GIS Supervisor Puts Technology to Work and Builds Interactive WebMap to Connect Residents to Water Resources During Winter Storm Recovery
By Susan Schrock, Office of Communication
Posted on March 05, 2021, March 05, 2021

When the extreme winter storm hit last month, some Arlington residents found themselves without running water in their homes and apartments after their pipes burst during the freezing temperatures.

As part of its storm recovery response, the City of Arlington opened up nearly 20 water container filling stations at apartment complexes and city facilities and also had pallets of donated water bottles ready to distribute to the public in need from four locations. One of the questions the City faced was how to let residents know what water resources were available nearest to where they lived?

Water Utilities GIS Supervisor Mary Payne, one of the City of Arlington’s newest employees, suggested an idea. Instead of posting a static map or a bulleted list of addresses on the City’s website and social media, Payne created an interactive webmap for the Storm Recovery webpage that was searchable, linked water site addresses directly to Google maps to provide driving directions, and could be updated rapidly. Visitors who clicked on a data point could also find a photo of the exterior of the building where the water was located to help them easily identify where to go, Payne said.

The webmap drew about 2,800 views, or 200 views a day, between its creation Feb. 20 and March 1. Another 1,000 people accessed the water resource directly from the City’s social media accounts during that timeframe, analytics show.

“We are continually seeking innovative ways to put our technology to work and connect our residents with resources and information. When we saw so many of our residents were without running water in the aftermath of the recent winter storm, our departments worked together to make water available to them. Mary’s interactive map proved to be an excellent tool to help people find the bottled water pick up sites or water container filling sites most convenient to them,” said Tony Herhold, who chairs the City’s Data Governance and Innovation Team.

Winter Storm Recovery

Put Technology To Work, Winter Storm
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