The Sabine Neches Navigation District (SNND) is responsible for maintaining the Sabine-Neches Waterway and promoting commercial activity for Southeast Texas as well as the continental United States. SNND staff has the responsibility of coordinating and supervising all dredging operations within the navigation district. In the Summer of 2014 Congress Approved a 26-mile deepening project for the SNND. This project calls for the channel to be deepened by 8 feet allowing modern ships to navigate the waterway. The SNND needed a more efficient way to manage their dredge material placement areas to support this long-term effort. Additionally, the SNND also holds a large collection of digitally scanned documents which pertain to their operations (lease holdings, surveys, property related documents, dredge permits, etc) dating back to the early 1900's. The SNND refers to this documents routinely and needed a method for rapid discovery and retrieval.
The collection of documents were loaded into the Amazon S3 cloud storage and Apache Solr was used to provide the search capability for the documents. Apache Solr is an enterprise search engine that indexes the documents based on user provided attributes along with information that is automatically extracted from the documents. Apache Solr provides REST web services as a method to search the collection of documents.
When first logging on to the web application, the user is shown a map that shows the current status of the placement areas (e.g. dredge material deposit sites) for the district. The user can use selection tools to pick a particular placement area and get detailed information about its current capacity. The capacity for these areas are regularly updated based on the current dredging operations within the area. This gives SNND staff a real-time picture of which areas are close to reaching full capacity.
The web application allows the SNND staff to update the capacity of status of a placement area through the web application, automatically updating their back-end GIS data. These editing operations take advantage of time-based layers which allow for a historical record (based on edits) to be kept for each area. The web application also allows the user to search the document collection based on particular attributes or association to a particular placement area. The user can use the Apache Solr search engine to find a list of pertinent documents and view them within the web application. The documents are viewed via a URL link that points to the Amazon S3 cloud storage. SNND staff can also load individual documents to the Amazon S3 cloud, via the web application, where they are stored and included in the search engine's index for future searches.
The overall benefits to the client were that this application provides them with a real-time common operating picture of the operations in the Sabine-Neches Navigation District. The application allowed their staff to access and maintain their spatial data from a web browser, while efficiently maintaining their spatial data in the cloud. The web application also allows staff to quickly search the collection of documents and view them within one common interface.