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This article was written regarding work conducted under legacy company names: Continental Mapping, GISinc, or TSG Solutions. These three companies merged in January 2021 to form a new geospatial leader Axim Geospatial.

Port of Huntsville, AL is an inland port located in Huntsville, AL. It consists of three major entities including the Huntsville International Airport, the International Intermodal Center, and the Jetplex Industrial Park. The Port had staffed GIS personnel in the past, but the GIS Analyst position had been vacant for some months prior to hiring Kristin Frisbie. Kristin became very busy sorting through CAD and GIS data resources to identify the most current data for agency staff and management information requests. Her dated desktop machine inhibited the creation of certain information products needed by staff and management, and the Airport did not have ArcGIS for Server software or server infrastructure, which prevented the deployment of map services for end-user consumption. She faced a significant challenge identifying, organizing, and publishing authoritative data sources, and needed a way to organize the information and make it easily available to staff.

The Port hired Axim Geospatial to assist with an ArcGIS Online Jumpstart for the entire Port of Huntsville community. The primary objective of using ArcGIS Online was to provide broader access to information supporting planning and operations for all three entities. During a one-week onsite visit, we established internal web access to GIS datasets for the Port of Huntsville’s various stakeholders. We first established the ArcGIS Online for Organizations account structure and initial user base. We then met with stakeholders from key departments to determine opportunities to provide them with valuable information for their planning and operations processes. Together we identified the highest priorities, including creating interactive web maps for hardcopy Master Plans documents, thereby removing the constant need for paper documents and providing an immediate return on investment for the Port’s Executive Management. Jetplex Industrial Park staff members were also pleased with an ArcGIS Online web editing application, which allowed them to visualize and manage information related to hanger leases.

The Port published their own high-resolution imagery of the airport vicinity as a tile package hosted in ArcGIS Online, which supports multiple desired products for their staff. While a lack of identified authoritative data inhibited the full development of additional applications, we developed a variety of proof-of-concept applications, which gave management confidence in the technology and a direction for future investment. The first of these applications support interior space visualization for eventual use in indoor navigation and facilities management. Second, a Collector for ArcGIS application provides an interim solution for an anticipated eventual airport field asset management system. Managers also see the potential of using Esri Maps for Office, especially for interactive products supporting presentations in meetings. We facilitated further business case discussions, which provided the Port with a basis to implement ArcGIS for Server and further build upon their new ArcGIS Online foundation.

The Port of Huntsville now has fundamental skills and a vision for the future. A quick win and demonstrated value have provided momentum and direction to their GIS programs. Proof-of-concept applications and workflows provided the necessary justification to upgrade hardware and software for their GIS Analyst. By leveraging ArcGIS Online as their hosted solution, the Port established a process to organize and make available their spatial information. Port of Huntsville managers now has access to interactive, current applications supporting their planning and operations efforts. With a single source of authoritative data content easily available to staff, information requests to the Port’s GIS Analyst decreased, allowing her to focus on developing authoritative data and other applications.

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Topics: State & Local, Knowledge Transfer & Training, Jumpstarts, GIS Implementation