and track results so investments are made wisely and generate high returns, Next City reported.

Some parks and recreation departments are integrating other technology into the GIS systems such as new smart valves on water systems or tree tracking software. When these solutions are combined, department officials gain deeper insight into how programs work together and where inefficiencies must be eradicated, Next City reported.


There are a growing number of GIS software applications designed to simplify water, wastewater and stormwater utility management. These solutions allow municipal utility agencies to access a cloud-based collaboration platform to map smart water projects and monitor project development. These GIS applications enable users to:
  • Map assets with up to centimeter-level accuracies
  • Maintain and inspect forms and business processes
  • Manage customer field service work order and mobile workforce
  • Monitor smart water meter deployment, installation and maintenance
  • Observe real-time field operations and utility networks
  • Analyze dashboards and performance management reports

This is especially important for communities experiencing prolonged drought conditions where water supplies are low. The GIS technology can help utility providers gather key resource information to determine how best to distribute:

  • Water level
  • Water quality
  • Precipitation
  • Satellite images

In the UK, for example, port authorities are using GIS technology to create hydrographic survey charts to access real-time information on the depth of river berths, approaches and channels. This has allowed surveyors to no longer waste time on creating cartography while making it easier for officials ensure the safe movement of river cargo traffic, Directions Magazine reported.

The hydrographic charts offer ports with a variety of data sets to strengthen decision making when coupled with GIS solutions:

  • Topography
  • Contextual data: features and boundaries of the river
  • Aerial photography
  • Depth
  • Positioning of features

Information collected can be easily visualized and then shared with vessel traffic services and pilots quickly and efficiently.

Why GIS?

EfficientGov has reported on a growing number of GIS projects at the local government level designed to improve the efficiency and sustainability of public services.

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