Wed, 21 Apr 2021

Enhancing data flow and breaking down departmental siloes.

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“By maintaining a focus on building easy-to-use applications, we’ve seen great uptake in the use of our internal and public-facing applications.”

– John Nerge, GIS Coordinator

The Challenge

Until 2012, the City of Brooklyn Park, MN offered a single, decade-old desktop GIS application and nine PDF maps on the City’s website. The application was used to manually cut shapefiles of their GIS datasets, leaving GIS data and maps perpetually out-of-date. 

Their legacy system made it very difficult and time consuming to maintain and update their mapping apps. It was time modernize their approach. 

The Solution

Using VertiGIS products, Brooklyn Park has developed various internal and public-facing applications, all aimed at streamlining City processes and making important information readily accessible to staff. 

Their main internal application, which they named CityView, connects staff to all of the City’s major data sources. With a single search, users can find property information from the assessment database, licensing information from the land management and permitting system, police records from the public safety record management system, and information stored natively in the City’s enterprise GIS, which contains more than 70 map and image layers. CityView includes workflows for printing maps and mailing labels, and several map layers contain links to related documents, such as plat drawings and utility as-built drawings. 

Brooklyn Park also has two public-facing applications: Neighborhood Info and Adopt a Hydrant. Neighborhood Info is the City’s flagship public application, giving residents, businesses and real estate agents the ability to view over 50 data points on any given property. Adopt a Hydrant is part of Brooklyn Park’s crowdsourcing campaign aimed at getting residents to volunteer to shovel out their hydrants when it snows in the winter. 

The Result

Brooklyn Park’s applications have significantly streamlined business operations and made GIS more accessible to City staff. Historically, staff access to information was limited to the databases and systems in their particular departments; a request would have to be submitted if they wanted information that belonged to another department. VertiGIS helped break down those departmental siloes, vastly improving interdepartmental communication and efficiency. Since implementing CityView, the City has continued to iterate and add new functionality with VertiGIS Studio. 

This has included an internal project to connect CityView to the City’s utility billing information, and allows for the ability to view where the biggest utility consumers are, as well as verify service availability. Additionally, the success of the Adopt a Hydrant app led to the creation of Adopt a Park, which brings residents together to volunteer their time to clean local parks. 

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