workflow - the Atlanta Regional Commission

Cobb County uses ‘Workflow
Modeling’ for Purpose Driven
Web & Mobile GIS Solutions
Jennifer Lana, GISP
GIS Manager
Cobb County, GA
October 3, 2012
Let’s go back in time……
An short historical view of Web-GIS
viewers and GIS at Cobb County
• Early 2000s, Map Servers arrive…..
• Esri’s ArcIMS (anybody remember ArcView IMS or MapObjects IMS?)
• MapGuide, GeoMedia
• UMM Mapserver
People: “Let’s put desktop GIS apps to the web!”
‘ArcView on the Web’…..
Not that there’s anything wrong with that
The GIS-centric Model for Deploying Web-GIS
Cobb County’s First On-line web-based
viewer: Geocortex IMF (ArcIMS based)
One viewer serving Multiple Needs
-Loads of functionality…
-Layers everywhere… nested, visible, invisible, active
-Buttons, tools and icons galore….
web-based Spatial Applications
Implemented Adobe Flex – Started
development in 2007
- New Look and Feel with custom tools
- Staff knowledge for programming and customizing software
limited to only to one developer, brought in a departmental
programmer later
- Limited capabilities for enabling mobile applications and user
reporting features
*User Feedback was not positive - The Flex Viewer was an experienced
GIS user viewer.
We want our MTV… ‘Classic’ web map stays alive
2 GIS web-viewers at Cobb County
2009 - Historic Floods hit Cobb County
Over 200 roads closed at one time
Multiple agencies reported road closures
No Road Closure reporting criteria
Needed a better way
2010 - June
Met with DOT to get requirements
•Purpose specific (Road Status Information System - RSIS)
• Multi Editors
•Web based
•Reflect DOT road closure workflow
• Daily Operations
• Emergency Operations
•In conducting research for web-based road
closure applications
•‘Classic’ Web-Map Provider (Latitude
Geographics) had developed an app similar to
what we were looking for in Texas.
•Required us to upgrade from IMF to Essentials
Deployed August 19th, 2010 in
time for the grand opening of
Cobb’s Traffic Management Center
In mid-2011 Cobb had 3 GIS web viewers
available for use
• ‘Classic’ (Geocortex IMF)
• Flex
• Geocortex Essentials - Silverlight
Maintenance & staff nightmare
Time to Streamline GIS at Cobb
• First: removed Adobe viewer from external and internal websites with very few user complaints.
• Put 1 ½ month notice that ‘Classic’ was being disabled on
public facing web-site. When we disabled viewer, we received a
lot of user feedback…
– “Where did MY viewer go”.
– “I am going to report you to the county manager…”
– “We are going to sue the county for taking away our GIS…”
LOTS of Customer Service and training occurred for internal
and external users during the first few months of transition.
Where Cobb is today:
“Workflow Modeling” Solutions for Purpose Built GIS
QUICKLY realize the advantages of Geocortex Essentials:
Using the desktop Workflow Designer, our administrators can chain together
sets of activities (small units of work) which comprise a workflow.
Reads/Writes Workflow files
Drag and drop
Powerful toolbox
Simulator to trial and test
Supports custom activities
Build forms on the fly
User Friendly
Do NOT need several high
level programmers for
Compatible with HTML5
Workflows Are Cross-Platform
Build a workflow once
–Use it in your internal web maps
–Run it in your mobile applications
• Cobb is using HTML5
–Reuse it in a future technology
Cobb Case Study: Mailing Labels
• Situation: A rezoning application has been submitted
at a particular address by a Cobb city. Notify the
adjacent county residents so that they may submit
• Tasks:
– Search for an address (Geocode)
– Find all parcels which are within 1000ft (Buffer,
Spatial Intersection)
– Generate a Mailing Label Report for the
discovered parcels (Reporting)
*Make this available on MULTIPLE interfaces
Enterprise Thinking
Request for tool/analysis
Linking them all
makes for a better solution
(Internal & External Solution)
Mobile Maps
Workflow Designed
& Tested
Workflow Designer
Workflow Simulator
Activity Step
Variables, Arguments and Imports
Creating a Workflow
• Geocortex Workflow is built on Windows Workflow
Foundation (WF4)
• Workflow designer works like Report Designer, but outputs
XAML (workflow) files
• Once created, use Essentials Manager to publish Workflow
XAML to make available on REST interface
• Essentials Viewer calls for workflow,
then XAML is retrieved and provided
to user
Activity Examples
Essentials Activities
Related Activities
A rich selection of activities allows for endless possibilities
Using Geocortex Workflow
•Improved Efficiency – eliminate manual steps for users
– shortens development time for new functionality
•Better process control
•Enable sophisticated functionality in simple applications
•Business Process Improvement
•Share / Reuse workflows in other applications
•Easily updated
•Cross Platform - Silverlight, Mobile, HTML5
What We’ve Learned:
The majority of business processes involving GIS operations can be modeled,
streamlined and automated via workflows.
Does the business process…….
Require tasks which are done routinely by an individual multiple times per day?
Span multiple days, involving many individuals or departments?
Involve some interaction with a map, and/or some GIS analysis or processing?
Define a collection of smaller tasks which, when chained together, create the

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