San Juan County public works featured in The American Surveyor industry magazine
September 27, 2011 · 12:48 PM
Industry magazine "The American Surveyor" recently featured San Juan County Public Works Department in an article entitled "Driving the Islands."
The article tells how public works, charged with mapping the county's roadsides, quickly abandoned tedious and slow manual data gathering using hand-held GPS units in favor of new technology: mobile scanning/mapping rental newly designed and offered by the PPI Group, a Portland firm that provides solutions in the architecture, engineering and construction fields.
The county had been awarded a Transportation Improvement Program grant to make improvements to increase highway safety countywide, and public works needed to designated hazardous areas for mitigation measures.
The mobile mapping technology allowed public works to map every mile of the county's 286 miles of roads simply by driving along them in a specially-equipped vehicle. It took over 600 miles of driving to cover every road, but when the driving was complete the photos and information were downloaded and processed to create a complete data set of county roads. Public works officials can extract information to find trees too close to roads, incorrect pitches, too-steep embankments, nearby structure heights and even stands of pesky scotch broom.
The information is expected to be useful to many county organizations, including the Town of Friday Harbor; the Ports of Orcas and San Juan islands, Orcas Power and Light Cooperative, Eastsound Water Users Association and Eastsound Sewer District.