The Michigan Dept. of Transportation (MDOT), www.michigan.gov/mdot, Lansing, Mich., is responsible for more than 9,000 route miles. It is important for MDOT to provide both financial and technical assistance for portions of the states’ local transit systems, airports, railways, and bus routes. In a nutshell this necessitates the need for accurate information, which in many regards starts with the basics: the map.
As John Lobbestael, surveying support unit supervisor, MDOT, explains, the need for mapping to be clear and concise is important not only for land surveyors, but also for the construction workers, engineers, and designers. That prompted him and Dan Belcher, design services manager, MDOT, to look for a digital solution in place of traditional paper-based maps. It was a search that ultimately led them to, of all places, Apple’s App Store.
The Avenza PDF Maps app now offers an alternative to download PDF plan sets straight to the iPhone. This can be either single sets of multiple sets of plans. This allows the group to transfer large traditional paper maps to digitized, interactive PDFs. Of course it was a process that had to be taught and then engrained into company processes, a task that MDOT officials say was accomplished in a short period of time.
Being able to access maps in this manner allows the group to know exactly where they are in the field at any time. This means eliminating the need to carry bulky paper.
According to Avenza Systems, its Avenza PDF Maps is designed for use on the iOS platform and allows map publishers and individual cartographers to upload and distribute a digital version of paper maps at no cost. Once paired with things like GPS, the maps become interactive, allowing users to find location data and add critical data points.
This is simply another example of useful apps being applied to real-world business challenges. Something as simple as a mapping app can save time and money associated with a cumbersome process such as carrying around maps. If anything, the time and frustration saved by no longer needing to deal with rolling up a map could be appealing all in itself.