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Title: Enhancements to El Paso's GIS-based Infrastructure Management Systems

Funding Agency: The City of El Paso

Research Supervisor: Dr. Carlos M. Chang Albitres, Ph.D., PE

Length: 2 years

In the year 2006, El Paso experienced what was named "Storm 2006". The rain in El Paso continued nonstop and in the course of a few days, parts of El Paso were flooded and failure of drainage infrastructures also caused damaged to nearby streets and buildings. Many buildings, homes, and streets were damaged or destroyed. All parts of El Paso suffered from damage. Transvista estimated the cost of public infrastructure damage to be $21 million and the private property including residential and commercial property damage to be $77 million. The City of El Paso realized the need for an update to their infrastructure management system and funded the research project to UTEP.

The goal of the research project was to enhance the City's infrastructure management information system to provide faster and easier methods to locate information about the storm water drainage infrastructure system and be able to locate weaknesses in the infrastructure system. The objective entailed gathering and verifying data on the City's storm water drainage infrastructure assets and integrating the data to the Geographical Information System (GIS) software.

The project was divided into four tasks. Task 1 was to develop a GIS layer for storm water drainage infrastructure assets. During this task, existing data from design maps were reviewed to extract data needed of drainage design structures. Students conducted field surveys and took pictures of drainage to verify location and condition. The storm water drainage was integrated into GIS to provide all data in the one GIS file. Task 2 was to develop a visualization tool to quickly determine weaknesses in the infrastructure system. This was done by programming a new tool on GIS to calculate under capacitated drainage structures that would show up red on the GIS map. The city can use this to make those structures a priority for repair. Task 3 and 4 involved enhancing their GIS layers for traffic signals and fiber optics. Tasks 1 and 2 have been completed and 3 and 4 are to be completed by the summer of 2009.