Previously, paper maps and photos were used to establish sign placement and content information. When performing inspections of a road section, updates or replacement of missing signs required a minimum of two trips to an office for comparing memory to the maps and photos. The inventory was also usually done with an inventory on paper (usually excell spreadsheets) using a clipboard.
We would like to introduce a new method of sign inventory maintenance using some of the latest, yet very affordable, mobile GIS software and hardware products.
Road signs with all the necessary information about each sign (See typical data to be captured). Inventory personel are able to update information about an existing sign in the database while looking at that sign. Missing or incorrect signs have become much easier to locate and replace. Roadside sign inspections are more complete and accurate. Mistakes that an employee notes in either the inspection procedure or the information in the existing database are corrected.
The data that is collected in the field can be downloaded directly from the pocket PC, eliminating the need for data entry from paperwork. This data is transferred via bluetooth or infrared to a network consisting of PCs and servers. It is then processed to update an existing master sign database residing in the central office. An updated sign shapefile is sent back through the network into the pocket PC for the user to have access to the most current version of the digital "live" sign map. The digital map is generally current to within one week or less.
Inventory personel mileage for sign replacement and inspection is greatly reduced. Paperwork and data entry errors are also significantly reduced. Resulting in a savings of one to two hours a day for each person in the field. The time that is saved can be spent performing more maintenance work in the field resulting in an increase in overall productivity.
Timesavings for data capture personnel due to the elimination of data entry from paperwork are virtually null, although quality control must be maintained by a supervisor or administrator. Another result is that the road signs become extremely accurate, providing the public with the level of safety that was originally engineered into a section of road.
Using the Trafsoft Asset Management Software and forms, built on ESRI's platform with a pocket PC can be summarized as providing inexpensive, accurate, timely, and reliable information updates while supplying users with the necessary information in the field for performing their tasks at the highest level of accuracy and efficiency.