Success Stories

Articles of successful projects.

Have you ever wanted to identify the perfect location for an event, say for a wedding, a meeting, or a workshop?

Quartic worked with a client that identifies ideal event locations based on a customer's specific event needs and then coordinates with local jurisdictions to obtain any of the required permits for the chosen location.

UTILIZING ARCGIS ENTERPRISE & WEB APPBUILDER TO PROVIDE A ROBUST GIS

Quartic was able to configure the tools to quickly answer questions from the client’s customers such as “Where can I have a gathering for 50 people on a Thursday afternoon in a suburban neighborhood within 200 feet of a park?”

Utilizing GIS, Quartic was able to configure the tools to quickly answer questions from the client’s customers such as “Where can I have a gathering for 50 people on a Thursday afternoon in a suburban neighborhood within 200 feet of a park?” Relying on outdated and slow technology, and a manual process to find ideal locations was replaced by a GIS based web application that identifies ideal event locations based on complex search criteria.

There were 3 primary goals that Quartic needed to address when configuring a GIS Enterprise environment:

  • Allow the client to utilize both public GIS data and maintain and their own spatial data
  • Provide a web-based application for searching for event locations based on a variety of criteria, including date/time
  • Enable the ability to have a controlled group of staff edit GIS data through a web application

The client was already using the Cloud, so Quartic architected a GeoSpatial Cloud solution using the ArcGIS Enterprise Platform. Google Cloud was used for the underlying infrastructure. ArcGIS Server and Portal were installed, along with a PostgreSQL geodatabase to enable the client to both edit their own GIS data, and publish it to the web. Utilizing Esri’s out of the box Web AppBuilder for Portal, Quartic designed a web application that could search through many GIS layers to identify event locations based on the specific needs. In addition, the client also needed to be able to filter all of the data in the map by date and time as well as location. To address the date/time component of the filtering, Quartic designed a custom widget to be used in the application that could filter multiple layers in the map by date range and time range. To satisfy the need for data editing, a second application using Web AppBuilder was configured that takes advantage of Esri’s existing editing widgets. By utilizing a combination of COTS solutions and minor enhancements with code, all public and internal requirements were successfully met.

THE SPECIFICS

THE SECURITY

Separate CentOS virtual servers used for the installation of ArcGIS Server and Portal. Another CentOS server was used to host a PostgreSQL geodatabase. Once the software was installed and configured ArcGIS Server was federated with Portal. Portal was then configured to use the client's SAML identity provider for a single sign on experience. Since the identity provider is hosted in an Azure cloud it allowed safe, secure sign in not just for on premise users but remote workers as well. A Google file share was added to the VPC to allow for regular backups. Native PostgreSQL tools were used to schedule regular database backups. The ArcGIS Enterprise webgisdr utility was configured to create regular backups of Portal and ArcGIS Server.

THE WEB EXPERIENCE

Web AppBuilder was chosen for the creation of the application because of the ease of use of setting up and maintaining the application. Using Web AppBuilder meant that the application was hosted in Portal and could easily utilize both public GIS services and any client data that was hosted in Portal. The screening widget was the main component of the application widget. This widget allowed the user to search by either entering an address, or drawing a point, line or polygon on the map. They could then add a buffer to search results within that radius. The screening widget would then search all layers turned on in the map to find locations within the search area. The output could then be printed as a PDF map, or exported to a CSV file. This enabled the client to keep a record of the results at the time which they performed the search.

THE TIME FILTER WIDGET

The custom widget was customized by using the "Filter" widget as a template. The Filter widget already had a method to allow user input for a date range, so the modifications could be made to the internal query to allow a date search. These modifications included customized field names, data format considerations, and Boolean logic changes (from AND to OR as needed). Additionally, the modified query could then be looped through a list of layers to accomplish the multi-layer requirement. The custom list of layers and their associated field names were contained in the configuration JSON, just as the normal widget configurations are kept.

The time portion of the filter was more complex. Time values needed to be entered by a user as a string in format "HH:MM". This was needed to separate the date values for time values so that users could see when features overlap only a time range (such as during a sunset). Applying this filter to a date/time field required significant parsing of the original query to allow the custom variables to be fitted. Adding to the complexity was that this data for time did not exist yet, so the initial prototype was using an assumed time structure. Once this was added to the source data, adjustments had to be made. A requirement for a "time buffer" component to allow users to assume late projects also became complicated when approaching midnight (either as a pre-buffer or post-buffer of the range). Complicated conditional logic was written to account for day-crossing buffers.

COMMUNITY EDITING

In addition to an application to search for event locations, the customer requested an application for their Community Outreach team to be able to edit their own data through the web. These users would not have any GIS experience and needed an easy and intuitive way to edit the data. Using database roles and groups in Portal, Quartic was able to publish the two community outreach layers to Portal while only allowing those Community Outreach staff the ability to edit the data. Once published as a service, those layers were used in the Smart Editor widget in Web Appbuilder, where they could easily be edited with minimal training by the Community Outreach staff.

APPREHENSION TURNS TO EXCITEMENT

There was some initial apprehension amongst the staff who would be the ones using the application. Although trained IT staff would maintain the GIS architecture, the users of the application and those maintaining the data were not technical staff and were hesitant to have to learn unfamiliar and new technology. After completing the initial application, Quartic provided a demonstration and training session, as well as written documentation to all of the staff who would be using it. When the training was completed and the staff could see how robust and easy to use the application was especially compared to their old environment, there was overwhelming excitement for a new application that would make their job easier.

Success Stories

Articles of successful projects.


The City engaged an experienced Esri Business Partner, Quartic Solutions, to do the initial planning and deployment of the City of Cupertino's ArcGIS Enterprise on AWS. The city moved from a single, internal server hosting both ArcGIS Server and SQL Server to a multi-service AWS deployment.

The City was able to significantly improve the daily processes for their mobile workforce and streamline the integration of their GIS and EAM in the field. 

A WINNING PROPOSITION

While Cloud computing is becoming the mainstream, many organizations are moving their on-premise GIS infrastructure to the Cloud. The Cloud offers many advantages to Location-Based applications by increasing the scalability, flexibility and deployment speed of underlying hardware. At the City of Cupertino, CA the decision to move their Esri Enterprise GIS system to Amazon Web Services Cloud (AWS) has been a winning proposition, and has reduced internal infrastructure administration costs, enabled better integration between their business systems, and increased the number of staff utilizing the multitude of new Esri Cloud based GIS tools, templates and solutions.

The City engaged an experienced Esri Business Partner, Quartic Solutions, to do the initial planning and deployment of the City of Cupertino's ArcGIS Enterprise on AWS. The city moved from a single, internal server hosting both ArcGIS Server and SQL Server to a multi-service AWS deployment. One of the main forces behind the Cloud migration was the the City's use of the Cityworks Enterprise Asset Management system (EAM). The City’s legacy architecture required field crews to either checkout data replicas each day, or maintain a continuous VPN connection from ruggedized laptops. Both of these approaches created were difficult to maintain and time consuming for field crews and also required significant technical support from both the GIS and IT Departments.

By making the decision to externalize the Esri map services and Cityworks  geodatabases, the City was able to significantly improve the daily processes for their mobile workforce and streamline the integration of their GIS and EAM in the field.  In order to alleviate security concerns, the City’s IT Department decided to use an Amazon EC2 instance in order to completely separate the Esri ArcGIS services needed from the City's internal network.  This architecture eliminated the need for a reverse proxy and in turn, increased the overall security of the City’s infrastructure.

The project has been so successful that it rapidly grew in scale and scope. With the mobile workforce editing both GIS and EAM data securely in real time, in the field, the City’s utilization of GIS services grew. An RDS instance was added to handle the increasing database load and the scale of the EC2 instance was increased several times to accommodate a growing number of map services and users as new departments have implemented Cityworks.

THE CITY'S FORMER ON-PREMISE INFRASTRUCTURE

The City’s former infrastructure consisted of a single, physical server running ArcGIS Server and SQl Server Express. The SQL Server instance contained two databases, a geodatabase and the Cityworks database for work order management. This server was on the City’s network behind its firewall.

Field crews used one of two different products to do asset management.  

  1. The first solution was an offline solution that allowed editing of GIS features. Crews would start the day by creating a checkout replica on their field toughbooks and head out to the field to do work. At the end of the day they would return to the office and check-in the replica. The checkout/check-in process was cumbersome and error prone. It also resulted in a lot more time in the yard for crews and less time out in the field.
  2. The second solution used wireless network 4G connections and a VPN to connect to the City's network. This solution was very dependent on network strength and could be very slow. Map pan and draw times would regularly timeout and edits to GIS features and work orders would be lost.

STEPPING INTO THE GEOSPATIAL CLOUD

With the professional services of Esri Business Partner Quartic Solutions, the City stepped into the Cloud infrastructure. The first step was to migrate from the primary existing on-premise server to a publicly accessible replicated AWS EC2 instance. As with the on-premise server, the EC2 instance contained both the Esri ArcGIS Enterprise components and a SQL Server database.

Two-way geodatabase replicas were used to keep the internal geodatabases and public geodatabases insync. SQL Server contained two databases, one for Cityworks and a new geodatabase containing a subset of the feature classes of the main on-premise geodatabase. The subset consisted of all the public works feature classes that would be used and edited by Cityworks and the public works field crews. This allowed the field crews to update assets in the field while simultaneously allowing the GIS department to perform the more rigorous GIS edits when required.

The next step was to move the internal REST-based map services needed by the crews to the Cloud. Esri map services that had previously been used by Cityworks from within the City's network were recreated on the new ArcGIS Server install on AWS. The transition was smooth and immediate results were very positive. Field crews found their workflows greatly simplified, GIS needed to spend less time assisting with the mobile units, and IT was happy with the security model, as none of the internal servers needed exposure to the outside.

GEOSPATIAL CLOUD SUPPORTS SMART CITY INITIATIVES

The use of both GIS data and the Cityworks EAM software continued to grow as additional City Departments migrated to the new architecture. In addition, the GeoSpatial Cloud architecture enabled the City to build more and more beneficial web applications and easily make them available to the public. For example, the City’s 311 implementation was a tremendous success.

As demand grew, the addition of an AWS RDS instance was required. The RDS instance is entirely within the AWS VPC enabling ArcGIS Enterprise and Cityworks to continue to control access.

With the boom in interest and spread of additional GIS solutions spurred by the Cloud Architecture, the City has recently modified the maintenance process to push a full copy of the on-premise master geodatabase to RDS nightly. This allows up-to-date city reference data such as Landbase and planning data to also be made available quickly and easily to the public through various smart city initiatives the the city has implemented such as tree information service and ESRI open data portal.

The City has also heavily utilised AGOL for internal reporting and metrics through a series of public and private dashboards. These AGOL services are easily able to pull City data from the AWS cloud into authoritative, focused apps used across the City.

The use of both GIS data and the Cityworks EAM software continued to grow as additional City Departments migrated to the new architecture. In addition, the GeoSpatial Cloud architecture enabled the City to build more and more beneficial web applications and easily make them available to the public. For example, the City’s 311 implementation was a tremendous success.

As demand grew, the addition of an AWS RDS instance was required. The RDS instance is entirely within the AWS VPC enabling ArcGIS Enterprise and Cityworks to continue to control access.

With the boom in interest and spread of additional GIS solutions spurred by the Cloud Architecture, the City has recently modified the maintenance process to push a full copy of the on-premise master geodatabase to RDS nightly. This allows up-to-date city reference data such as Landbase and planning data to also be made available quickly and easily to the public through various smart city initiatives the the city has implemented such as tree information service and ESRI open data portal.

The City has also heavily utilised AGOL for internal reporting and metrics through a series of public and private dashboards. These AGOL services are easily able to pull City data from the AWS cloud into authoritative, focused apps used across the City.

The City has also begun enabling crowdsourcing of data collection through public collector apps. These apps are hosted on AGOL and consume ArcGIS Server map services through ArcGIS Server on the AWS EC2 instance.

RESULTS

The City of Cupertino's migration to a cloud platform continues to be a big success and is popular with the stakeholders. There are future plans to expand the approach to include more integration with the city’s network through OAuth and single sign on.

Even for smaller-sized Cities such as Cupertino, migrating to Cloud infrastructure can have a profound impact on staff’s ability to take advantage of GIS technology. For Cupertino utilizing Cloud infrastructure has not only streamlined internal operations, but has also enabled the City to truly provide Open Data and Government Transparency to its Citizens.

Success Stories

Articles of successful projects.

The County of San Diego is one of the most award-winning and innovative government agencies in the United States (County of San Diego, 2020). With this in mind, it is not surprising that their most recent GIS upgrade had a strong vision of providing better public access to GIS data via open data collaboration using ArcGIS Enterprise.

THE COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO'S VISION FOR GIS

The effort to upgrade the County’s GIS system to ArcGIS Enterprise was led by the County’s GIS Manager, Ross Martin. From his perspective, “The pursuit of open data, transparency, and collaboration in the GIS world is a rather large undertaking technology wise. If you don’t get ahead of it the risk of falling behind is too great.”

The primary intent of the upgrade from ArcGIS 10.2.2 to ArcGIS Enterprise was the potential for better regional collaboration and the sharing of hosted GIS data via Portal-to-Portal collaboration groups. This included the desire to closely integrate with one of the County’s primary data providers, SanGIS.

The San Diego Geographic Information Source (SanGIS) is a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) of the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego responsible for maintaining a regional geographic information system (GIS) landbase and data warehouse (SanGIS, 2020). To enable a close linkage, the County wanted the ability to interface their on-premise GIS data with an enterprise environment hosted by SanGIS.

“We needed a solution that would allow us easy and secure access to our enterprise environment combined with the capability of sharing our data across agencies,"

Ross Martin

For this, there was no better solution than ArcGIS Enterprise to get the job done.

ENTERPRISE GIS UPGRADE: WORKING TOGETHER

The new enterprise environment for GIS was implemented by the County of San Diego’s IT vendor, Perspecta in partnership with Quartic Solutions. To ensure County operations are available 24/7 the system was designed with high-availability, security, and ease of access as essential features.

“The best system is one that I can turn my back on,” explains Roberto Rivera, application architect for the project. To build a trustworthy system it was important that all of the network and hardware components had failover and redundancy place. This also required ensuring that these components could integrate properly with the ArcGIS Enterprise platform. 

Quartic Solutions worked closely with the Perspecta team to ensure that the design leveraged all of the powerful features of the ArcGIS platform in regards to high-availability, data collaboration, and single-sign on (SSO) functionality. The next section details some of the design and technical considerations required to achieve these three goals.

BUILDING FOR HIGH AVAILABILITY & EASE OF USE

Building a high-availability, multi-machine ArcGIS Enterprise required that the County’s third-party load balancer utilize application health checks for monitoring the uptime of Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS for Server. By default, ArcGIS Enterprise provides endpoints for detecting an outage of one or more ArcGIS components. Without this feature, a third-party load balancer may detect that a server is up without validating the health of ArcGIS. It was an essential feature that ensured that ArcGIS Enterprise could continue functioning in the event of a partial outage.

An equally important feature was the ability to provide a seamless single-sign on (SSO) experience for users that leveraged the County’s existing AD Federation Services implementation. Portal for ArcGIS offered a straight forward integration with ADFS with minimal configuration required. This functionality ensured that all County users could access the Portal from anywhere and without the need to type a password each time.

The ability for the County to connect to Portal organizations outside of their agency was crucial. For that reason, extra care and attention was put into ensuring that the Portal could function both internally and externally to their firewall. This also allowed for the ability to migrate their content from ArcGIS Online to Portal using Esri’s ArcGIS Online Assistant which allows users to search for and copy content from AGO to Portal. This tool was essential for streamlining their transition from AGO to Portal.

Success Stories

Articles of successful projects.

We are one of four partners to make the list in the Fall 2019 issue of ArcNews' Esri Partner Solution Stories.  These stories illustrate our capabilities as Esri Partners in helping users get the most out of their data.

To optimize efforts and resources, the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego in California share a GIS landbase and data warehouse, which are managed and maintained by the San Diego Geographic Information Source (SanGIS). This arrangement, called a Joint Powers Authority (JPA), allows the two separate government organizations to combine resources to meet common objectives—in this case, sharing data and providing up-to-date information to the public.

For SanGIS, its mission is to maintain and promote the use of GIS data for landbase maintenance, data warehouse management, and public access to GIS data. To achieve those goals, SanGIS partnered with Quartic Solutions to implement the Esri Geospatial Cloud by setting up ArcGIS Enterprise on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

County of San Diego senior analyst Brenda Maldonado uses the custom GIS tools that Quartic Solutions developed to maintain the assessor's office's map books.

SanGIS also uses the Esri Geospatial Cloud to create and maintain San Diego County Assessor map books. Previously, two different organizations did data entry: the County of San Diego Assessor’s Office entered parcel data in CAD first, and then SanGIS reentered that data into its GIS and added lot data. This resulted in data duplicates. But with ArcGIS Enterprise on AWS, each organization now enters its data directly into the GIS, eliminating duplicate entries and enabling the data to be published much faster than in the past. The operating costs associated with creating and maintaining the map books have been reduced as well.

Centralizing these workflows required moving the maintenance of a number of mapping activities from CAD to ArcGIS. To accomplish this, Quartic Solutions created custom GIS edit, report, and publication tools to mimic the CAD system’s functionality, as well as its product outputs. Now, the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego can reliably send data back and forth, which also saves time. In the future, the county assessor plans to expand this system to include other types of updates for the landbase. This versatility has allowed SanGIS to use a single solution to meet two goals: data sharing and collaborative database maintenance.

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The County of San Diego has retained Quartic Solutions to implement their new workflows for the creation and publication of Assessor Map Pages. The old environment was based on CADD software and resulted in redundant data entries. The new workflow is Esri based with integrated workflows that eliminate redundant work. A presentation with details can be found here: AMP Presentation

Quartic Solutions is an Esri Business Partner in specializing in enterprise GIS support to government organizations.