When Craig Moore switched from the academic side of Virginia Tech in October 2004 to become an engineer for site development in the campus’ Facilities Department, he inherited a GIS that was not easily updated, and maintaining it was a problem. As a result, "it trailed off to nothing," he said.
At that time the system focused on the bare essentials of collecting information on the school’s primary utilitieswater lines, electric lines, gas, steam and communications linesbut even after data was collected and stored, Moore said, "when you went back six months later and looked at the information, you didn’t know which data was accurate."
Moore quickly realized the problem was caused by a lack of proper procedures to maintain the system. There were no procedures in place to collect data, much less a way to update it with new information and improve the accuracy of that information.
Along the way a decision was made to resurrect the sleeping GIS system, put it through a stringent muscle-building update program, and beef up its capabilities to handle everything from tracking trash cans to the number and location of parking spaces, from emergency telephone locations to incomplete construction projects, and from sidewalk damage to mapping problematic erosion areas, among other jobs.