Article | October 6, 2020

Pandemic Pivot

Source: Esri

By Sarah Alban, Esri

COVID 19 Business

City Employees Idled by COVID-19 Shutdown Transition to GIS Fieldwork in Sarasota, Florida

A parking enforcement officer and a city clerk were among the city employees who took part in an innovative GIS data collection project in Sarasota, Florida, after being sidelined from some of their regular tasks due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The employees learned how to collect data on streetlights, road signs, and other assets by using mobile GIS apps and high-accuracy Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) receivers.

Not only did the project keep city staff productive after the amount of their workloads decreased, but also it is expected to drive significant value to the city’s GIS initiative while reducing third-party data-collection costs.

The city of Sarasota, located on Florida’s Gulf Coast, is home to nearly 60,000 full-time residents. However, the population almost doubles each winter, keeping city employees even busier than usual. But then the pandemic began, and city offices and many activities shut down, leaving some time freed up for employees to focus on a city asset data collection project using GIS and GPS technology.

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