Posted on: September 4, 2018 at 12:07 PM    

This year I had the opportunity to attend and present the work that I have been doing at North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure (NCTIR) at the New Zealand Esri User Conference 2018. Being the largest (around 600 professionals in attendance) GIS conference in New Zealand, I personally found the most valuable aspects of the conference were networking and hearing user stories on how GIS technologies are used to improve the way they conduct business.

When I attend conferences like this one, I am most interested in the “road ahead” content regarding technological improvements and I'm fascinated by how the technology is being used to solve problems. The user stories could be as simple as creating a webmap on ArcGIS Online that enables people to navigate around their property, or developing a complex custom-built application to solve a specific problem. Both cases demonstrate how GIS professionals actively look for opportunities to come up with a solution and improve processes for end-users.

My presentation on “Dynamic Catchment Generator” described an Esri Web AppBuilder application, which was developed for generating catchments on demand at a user specified input point. The presentation attracted a good crowd with a variety of questions and interest in implementing similar approach in their organisations. As part of redesigning culverts and drainage along State Highway 1 and the rail corridor at NCTIR, the stormwater team had to do a hydrological assessment of most of the culverts that needed repairing. At the time, the process the stormwater team followed was inefficient, repetitive and tiresome, as it was done visually following the contour on the GIS viewer. The resulting catchment area would then be prone to errors and it was time-consuming to complete. Putting that into perspective, it would take a relatively large number of professional hours to complete a similar process for hundreds of culverts along the corridor.

To overcome these challenges, the GIS team identified an opportunity to build a custom online application whereby a user could select a map location and generate the contributing catchment for the specified ‘pour’ point. At NCTIR, we are fortunate to have high resolution imagery and lidar data which was used for this application. To deliver the solution a geoprocessing service was published to the GIS server. This was then consumed by geoprocessing widget in Web AppBuilder Developer Edition. The application was developed in less than one week.

The number of catchments generated (more than 500) reflects the direct monetary/time value benefits from this application. The process developed was relatively straightforward and could be developed by anyone with an ArcGIS sever and some experience publishing geoprocessing services.

If you are interested in learning more about this project, or understanding how you can make use of ArcGIS Server and geoprocessing services in Web AppBuilder, Subodh would be more than happy to have a chat.

Blog written by Subodh Dhakal, Senior Spatial Data Specialist

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