Enterprise GIS Key to General Mitchell International Airport’s
By Timothy Pearson
Milwaukee’s General Mitchell International ong struggled with a series of systems to manage the workings of the airport that ranged from computer applications to an
established set of forms and logs.
Our previous work order system was an
underutilized legacy program that could not
be deployed to its full potential, and our event
tracking was a collaboration of forms, logs and
spreadsheets. After many years of challenges, we
embarked on a plan for a new solution.
Recognizing the benefits of Geographic
Information Systems (GIS), we elected to build
a solid enterprise system based upon ESRI
technology. A key part of the implementation
involved a series of educational interviews to
determine where and how GIS could improve
work processes. These interviews clearly set the
path we would take and helped to prioritize the
changes that were needed to improve operations
and maintenance at the airport.
In November 2009, assisted by AECOM, we
embarked on an aggressive enterprise implementation utilizing ESRI’s ArcGIS coupled with
Cityworks by Azteca Systems Inc. In December
2011, after nearly 18 months of planning, design
and implementation, the airport went live with
its GIS centric program. GIS is now central to the
airport’s asset and work management, including
airport-specific workflows such as FAA-mandated
inspections and airport operational logbook.
At General Mitchell, two groups oversee daily
operations: airside operations and landside
operations. Each of these groups uses logbooks to
capture a diary of daily activities. Everything that
occurs on the airfield and within the public space
is entered into the logbook — incidents, weather,
staffing, airline issues, alerts and so on. Digital
logbook entries now are trackable and searchable.
Entries contain all the information that otherwise
would be recorded on multiple forms, entered
into separate logs, and maintained by different
offices. Everyone is now aware of what occurred
and has access to the same information — more
information than we ever had before.
Each day, airports perform a variety of FAA-mandated inspections. The FAA Part 139
inspection involves the examination of airfield
assets, including lights, signs, pavement,
navigational aids, security items and more. With
the ability to customize the new system, we not
only have developed very specific work order
templates for each and every asset, but also have
streamlined the workflow of the operational staff.
As part of the Part 139 inspection process, we
designed a reporting method that allows each
shift to report on its inspection and subsequent
work orders. This automated process frees the
coordinator to focus on managing the airfield
without worrying about forms and paperwork. The
management of these inspections is now much
more transparent and effective, enabling us to meet
our compliance goals and ensure public safety.
Maintenance and More
To manage thousands of assets and an array of
maintenance procedures throughout the airport,
Mitchell International has compiled a comprehensive
geodatabase that includes airfield-specific assets
such as lights, signs and navigational features,
and also internal facility management features like
HVAC, security and safety assets. A significant
part of the GIS models the inside of buildings
with extensive floor plans and room-related assets.