This article may reference Continental Mapping, GISinc, or TSG Solutions. These three legacy companies merged in January 2021 to form a new geospatial leader.
The GISinc team made our annual (err…every 18 month) trip to Salt Lake City, UT for the Cityworks User Conference. This year’s conference attracted a larger attendance than ever before. You could feel the excitement from the user community. Each Cityworks UC provides an excellent opportunity to connect with other users and learn what Cityworks has planned for the direction of the platform - this year’s conference was no different.
New: Holistic Lab
Cityworks introduced something new this year and hosted a 'holistic lab' for implementation partners. This lab was focused on the recent release of Respond 2.0. During this time, the group was able to run Respond 2.0 through its paces and provide Cityworks with direct feedback on our experiences. We were able to collaborate as a group and test those client-identified scenarios alongside Cityworks staff. These types of interactions allow us to directly address those items with the personnel that are responsible for developing the application itself, as well as resolving any technical issues. During this process we were able to also provide positive feedback for the direction in which the Respond app is going, as well as offer suggestions for functionality we would like to see in the future. We approached this exercise as a way to get our client’s suggestions directly to Cityworks and demonstrate how these advancements could benefit the user base as a whole.
Overall, advancements within the Respond 2.0 app, from the use of the JS 4.x API, to the new dashboarding capability, represent a leap forward in the development cycle, and are a representation of where the software platform is heading. We at GISinc are continuously testing these new releases and looking for how these advancements can help our clients. I for one am excited to see how far things will have progressed at the next conference in May of 2021.
During the week-long event, GISinc showcased four client-focused presentations, all of which were well received and produced a ton of positive feedback from those that attended.
1. Cityworks PLL + OnBase: Streamlining Work Processes (Roanoke County, VA)
Todd Moreland (Roanoke County) and Emily Ranft (Technical Architect at GISinc) presented on Roanoke County’s use of Cityworks PLL and their integration with the OnBase document management platform. The presentation focused on how OnBase and Cityworks were deployed, and how the linking of the two systems streamlined their work processes.
Todd and Emily went into detail about how the document management process was integrated into the business workflows within the various Community Development departments. They demonstrated how the process was made much more efficient and provided the users a more robust application for managing the amount of documentation require for the permitting process.
2. Enhancing Fleet Maintenance and Operations with Cityworks and ArcGIS (St. Johns County, FL)
This presentation was in the form of a panel discussion with Rocky Agbunag (IS Manager, St. Johns County), Krista Marvel (GIS Systems Analyst, St. Johns County), Sara Parris (Sr Project Manager, Jones Edmunds) and Thomas Wilson (Cityworks Architect, GISinc), and focused on how Jones Edmunds and GISinc were able to help the County make their fleet maintenance program more efficient. Topics focused on configuring the Cityworks UI to streamline the user’s experience, along with the use of Esri’s GeoEvent application to automate data transfers between the County’s Fuel Master, GIS and Cityworks systems, as well as the workflow automation based on these data transfers.
The presentation walked the audience through what the problem was, and what solutions were put in place to alleviate those issues. As this was a panel discussion, the audience was able to ask the panel questions about how things were done, items that were considered, and what plans are in place for future expansion.
3. AVL Dashboards: Associating Vehicle Location with Assigned Work Orders in Near Real-Time (Oakland, CA)
We saw a ton of interest in Cityworks/AVL integrations at our conference booth this year. Much of that was a result of a presentation that Will Crowder (Business Analyst III, City of Oakland, CA) and Thomas Wilson (Cityworks Architect, GISinc) gave to a large audience on the second day of the conference. The attendees were able to get a sneak-peak at the solutions being implemented for the City of Oakland, focusing on their integration with AVL and Cityworks, and how it relates to the assigning of work orders.
The City is consuming near real-time AVL data and that is being linked with Cityworks in a way that allows their managers to make assignment decisions based on who is operating a vehicle and where that vehicle is located. By connecting these two systems, dispatching and assigning was made easier. This was configured in conjunction with a series of web maps and Operations Dashboards to provide a heads-up display correlating vehicle locations and work activity locations. Having all this information aggregated and at their fingertips is a big leap forward from their previous – largely manual – process.
At the conclusion of the presentation, several attendees approached the stage with questions and “it would be cool if…” topics that we were able to brainstorm and discuss. There was a lot of excitement around what has been done and what is planned for future expansion.
4. Alternate Approaches to Secured Printing and Vertical Asset Configuration (Weston, FL)
Many of the presentations at the Conference are user-specific case studies, however, this presentation was intended to be more of a “how-to” for getting around some of the hurdles often encountered during a Cityworks implementation. Thomas Wilson (Cityworks Architect, GISinc) discussed two alternative approaches: one for printing with secured map services and one for vertical asset configuration.
We had a lot of positive feedback after the presentation, with attendees saying they have been stumped on how to get this to work, or that they been struggling to get this configured, and this was exactly what they needed. In the end, it is great to be able to help fellow Cityworks users, and I hope they were able to take this information back home and put it to good use.
A good bit of the focus was on the new 15.5 platform, and in particular, the release of Respond 2.0. As mentioned earlier, Respond 2.0 represents a big development leap in the Cityworks platform, and is a preview of what’s coming with Cityworks. Emphasis was put on ease of use and streamlining work processes. All of that was evident by the demonstrations during the plenary session, as well as in the various lightening talks given by Cityworks staff.
Advancements in Operational Insights, Workload, and Respond, as well as new introduced functionality with Action Manager and Activity Updates, are all aimed at making the lives of Cityworks users easier, while providing additional functionality.
Something Cityworks did differently this year, is instead of simply talking about what’s in store for the future, they demonstrated some proofs of concept. This was great and allowed the attendees an opportunity to see what is in the works, rather than just hearing about it.
One of the hot topics this year was the recent acquisition of Cityworks by Trimble. In a letter sent out in October, Brian Haslam (President and CEO, Cityworks) talks about how excited he is to join forces with Trimble and how it will help improve the platform, while keeping Cityworks, well, Cityworks. That sentiment was mirrored in the keynote address by Trimble’s President and CEO, Steve Berglund. Steve was equally excited and referred to Cityworks as a “game changer” and a key to Trimble’s expansion into the asset management space.
We were also able to see some presentations by Trimble that gave us a glimpse into what could be coming down the line with the marrying of Trimble and Cityworks. GISinc is extremely excited about what the future holds with these two and is looking forward to new developments in the new year!
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