ArcGIS Online Tools for Virtually Communicating, Collaborating and Managing Data for Watershed Management Planning
Data collection, input, and collaboration are vital aspects of all stormwater management projects and GIS tools are constantly advancing to facilitate more and more efficient methodologies. These methodologies produce significant time savings, along with more organized data storage and presentation tools. These projects can include regional BMP planning efforts, base data collection and analysis such as as-built drawings, watershed characterization, hydrologic mapping and hydraulic mapping. This presentation will provide a discussion and live demonstration of how ArcGIS Online and other web applications can be used to communicate, collaborate and organize multi-party input for watershed management master planning efforts. This presentation will focus on various tools that can be developed through GIS to streamline and enhance technical analyses. One example includes a large regional watershed master plan project that provides a plan for trail interconnectivity and greenways with BMP benefits throughout an urbanized watershed. The watershed contains over 100 miles of channel tributaries to a large river. A data review of future plans and projects was conducted within the watershed, and existing storm channel capacity reviewed.
This project example required review of the existing channel capacity of over 100 miles of existing storm channels. The capacity of these channels determines if the right of way has space for trails and greenways. Over 5,000 as-built documents were collected and reviewed to see if the information was to date, or relevant to the project. The as-built plans were used to collect channel geometry and hydraulic information. Fortunately, many of the as-builts are scanned and placed online for public review in a stormwater web application. This program will demonstrate how a public-facing stormwater channel web application was developed and utilized to download these documents. The methodology for preparing these as-built plans for data entry and used these prepared plans to produce a data gap analysis will also be presented. A web map will be demonstrated which was created to show data gaps in data collection to stakeholders in order to help locate additional data. A large web application was created within GIS to input existing information from the as-builts. The data generated water surface elevations at every 100 feet cross sections along each channel. These water surface elevations were compared to top of bank with freeboard to determine the channel capacity. The resulting data was used to create a series of maps showing undersized and appropriately sized channels. Additionally, GIS determined how wide the undersized channels need to be in order to contain the flow. The additional width would eliminate space within the channel right of way and potentially impact the ability to have a trail segment. These impacts were communicated to the planning team via a series of online and physical maps that were then used in the planning process.
Originally, prior to the global pandemic, in-person meetings would typically be held in person with the project team and stakeholders. These meetings were held to communicate data collected, and get corroboration and validation from the people with on the ground knowledge. A large wall-sized map with future project locations and plans would typically be used to have stakeholders use sticky notes and markers to add to or update the data collected. Because of the issuance of the stay-at-home order, consultant teams needed different methods to provide stakeholders with a means for providing this valuable input. This gap could be addressed with an online interactive map that allows the stakeholders to produce a “sticky note” type comment. The users would be able to place pinpoints, draw polygons, and to type up comments to help direct the data updates. An example of this type of mapping tool will be presented.