(L to r) Jim Coleman, ITD board vice chairman, Ryan Hawkins, Alice Pence and Damon Allen

New app speeds up sign data collection in District 1

Two Idaho Transportation Department District 1 employees have been honored for designing and implementing an innovative tool that streamlines the process for installing signs and collecting inventory data.

Geographic Information System Analyst Alice Pence and her supervisor Ryan Hawkins, a traffic engineer, were recognized by the Innovate ITD campaign for developing a web-based application that instantly collects and updates sign installation data from across the region at the touch of a button.
“Now, one person can do the job of three people, which is faster and much more efficient,” said Hawkins.

The app works on smartphones and tablets. It simply requires that whoever is collecting data take their device into the field with them and access sign information through an interactive map. Data fields are then modified through a series of drop-down menus and a photo is also snapped of each sign installation. Additionally, when Wi-Fi is available, the data is automatically updated on the D-1 server.

“We were able to get a complete inventory in a matter of weeks,” Pence said.

Previously, data input for the more than 15,000 signs in the region was a cumbersome process that required time and resources the district could not spare. The direct impact of implementing the app resulted in a 60 percent faster data collection process than manually implementing information on paper.

“Sign inventory was such a burden and an onerous process that no one wanted to maintain it,” Hawkins said.

D-1 Administrative Manager Scotty Fellom called the app “revolutionary” in terms of how it saves time and maintains accurate data and mapping capabilities. D-1 Engineer Damon Allen echoed that sentiment.

“Alice and Ryan really hit the ground running with this and I am very pleased at how easy the app is to use and how fast those two developed it,” said Allen.

Juan Oleaga sits on the ITD Innovate team that reviewed and later honored the GIS app submission by Hawkins and Pence.

“ITD is all about asset management and this app provides a cost savings for taxpayers, is efficient and offers up that customer service element as well,” Oleaga said.

Published 8-8-14