Are you taking advantage of mapping?
Smartphones with GPS capability and online mapping applications have made finding addresses an easy task. Does your utility take advantage of any of the many electronic mapping applications that are available?
Geographic information systems
Many utilities have implemented Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to replace their reliance on paper maps. In addition to creating digital images of paper maps, GIS maps include attributes of each mapping layer.
These attributes can include such things as water line size, pipe material and year installed. Or for a valve, the attributes might include manufacturer, model, year purchased and direction the valve opens.
Online mapping applications
Even if your utility hasn’t implemented a Geographic Information System, several online options exist for locating an address.
Google Maps, Mapquest and Bing Maps all will display a map of an address, using nothing more than the address itself. They also will provide turn-by-turn driving directions to the address.
Some utility billing systems have integrated mapping within their billing software. Our Utility Management system is one such application. The system displays a map with a push pin at the exact service address.
Meters are often the last layer added to a GIS system, and they represent the point at which billing software and GIS systems intersect. For a utility with a GIS system mapped all the way to the meter level, the above map could be replaced by their GIS map.