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In late June, Dan McKenna, deputy bureau manager for San Francisco’s Dept. of Public Works, logged onto the department homepage to see a five-year plan for street work—from water, to sewer to fiber-optic cable installation—in a one-sq-mile area near the Golden Gate Bridge. Colored icons identified the projects on a map display.
McKenna’s new tool lets managers at 30 city agencies coordinate. “The value of viewing all the digs that will take place over the next five years...and letting the public see that too, is big,” he says, adding that the graphical display makes it “much easier to conceptualize and communicate.” His department is starting a trial with wider implementation planned for later this summer in hopes that getting the information in one browser-based view not only will cut costs by allowing better coordination, but will also reduce aggravation to the public.
San Francisco is the first large city to implement Envista, the data-gathering and reporting tool, says Rick Fiery, CEO of Envista Corp., Beverly, Mass. He says it will reduce street-degrading cycles of opening and repair and bring order to a process that now relies on whiteboards, disconnected databases and phone tag.
Existing customers include Bay State Gas, a utility serving Massachusetts New Hampshire, and Maine; NStar, a gas and electricity utility in eastern Massachusetts; the Rhode Island Dept. of Transportation; and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.
McKenna says San Francisco agencies will share project descriptions, locations, schedules and contacts. The map will show conflicts and overlaps, which sometimes now are discovered only when two crews show up on the same day. Successful implementation will take lots of agency buy-in. Fiery expects organic growth. “We kick off an ecosystem by getting the main municipality on board. Then the gas and water company see the benefits,” he says. He predicts use will snowball. “When the main information is available, surrounding communities or groups will join,” Fiery says.
In 1994, Fiery founded Infrasoft Corp., vendor of Arenium, collaborative software for civil engineering design. Bentley Systems, Exton, Pa., acquired it in 2003 and Fiery became Bentley’s vice president of global finance before leaving to co-found Envista Corp. in 2006.