GIS Program History

2002 - the Beginning

Initially funded by three City departments (Public Works, Engineering and Community Development), GIS was introduced in September of 2002. During the first two months, many hours were spent performing extensive planning and research. A few factors to consider were what datasets were available? How many potential users there were? How was the City’s network configured? What software and hardware requirements were needed etc.? At the conclusion of this phase, two GIS rollout proposals were developed. The City selected a web-based approach.

2003 - Early Implementation / Floods

The first year was largely devoted to planning and building customized GIS applications. The selected development environment was ESRI’s ArcIMS, providing many users quick access to GIS layers regardless of operating system or network configuration.

The GIS department proved very valuable in helping the City respond to the devastating floods that hit Hudson in July of 2003. Using GPS equipment, staff collected points to show the extent of the flood waters in the downtown area, as well as showing areas along major drainage ways where blockages had occurred. In the weeks following the floods, the GIS department aided administration with neighborhood meetings designed to provide visual information to residents about the flooding.

2004 - Enterprise GIS

In 2004, administration restructured the GIS department to serve all City departments, transforming the Hudson GIS into an “Enterprise GIS." The department trained City staff on how to use the GIS to enhance daily operations. Major data collection projects began, including the sanitary sewer and storm water systems. The City managed these projects “in-house,” with the assistance of University of Akron interns.

2005 - Data Consolidation

The purchase of ESRI’s ArcSDE allowed the GIS department to aggressively consolidate all City data into a single database. This process involved the conversion of large amounts of data, allowing the City’s GIS data to be joined and connected to other datasets, such as crime data, permit data etc. The data collection projects continued with projects for the City’s water system, City trees, and other City assets.

2006 - GIS on the Web

During 2006, the GIS system was made available to the public via the Internet to support City Council's mission to provide transparency in government. Providing this information online produced a considerable savings by reducing the number of calls to City departments, as well as time saved compiling public records requests. The GIS Program received a Special Achievement in GIS Award (SAG) from ESRI. Additions to the GIS Mapping site allow users to view current “Active Work Orders” within the Public Works Department. This was the first phase of a project that will eventually allow residents to enter their own work requests directly through the GIS Mapping site.

2007 - Data Integration

A number of additional City assets were mapped during this period and these items were added to the city GIS website. A new online request system was implemented to allow users to make work requests through a new web interface. The data integration phase continued and was focused on automating jobs to keep data up-to-date and clean. Various data management websites were created during this time to help manage and maintain data.

2008 - ArcGIS Server

In 2008, a major software architecture change took place with the introduction of ESRI's ArcGIS Server. Hudson's GIS program was one of the first in the country to implement a true GIS application upgrade from ArcIMS to the ArcGIS Server environment. The new website was built with VB.NET and it used ESRI's ADF.

The GIS program was awarded an OGRIP 2008 Best Practices Award.

2009 - The Silverlight Era Begins (Custom Applications)

In 2009, ESRI released the Silverlight API for ArcGIS Server. Silverlight offers users a Rich Internet Application (RIA) environment which provides internet maps the ideal platform to deliver maps. We have created a number of Silverlight applications that are showcased on this website as well as ESRI's website such as the Sewer TV and Cemetery websites. The utility billing database was successfully integrated with the City's GIS, and internal users can now obtain billing and usage information from the City's GIS.

In a recent MicroSoft Case Study, Microsoft selected Hudson to showcase the City’s use of Silverlight technology for GIS mapping.

2010-2011 – The Maturation of GIS on the Web

Continuing advancements and improvements in Silverlight and ESRI ArcGIS Server technologies, allowed us to create more mapping solutions for a number of City operations. We added new features/modules that allowed users to review proposed floodplains, track city vehicles with our AVL application and we also built an application to help City golf course staff better manage their operations. The Electric utility infrastructure were mapped and an asset management solution was built for Hudson Public Power staff.