Overview of the DGRoads GIS program:
What is GIS?
GIS is a powerful computerized mapping system and informational database. GIS allows you to map features and store information about these features for easy analysis of any topic on a geographic basis. The new DGRoads Program is built to run in MapWindow open-source GIS.
How are we using GIS?
The Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program is administered locally by 65 County Conservation Districts throughout Pennsylvania. These Districts use GIS to keep track of their program and to annually report activity to the program's overseeing body, the State Conservation Commission.
Customized GIS Interface
To create a system where 65 individual county conservation districts could use GIS to keep track of road projects in their particular county, a customized GIS application was developed at Penn State University. The customized application was designed to allow districts to enter and track road project information. By simplifying the GIS interface, district personnel with little knowledge of GIS are able to learn the Dirt and Gravel Road application with minimal training. The image to the right is a sample of the customized interface for Indiana County.
Each of Pennsylvania's 65 county conservation districts involved in the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program was given all necessary GIS data for their county. Using their customized GIS on portable computers, district personnel inventoried and assessed over 17,000 miles of unpaved roads throughout Pennsylvania. Over 16,500 verified pollution sites were found on those unpaved roads.
Conservation Districts are currently using the customized GIS interface to keep track of road projects. Figures such as cost, contacts, and rankings for each project are all entered with user-friendly dialog boxes like the one pictured to the right. This data is then stored by DGRoads in a master database where each data entry is linked to the location of that work site.
The real power of the Dirt and Gravel Road Program's GIS is that it allows districts to report the progress of their road projects to the State Conservation Commission. Since all data for all worksites in a county is stored in a GIS database by the conservation district, compiling a statewide summary of this data is very simple. By simply sending their worksite files in to the Center for Dirt and Gravel Road Studies, a summary report can be generated with no transfer of actual paperwork.
Every year, conservation districts send their GIS files in to the Center for an annual summary report. Staff at the Center compiles and analyzes the data and presents it to the State Conservation Commission as a report on the status of the Dirt and Gravel Road Maintenance Program.
If you have any questions about the program's GIS, please contact Steve Bloser at firstname.lastname@example.org.