Bakersfield, CA, Unites Documents with GIS Technology
With a population of 350,000, Bakersfield is the 11th largest city in California and the 58th largest city in the U.S. But as one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. with a metropolitan population over 500,000, Bakersfield faced the problem of any growing city: inefficient information management.
In 1997, Bakersfield began searching for an enterprise content management system, eventually evaluating 12 different systems. "We chose Laserfiche because of its pricing and how easy it was to use," remembers IT Director Bob Trammell.
Around the same time, the City also purchased an ESRI system. "We needed a good tool to provide GIS services to various City departments. Almost all the work the City does is related to GIS. It’s one of the cornerstones of our IT infrastructure," Bob Trammell adds.
Because almost every one of the City’s 11 departments uses both ESRI and Laserfiche, by integrating the two systems, staff and the public could retrieve information by location, at no cost to the city.
For years, the City had stored special assessments, deeds and sewer and street information in Laserfiche, but they weren’t retrievable by area. Now users can retrieve content ranging from AutoCAD drawings to planning documents to deeds to photographs, whatever is stored in Bakersfield’s Laserfiche system for that particular parcel. "We can now search across multiple documents and filter the results when all we know is the site location," says Public Works Engineering Tech Thomas Trammell.
For Bob Trammell, the benefit of integrating Laserfiche with ESRI GIS technology is more than just finding information more easily. "It really expands the value of storing documents electronically, and best of all, it saves money," he concludes.
The results are impressive:
- The City estimates the personnel hours saved at over $18,000, because the public can search and retrieve information through the City’s public Website.
- Two staff members have retired, and the City hasn’t had to hire new employees to replace them—an annual savings of over $163,000 before benefits.
- The City has saved close to $220,000 just in the Public Works Department, with additional savings for other Departments that are difficult to quantify.
- There are considerable time savings for staff researching new and existing projects and plans.
- Developers and engineers say that public access to Laserfiche has sped up new development, because they can find answers to site conditions immediately, without paying additional fees or waiting for city staff to respond.
- Emergency response staff, including the Fire, Police and Building Departments, can retrieve plans and permits while on scene, simply by selecting a parcel.
- HAZMAT staff can pull information on hazardous material locations for the Fire Department, without driving to the office in the middle of the night.