One of the US County’s Office of Economic Development (OED) had a business goal to attract new businesses in the county. CyberTech implemented its GeoCivic product to achieve OED’s vision. GeoCivic’s web-portal aims at helping the businesses to find viable locations within the county by considering various factors including economic zones, transit routes, demographics and competition.
The County is located in United States and is the second most populated county in the state. This County has a population of more than 800,000 spread over 322 sq. miles of area.
This County is blessed with various advantages including freight train lines, access to ocean ports, waterfront and easy access to major cities. Additionally, county has varied incentive zones, existing built-out spaces, educated local workforce, parks and open spaces and great public transit including regional lines. Despite these advantages and opportunities available in county, the challenges for any business to start, expand or re-locate to this County were –
- Varied incentive zones specific to the different towns
- The data was not consolidated
- Define approach for identification of swap need and to aid decision making
- OED had minimal ways for helping the new business
- Local realtor information was not available at a central location
The County’s Office of Economic Development had a primary mission of encouraging businesses to invest in the county by moving into vacant space and taking advantage of economic incentives.
CyberTech implemented GeoCivic, an extremely powerful, visually intuitive, web-enabled, map-based solution, to address OED’s challenges. GeoCivic leverages ArcGIS platform, integrates with external data-sources such as Business Analyst Online, ArcGIS online, real estate websites, external databases, etc. and provides a web-based portal for ease of site selection.
GeoCivic consists of multiple components, which work in tandem to provide business benefits as follow:
- GeoCivic database
- GeoCivic data utilities
- GeoCivic spatial analysis tools
- GeoCivic integration component
- GeoCivic web-portal
GeoCivic data-base is designed to leverage ArcGIS for Local Government (AG4LG) data-model. AG4LG data-model is known as the industry best practice for GIS data management. Various data utilities available with GeoCivic helped in easy set-up, refresh and management of data. GeoCivic consists of spatial analysis tools (GP tools) which perform analysis such as proximity to nearest transportation facility and make it readily available for on-demand visualization. GeoCivic web-portal provides a map-based web-interface for searching the sites, viewing the analysis results, comparing different sites, understanding factors critical to identification of site such as various incentive zones, site details, transit points, demographics, property-listing, etc.
GeoCivic web-portal enables business users to easily search for properties and vacant spaces within the county. County staff can extract reports and analyze the usage of the web-portal, location of web-site users and specific areas of users’ interests. Various features provided by the GeoCivic include –
- Simple interface for user registration and management
- Easy 4-step process to search and analyze and identify the most suitable site
- Map-based interface displaying various incentive zones, county assets and municipal profiles
- Analyze parcels based on incentive zones, county data, nearby transport, etc.
- Provision to display geographic features such as rail lines, highways, ports, etc.
- Interface with the external real estate websites to find properties
- Various reports on demographics, retail potential and traffic counts from Business Analyst Online
- Advanced tools for county staff to resolve queries from business users
- Visitor statistics report for county admin to analyze website usage, area of interest, source location of users, etc.
Fastenal is an industrial supply company based in Winona, Minnesota. Fastenal distributes industrial, safety and construction supplies and also offers third-party logistics and inventory management services. Company has a nationwide network of 2600 retail stores.
The distribution process is monitored and managed by Fastenal’s Ground Traffic Control (GTC) group. Distribution is managed through more than 400 trucks dispatching supplies on 250+ routes throughout USA and Canada. There was a need for a system which efficiently monitors the trucks and also alerts about possible delays.
Background and Challenges
Fastenal’s primary business depends on efficient and timely distribution of product to customers. GTC defines routes, dispatches drivers, supports decision making about dispatch, and monitors deliveries. Much of the product moves over night to meet target delivery dates at each store early in the morning. To improve communication, reduce wait time, and reduce the need to staff, Fastenal wanted a system that will automatically monitor the delivery fleet and notify GTC operations, regional managers, store managers and sales staff about product delivery, current fleet traffic, known delays and known hazard conditions.
Some of the challenges faced were –
- Lack of single interface to visualize multiple stock locations such as warehouses and their details
- Absence of map-based interface to determine distribution routes and current position of dispatches
- Monitoring of dispatches and truck movements
- Ability to identifying the impact of delay on downstream stops on the route
- Prediction of delays due to traffic congestions, unfavorable weather conditions, etc.
- Notification system to alert the store personnel about possible delays
To address these business challenges Fastenal wanted the system to be implemented with --
- Minimal capital expenditure
- Minimal or no in-house infrastructure thereby avoiding maintenance liabilities
- Limited platform set-up
CyberTech implemented GeoServeTM cloud offering which provides combination of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. The solution was hosted on cloud-server and used ArcGIS Online to satisfy all the GIS data & service needs.
The proposed solution was built in two parts –
- A web front-end to manage stops and routes, visualize and retrieve route & truck position information and view dashboard for the status of operations
- A server-side application which continuously monitors the trucks, predicts possible delays due to adverse weather conditions, calculates the delay based on actual truck position and notifies the relevant personnel through e-mail.
Key benefits provided by the system are –
- Provided map based visualization of the stops and routes
- Route can be planned to repeat after defined interval such as daily or weekly
- Integrated view of truck locations captured through GPS (AVL feeds)
- Intuitive visualization of active & inactive routes
- Thematic view identifying the stops impacted due to delay
- Complex geo-spatial calculations to identify the possible delay to downstream stops
- Predictive analysis of the impact of adverse weather conditions on the route
- Notification to relevant personnel about the predicted delays
Esri Technologies Used
In order to avoid capital expenditure, the solution was based on ArcGIS Online services. ArcGIS Online was used to store all the GIS data related to stops and routes. Web-interface provided ability to upload the routes as sequence of stops. ArcGIS Online routing service was used to generate the route to be adopted by the trucks to service the required stops. This route was used for calculation of delay.
ArcGIS for WPF based application was installed for continuous monitoring of the trucks, identification of delays and predictive analysis based on weather forecast services from Esri and NOAA. This application interacted with the third party services to provide the GPS locations of the trucks at regular intervals.