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geoAMPS to discuss software solutions at AASHTO meeting

Douglas Pulsipher / flickr

Tracking right of way; public assets, including transportation corridors and utilities; and outdoor advertising along the nation’s highway system poses significant challenges for state departments of transportation (DOT).

Faced with limited staff and budgets, departments have attempted to meet these challenges with paper records or outdated databases and spreadsheets. That is a recipe for errors and inefficiencies, resulting in unnecessary expense of limited tax dollars.

Fortunately there are technological solutions available to help DOTs address these daunting tasks. Representatives of geoAMPS, a technology company in the Columbus, OH, area, will be available to discuss those solutions with transportation officials at the meeting of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Subcommittee on Right of Way, Utilities and Outdoor Advertising scheduled April 27-May 1. The meeting will be at the Little America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
This meeting is being held in conjunction with the National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies (NAHBA) Annual Conference on the Control of Outdoor Advertising.

Among the suite of software products offered by geoAMPS are those that can help transportation agencies track and acquire right of way, track infrastructure and control outdoor advertising (ODA).
dotAMPS is a single solution for end-to-end management of road and mass transportation projects. It provides effective tools to track right of way and ODA along roadways. It automates many of the processes involved in ODA control. Each of these products is Web-based software supported by a centralized database, allowing for projects to be completed in a real-time, paperless environment that enables collaboration, efficiency and error reduction.

With an optional detached platform for field agents, an optional mobile application for on-the-go users and optional GIS capability, dotAMPS delivers a complete integrated solution for mass transportation projects.

dotAMPS features built-in automation that can help streamline the ODA permit application process, creating an end-to-end solution to manage the process from submission of the application to the agency’s decision. In a number of states, the applicant must complete, fill out and mail the application. Absent the use of technology from the start, DOT staff is left to input information into a database for review, or process and file paper copies. This can be time-consuming, sometimes exceeding three hours of in-house personnel time for each application.

Efficiencies can be realized with a system that supports online submission and download of documentation. In a paperless environment, DOT staff can make an initial review of such information as square footage, height, estimated location and other specifications, such as lighting. Working from the state’s ODA regulations, the dotAMPS can bring attention to details in the application that may not comply. The software can greatly reduce time spent on non-conforming applications.

The benefits can also be realized by inspectors who do on-site reviews of proposed ODA areas. The process can be accomplished more efficiently with the use of mobile devices that access the centralized database. DOT staff can do on-site analysis and receive feedback in real time. This reduces time spent doing revisions. It can also reduce return trips if the inspector discovers the need for additional information once he arrives on-site. Pictures can be taken of the site location and uploaded into the case file, as well as notes about topography, land use, buildings, or distances from other ODA or the nearest intersection or interchange. Using location-based spatial analysis, the inspector can determine the exact location at which the sign should be placed to achieve compliance with requirements on proximity to existing billboards. The use of voice-to-text can greatly reduce the amount of time spent preparing notes.

Another issue for DOTs is recordkeeping of previous inquiries about ODA. Some states utilize a database, while some still rely on staff members’ memory. Not having a centralized system of previous applications and inquiries for the same location causes unnecessary work that can easily be avoided. Location-specific searches can be accomplished quickly with Web-based software, accessing records not only on decisions made on previous inquiries and applications, but also the proximity of existing ODA.

Most states process renewals of existing permits. Renewals are usually processed annually, all of them at a designated time of year or individually on the anniversary of when the permit was originally approved. In either case, the process can cause significant challenges.

Technology can streamline the renewal process. dotAMPS supports an automated, comprehensive and flexible payment process. Once all information is input into the file for any particular sign, DOT staff can code the software to generate the essential permit renewal information – such as sign owner, history, cost, billing address and renewal date – automatically. The invoice can go out by mail or, if the agency requires it or the sign owner prefers, online. The software can also track payments. DOT staff time related to a renewal is limited to updating the permit information in the database. Providing the agency has been notified, changes to the file require minimal work.

Manpower and resources also are concerns DOTs share in conducting regular, accurate ODA inventories. With mobile devices and other tools, inspectors can check the signage seen from the roadway against the Web-based system, learning instantaneously whether a sign was erected according to required specifications. Unauthorized or illegal signs are identified. Using these tools, an inspector can inventory ODA along many miles of applicable highways in an efficient manner. Information for illegal signs, such as pictures and location, can be shared electronically with agency officials for possible enforcement action, including removal.

rowAMPS helps organizations, including DOTs, manage right of way projects. rxrAMPS is designed to track railroad assets and manage new rail projects.

rowAMPS provides a centralized repository for managing all land rights and infrastructure asset information for one or multiple projects, including transportation projects. The rowAMPS solution allows organizations to manage right-of-way projects and land assets in a real-time, paperless environment that enables collaboration, efficiency and error reduction. rowAMPS provides detailed coverage of all right-of-way processes, such as route planning, budgeting, due diligence, negotiation with property owners, title, survey, acquisition, environmental, payments and legal.

rxrAMPS allows transportation agencies and rail companies to streamline the process of managing the construction and maintenance of new track and railroad facilities. Operated through a centralized web database, rxrAMPS provides a real-time, electronic tracking environment that enables collaboration, time savings and error reduction across projects.

geoAMPS representatives are looking forward to discussing the advantages of our software solutions with transportation officials at the AASHTO meeting in Salt Lake City. Meeting attendees are invited to visit geoAMPS’ booth to learn more about these opportunities.

Dan Liggett is Communications and Public Relations Manager for geoAMPS, a technology company located in the Columbus, Ohio, area that specializes in software solutions to manage land rights and infrastructure assets. For more information, call 614-389-4871 or visit
This article also appears in:
Renewable Energy World

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