GIS can be used in many ways to improve the operations of cities and local governments. The City of El Cajon uses GIS as a tool to discover, maintain, and visualize its NFPA 704 Warning Placard data.
Whenever large amounts of hazardous materials are being stored and used at a business, warning placards are required. These placards act as an immediate warning system for emergency service personnel, helping them to identify the kinds of materials present and the dangers they pose.
The City of El Cajon uses Environmental Systems Research Institute's (ESRI) Enterprise ArcGIS products in daily operations. They have a small GIS team that expertly tackles all problems. The City's GIS team supports 911 response, Pavement & Sidewalk Management, Sewer and Storm Drain Maintenance, Traffic Data, Street Light, Signal, Signage, Capital Improvement Projects, Planning Data, Housing Information, Inspection data for Fire & Building Inspectors & PW Inspectors, Special Event Coordination, Park Assets, Street Furniture, and more. With all that data, they use GIS tools to help others with Data Sciences and Spatial analysis to clarify facts, visualize patterns, etc.
In August 2022, Quartic was brought in to streamline processes by automating repetitive tasks and modernizing the City’s enterprise GIS system. Quartic is available to provide GIS expertise when El Cajon needs GIS consulting services.
Heartland Fire & Rescue is a joint powers agreement (JPA) between El Cajon, La Mesa, and Lemon Grove, which creates a cohesive Fire Rescue/EMS service area. Quartic created a field solution that would provide fire inspectors a way to catalog NFPA 704 Placard information. The NFPA 704 regulations ensure public safety by clearly identifying businesses that house hazardous materials.
The ArcGIS Field Maps solution included a new feature service, a new web map, and a new mobile data entry form. The solution greatly simplified in-situ data collection for Heartland’s inspectors.
By taking advantage of the newer capabilities of Arcade in ArcGIS Field Maps, field inspectors are able to maintain placard data more accurately. Once the Quartic team published the new enterprise geodatabase feature class as an editable service and built a web map for field editing, new functionality was exposed to users.
Eliminating data entry errors in the field was a requirement of the project. The new Arcade Editor enables more complex and creative expressions and is designed to enhance data quality by using controls such as field auto-calculations and required fields.
The team at the City maintains a central database of valid addresses and wanted this same address dataset to be used when assigning a business address to a new placard location. In cases where a placard is located where there is not already a valid address, inspectors can manually add an address on the fly. This was implemented by writing an auto-calculate Arcade expression. Using the spatial function” closest”, the application finds the nearest existing address and populates the address field. If inspectors know the address calculated is incorrect, they are able to flag the record and type the correct address into another field. This flag is useful for both controlling the initial address entry and tracking potential address corrections needed in the primary address database.
The new mobile data entry application meets or exceeds the scope outlined by the client, and the new map viewer is a great visual tool with point symbology that matches the 704 placard standards to a tee.
Heartland Fire & Rescue inspectors are now equipped with the latest Esri field collection technology and can quickly and accurately survey businesses for compliance with hazardous chemical placard posting regulations.
Because the project was built using an enterprise geodatabase-based feature service, the companion viewer web application refreshes the map in real time. In addition, Heartland and El Cajon GIS staff are able to further QC the address data and amend the primary source address database when inspectors flag missing addresses. This is a great example of a project which benefits the City long-term by improving not only the hazard placard maintenance process but also improving the process for maintaining the City’s core address data.
"My favorite part of this project has been working with the Quartic team, who are always upbeat, professional, innovative, positive, and smart. The outcome of this project was just what we wanted, and it benefitted us on many levels."- The GIS analyst at the City of El Cajon.
Read more about the collaboration of Quartic and the City of El Cajon:
Providing highly-technical solutions to complex problems is something Quartic excels at. However, fast-response and general staff augmentation can be just as necessary, which was an immediate need for the City of El Cajon .
El Cajon’s small GIS team expertly tackles all problems thrown their way. Quartic was brought in to assist their efforts, reduce their individual workloads through automation, provide new capabilities, and upgrade/maintain their overall enterprise GIS system. Quartic provides Senior GIS Programmer/Analyst expertise available to support El Cajon’s GIS needs as they occur.
Several of the City’s ArcGIS products, on both the backend and frontend were upgraded. The City was supporting daily operations by using Environmental Systems Research Institute’s (ESRI) Enterprise ArcGIS System 10.7.1. Their work used to be done primarily in ArcGIS Desktop ArcMap and ArcCatalog, but now since ArcGIS Pro is available, those older user interfaces are slated for retirement in early 2026. Services published to ArcGIS Server were based on ArcMap runtime, which has been retired as of ArcGIS Server 11. The database was re-worked and is now in alignment with best practices better supporting versioned editing and logical groupings of data. Actively edited data that was in stand-alone file geodatabases are now stored in the centralized enterprise geodatabase.
ArcGIS Server was upgraded to 10.9.1 to access newer capabilities allowing the City time to re-publish all services with ArcGIS Pro runtime and prepare for the 11. x version migration.
A new SQL Server enterprise geodatabase was built and all existing data migrated into it from the old database. This database structure implements smarter versioning and avoids using feature datasets as storage folders. Almost all actively edited data now resides in the enterprise geodatabase, consolidating it into a single production editing environment.
ArcGIS Pro is now the go-to, and new attribute rules both maintain data quality and encourage program use.
With Quartic’s professional GIS support and Esri’s current software, the City has successfully resolved many legacy issues. The GIS team now has access to current software capabilities, has better organized and maintained data, and has renewed confidence that the GIS system is in good shape and more able to support City operations going forward.
The City of El Cajon has been working with Quartic to streamline, automate and upgrade many routine GIS data maintenance tasks. For the City’s GIS staff, the manual GIS maintenance was consuming too much of their valuable time. Since the work has been completed, the team has been able to be more efficient and put their energy towards other priority projects.
Municipalities often share GIS data with neighboring jurisdictions and regional government agencies. El Cajon is no exception. The City of El Cajon shares data with both regional GIS agencies: SanGIS and SanDAG . Keeping data current between government organizations can sometimes be a challenge. Quartic helped the City to improve these data sharing processes. The previously manually downloaded data from the SanGIS/SANDAG Regional Data Warehouse has been automated. Python scripts have replaced labor intensive processes for download, extract, and data enrichment. These scripts also perform data administrative tasks such as cleaning up disk space.
With all of these changes/upgrades, there are no longer questions about where the data is located. The team knows that all the SanGIS data is up to date at the beginning of each month and can rely on its currency and authoritativeness. The new database is more performant than it was before. The team learned that migrating from ArcMap to ArcGIS Pro has a bit of a learning curve, but that was quickly shaken off with the proper guidance.
With the initial upgrades complete, Quartic is now assisting El Cajon with several other projects that have been on the back burner. The variety of the GIS work is great and exactly what Quartic is established for; providing quality professional services for all kinds of GIS-related tasks. For example, the team has published the City’s historical imagery, created new enterprise feature classes with enforced data quality checks, published new services, and built web apps and experiences for both internal and public-facing audiences. Together the team developed a City asset dashboard, a FieldMaps application for fire inspectors, and a Survey123 application for bicycle registration, and helped update the City’s organizational theme for its ArcGIS Hub and web applications.
"The Quartic Solutions Team has really helped my GIS vision come to life here at the City of El Cajon. Quartic can take a project and run with it, they listen to what you really want, and then they create that dream that you have always wanted to do for your City.”-The GIS analyst at the City of El Cajon
Geographic Information System (GIS) technology can be used in various industries to enhance efficient data usage and, through that, better decision-making. Long Beach Transit (LBT) has realized the importance of good-quality data and the benefits of GIS. LBT is a municipal transit company that provides bus transportation in Los Angeles and Orange County. LBT has a fleet of 250 buses across fourteen cities. LBT has a ridership of 23 million customers.
LBT uses GIS technology to generate both interactive and static route network maps and analyze ridership patterns across its service area. The GIS supports the transit business by enabling staff to plan, maintain, and locate transit infrastructure. GIS analysts regularly fulfill map and data requests and keep the GIS databases and web maps current as the bus timetables and routes are updated.
In early 2022 LBT turned to Esri (Environmental Systems Research Institute) for guidance and support for their GIS operations. As an Esri Advantage program member, LBT uses Esri’s ArcGIS platform for their GIS. As a forward from Esri, Quartic Solutions, a woman-owned Esri business partner and premier GIS services firm was chosen to provide GIS staffing and expertise to LBT in March 2022.
LBT goes through 3 service changes a year. The service changes involve a change of bus routes, stops, and schedules. Preparation for the service changes takes months and the collaboration of multiple departments. Quartic support these transitions by adding new bus stops to their geospatial bus stop bank, editing or adding route lines for static and interactive maps, updating the systemwide web map, and maintaining their GIS Data Catalog that is available to the public.
When the service planners at LBT consider limiting or expanding the hours of transit in an area, Quartic has assisted by visualizing the spatial component of ridership data for the area. This allows LBT to have an easy-to-read document that supports their decision-making. Ridership data is collected in various ways across the transit network. One example is TAP (Transit Access Pass), which is a contactless smart card used for automatic fare collection. The TAP data that is recorded includes the longitude and latitude of the bus stop where the card was used. This data is used to visualize the amount of boardings and/or alightings (departures) in the Long Beach area. The maps are helpful when service changes are proposed or when micro transit (small-scale on-demand transit) opportunities are being considered. Quartic has also implemented a monthly dashboard that provides average daily boardings at bus stops with the option to filter by route, time period, amount of boardings, weekday, and stop number.
Quartic has been a part of various projects at LBT. One major project was a collaboration with Quartic and ESRI to develop a prototype of field surveying that would streamline the collection of bus stop amenities, such as seating, shelters, lighting, and ADA accessibility. The three organizations used Field Maps and Enterprise to create a customized survey template in Field Maps that standardizes the amenity data collection, allows for picture attachments, and syncs to the LBT Portal, where a supervisor can approve the records. After a successful test of a prototype, LBT is planning on conducting the field surveying soon.
Another request was an improvement to the current Comfort Zones Application. Comfort zones are rest stops for bus drivers and can change when routes or bus stops are added or removed. The original map application consisted of individual maps for each route and did not allow for any feedback from the drivers or filtering.
Quartic combined Survey123 with ArcGIS Dashboards to create a dashboard with one map that the driver can filter by their duty number, weekday, and/or route. When a driver clicks on a comfort zone, they see a picture of the rest stop, the building address, and a link to Google Streetview. A right-side panel on the dashboard opens a Survey123 form where the driver can add or view comments concerning the comfort zone.