Geography-Environmental Planning and Policy Major Renee Bogart Makes Space for Auburn's Data
As asset manager for the city of Auburn, UMF graduate Renee Bogart uses geographic information systems to map and analyze spatial information about the Maine municipality-everything from pavement longevity to optimal snow plowing routes.
"It's a really powerful tool," says Bogart of G.I.S. software, "if you know how to apply it to the right areas."
Fundamental to Bogart's job is determining which areas of municipal data management can and should be "spatially enabled." For Auburn's Department of Public Works, for instance, she developed a G.I.S. map featuring not only streets, but also culverts, storm drains, underground conduits, fire hydrants, and traffic signage-plus all the associated maintenance and repair records. Thus, when a citizen reports a problem, public works can pinpoint its location and see nearby road features that are up for scheduled improvement.
"With G.I.S., we can be proactive rather than just reactive," she says. "Ganging up projects saves time and money."
When the city's director of public works sought ways to avoid "dead heading" (a plow-truck driver returning for more sand over already plowed roads), Bogart used the G.I.S. database to "virtually run through routes," modeling truck-to-truck and truck-to-depot proximity along Auburn's 280 miles of paved roads.
"Seeing all the routes mapped out," she says, "you have the ability to maximize fuel efficiency and get the roads plowed faster."
Bogart also plans to use G.I.S. technology to give police officers a complete and nearly instant record of police responses to a location. Imagine, she explains, a rookie officer responding to a noise complaint: "If there's a history of domestic violence calls at the address, the officer could better anticipate what he or she might be walking into."
Bogart says she's had to become a quick study of police, fire, and public works departments to develop their G.I.S. data layers and asset management records. But, she says, majoring in both geography and environmental planning and policy at UMF gave her "the ability to be very versatile" with G.I.S.
"I've had to just listen and learn as much as possible," says Bogart, who was named Auburn's Rookie of the Year employee. "I like to see the value of efficiency, especially because we're working with taxpayer money. I live here, too, and I want to see everything run smoothly."