The Importance of Geospatial Data in Public Infrastructure Decision-Making
Access to accurate and up-to-date foundational information is critical to the success of building and implementation of urban planning models including transportation networks. With growing urbanization, the need for smart city development and demand for safer and more inclusive communities, it is imperative that cities rely on accurate data to guide decision-making. In the last few years, there has been a surge in numerous state and federal-level programs that allow for greater investments and resources in areas such as new public infrastructure development, Active Transportation planning, Pedestrian & Road Safety measures to name a few. The ongoing pandemic and the need for follow-up recovery have mandated that municipalities and regional governments take a proactive role in ensuring sustainable infrastructure to cater to the changing needs of their communities.
In order to meet the urgent requirements of high-precision data for critical decision-making across the wide spectrum of public works and transportation projects, municipalities need foundational geospatial information layers including pedestrian & road networks, lane information, landscape, buildings and others. Having the right geospatial data can be a gamechanger for urban planners to better target capital investments in a fair and inclusive manner across their jurisdictions leading to greater community benefit.
The concern with the traditional human-centric approach is that creating and verifying such critical geospatial data is a time-and-money-intensive process. Any delay in creating large and comprehensive geospatial databases can significantly derail the decision-making and implementation of municipal programs with widespread negative impacts for the community. The other challenge with geospatial information such as urban sprawl is that communities are constantly evolving and having the ability to map & detect changes in the landscape is important for continuous improvements in decision-making.
The Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) was on the lookout for a reliable geospatial partner to support their efforts as part of their Vision Zero and Active Transportation plans. Additionally, the county in California was also interested in refining the quality of foundational data they had obtained through internal resources.
The Public Works Department in Contra Costa County, California entrusted Ecopia AI with a sole-source contract to provide accurate, comprehensive and up-to-date geospatial information to meet their multi-project demands.
Ecopia’s global reputation in extracting geospatial insights from high-resolution imagery using advanced artificial intelligence was a key factor in establishing this partnership with Contra Costa County. Ecopia’s proprietary machine learning algorithms ensure that our feature extraction process can deliver HD Vector Maps in a timely and cost-effective manner with GIS-professional accuracy.
As part of this strategic initiative, Ecopia created a planimetric level detail map of critical transportation infrastructure to support:
- The Vision Zero planning efforts by the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA) for specific arterials and priority pedestrian areas throughout the county
- Active Transportation Plan for the unincorporated portions of the county
Leveraging the unique data extraction capabilities of Ecopia, the county now has the ability to support both projects and refine the quality of the data obtained through CCTA’s internal effort. The vector data extracted from high-resolution aerial imagery includes roadway and laneway widths, bike infrastructure, sidewalk infrastructure, and landscaping features. It is being used to provide a foundational context of existing infrastructure in support of the county’s Active Transportation Plan. In addition, the data is also instrumental in reviewing and overlaying collision data to look for systemic countermeasures countywide as part of their Vision Zero Plan.
“Having Ecopia’s data was very helpful in cutting down the extensive time and labour needed to document all of the County’s roadway assets. Previously this work would have required teams of manual annotators and staff in the field to verify results. Ecopia has been an important asset in supporting our active transportation and vision zero plans.” said Jeff Valeros, Associate Civil Engineer, Contra Costa County, Department of Public Works.
This partnership to support Contra Costa County’s critical decision-making leading to better transportation planning and an improvement in quality of life for all residents is exciting for Ecopia.
“Working with Contra Costa County to tailor a data extraction plan that can be used to support infrastructure development demonstrates the flexibility and power of Ecopia’s proprietary AI systems and its ability to save our customer’s time and resources.” - Brandon Palin, Director, Public Sector & International Development of Ecopia.
For more information on this project and how your community can benefit from Ecopia’s AI-powered geospatial insights, connect with Brandon here or click the link below.