D1's Beachler creates weather app to help maintenance forces
plan manpower and equipment

The first round of winter weather has already hit in many regions around the state, putting a premium on quick, appropriate response by ITD maintenance crews. District 1 GIS Analyst Robert Beachler has created a Web App to help ITD take the next step in its winter road-clearing efforts.

Recent upgrades in winter road-clearing technologies and a focus on winter efforts have helped ITD record a high level of driver mobility during slick winter weather. Last year, for the first time ever, ITD regions statewide achieved clear roads during winter storms 73 percent of the time. Beachler's Web App should improve that number.

The Web App rolled out last week in District 1 and was shared with the other ITD districts to help in their road-clearing efforts as well. The app, which helps crews plan and allocate manpower and equipment, has been well received.

"We've already heard back from some saying they love it," said District 1 Business Manager Scotty Fellom.

"ITD foremen can use the forecasts to adjust resources within their area of responsibility based on estimated snowfall accumulations," Beachler explained.

The Snowfall Accumulation Forecast Web App displays modeled snowfall accumulation overlaid with Foreman Area Road Segments and RWIS locations.

It can be viewed at: http://iplan.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=962dde582c074691a868777a13531e6b

Prioritization of snow-removal resources to road segments expected to have higher snowfall totals will help ensure that District 1 maintenance personnel meet strategic goals of providing safe roads and maintaining a high mobility index for the traveling public.

He will initially provide training to District 1 Maintenance personnel on how to use the Web App from their desktop computers or mobile devices. Teams are starting to compile additional information from each district in order to deploy a statewide app.

The user has the option to display snowfall amounts in six-hour periods during the 72- hour operational period using a time-enabled animation, or select a 72- hour snowfall accumulation layer using the Layer List function. Training will include how to access forecast results, turn on map legends, toggle data layers on and off, how to use bookmarks to zoom to specific yard locations, click on 511 camera icons to access real-time video of RWIS sites. Beachler also will be generating a Quick Start User Guide showing Users how to use the Web App.

"It will save countless hours and much work for the foreman," said District 1 Business Operations Manager Scotty Fellom.

A person can click on the background to display the forecasted snowfall values, then click on the Legend icon at the bottom of the display page to show the snowfall values and Foreman Area Road Segment codes.

The app also includes a National Digital Forecast Database (NDFD), designed to provide access to weather forecasts in digital form from a central location. The NDFD produces gridded forecasts of sensible weather elements and contains a seamless mosaic of digital forecasts from National Weather Service (NWS) field offices working in collaboration with the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP). All of these organizations are under the administration of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This feed uses NDFD's files and calculates the snow accumulation, cumulative snowfall, and amount of snowfall over time for the next three days.

IPLAN's web-mapping platform allows ITD's Headquarters and District GIS personnel to quickly develop web maps and apps that leverage district-level content and use authoritative geospatial data sources from other agencies. This saves on web application development time and allows the districts to quickly deploy solutions that support local requirements. Collaboration between Headquarters and District GIS personnel allows ITD's regions to share these web applications and data sets, which reduces development time and provides services that support the overall ITD mission.

Beachler said District 1's recent reorganization resulted in significant changes to Foreman Area road segments and changes to which Maintenance Yards reported to the new foremen, so he wanted to provide a resource showing how much snowfall could be expected in these new areas.

Published 11-20-15