State DOTs Embrace Technology
June 28, 2011
What type of technology does your state’s DOT (department of transportation) use for mapping and maintaining roads and bridges? This might be a good question for construction professionals to consider because as more owners become technology savvy, the impact of the use of software on projects could trickle down to the contractors.
For example, in the state of Mississippi the DOT, www.gomdot.com, Jackson, Miss., previously maintained local road network data on a county-by-county basis, and some lacked the ability to map roads properly. In addition, the state’s DOT used three different linear reference systems and a series of CAD (computer-aided design) drawings to represent the state’s complete set of road data.
These days, state DOTs are finding new technology platforms can help better manage and store road data. In Mississippi, the DOT is now using an MLRS (multilevel linear referencing system) to manage the road data throughout the entire state.
As owners and state departments become more accustomed to using technology on infrastructure projects, so too will the contractors working on the construction jobs. As another example, for the past four years, the Michigan DOT, www.michigan.gov/mdot, Lansing, Mich., has been assessing various survey solutions to replace its existing software, CAiCE.
Following Autodesk’s, www.autodesk.com, San Rafael, Calif., 2003 news that it was planning to discontinue development of CAiCE software—which the software developer had acquired the previous year—the Michigan DOT began the search for new statewide survey software.
After years of research and product assessments, the DOT invited two providers to participate in a product demonstration. The DOT was specifically looking for software that would complement existing processes.
As owners and state departments undergo rigorous technology selection processes, the expectations and requirements for the use of technology by contractors will likely grow. For the state of Michigan, the outcome was new software for transportation professionals, which allows for surveying data analysis; civil-specific drafting tools; map analysis and production; and transportation design automation.
For contractors working on infrastructure construction projects, the entire process is becoming more enabled by technology. It might be a good idea to gain a deeper understanding of how your state DOT is using technology today, and then develop your software strategy going forward.