The 112,000 citizens of the City of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma enjoy a rich history dating back to the early 1900’s. The city began as an agricultural community and has since greatly expanded its economy- so much so, that it is ranked third in the state for its concentration of manufacturers. The City of Broken Arrow works hard to boost itself economically and, in more recent years, the city has increased cultural and social interaction with citizens.
The City of Broken Arrow is actively promoting its Parks and Recreation activities. Over 800 acres of public land, to include 38 parks throughout the city, are designated for public use. A variety of recreational opportunities are accessible for families in active and passive green space, and for special events like the Daddy Daughter Dance, Concerts in the Park, Track and Field Day, Movies in the Park, Mom and Son Luau, and the Kids Fishing Derby. The city is also working on a large-scale events park (165 acres) to hold large events and festivals.
With this influx in activities and growing population, the City of Broken Arrow needed a better management system for its Parks and Recreation activities. Geographic Technologies Group (GTG) has been the City of Broken Arrow’s main GIS consulting services provider for over ten years. From generic software services to strategic planning GTG has provided an array of services for the city. That is why, when presented with the newest solution for parks and recreation technology, the city was eager to experience GTG’s newest product, GreenCityGIS. This Esri-based software developed for Parks and Recreation Departments introduces an innovative, enterprise, and sustainable GIS management and analysis system that changes the way the Parks and Recreation Departments function, operate, and think about data.
GreenCityGIS is broken into 3 main steps: database design/creation, onsite inventory, and application development. The first step, known as the design and creation of the database, gave GTG the opportunity to understand Broken Arrow’s project expectations and build a bespoke database to fulfill these expectations as efficiently as possible. Once the database was built, GTG staff arrived onsite to complete the second step of the GreenCityGIS process: inventory. Conducting the inventory is a very thorough process and requires a high level of detail and accuracy. During collection, GTG staff record the location of each park asset which includes custom attributes such as condition, manufacturer, last maintenance date, and a photograph at the time of collection. By producing this information, city staff now have easily accessible information at their fingertips that enables them to make quick, accurate, and educated decisions.
Upon completing inventory of all 38 Broken Arrow City Parks, GTG began the development of four applications. Although each application plays a different role they all work hand-in-hand with one another. The first two applications developed include a GIS Web Viewer and a software-based Operations Dashboard. These two applications were developed specifically to be used internally by city staff and to increase efficiency throughout the city. The two remaining applications are public-facing, intended for use by the citizens of Broken Arrow. These two applications, namely the Park Locator and the Park Story Map, allow for the quick search, query, and visualization of city parks. While similar in purpose, they differ greatly in detail and functionality. The Park Locator allows citizens to search, query, and filter all city parks based on amenities available within them. For example: if a family wants to find a park that offers baseball fields for batting practice, a pool for their champion swimmer, and a picnic pavilion for an afternoon picnic they can do so by selecting these criterion within the application. The Parks Locator will not only present the user with all parks that meet the criteria, but will offer similar parks, display park hours, and calculate directions based on a given location.
The Park Story Map combines interactive mapping with facts, resulting in a responsive visual representation of each park. While Broken Arrow’s Park Locator gives you a high-level overview of their park system, the Park Story Map takes a deep and detailed look into each location by offering a virtual walking tour throughout the city. In addition, the Park Locator is largely text-based with a collection of photographs, whereas the Park Story Map takes the time to paint the beautiful image of each city park through various forms of media including photographs, maps, and videos. Although the functionality and audience differ between applications, the overarching purpose of all GreenCityGIS applications is to improve communication between city staff and citizens creating a user-friendly and informative experience for all.
After the completion of the aforementioned steps, GTG and Broken Arrow entered into multiple training sessions to ensure city staff were comfortable working on each facet of the project. This training taught city staff how to create, edit, and maintain all data and applications within their GreenCityGIS product suite. Being proactive, the City of Broken Arrow signed a maintenance contract with GTG. This contract brings GTG staff onsite once a year to update their system and retrain all staff as the city and software suite continue to grow.
With GreenCityGIS, the city is revolutionizing the way they manage their parks and recreation. The City of Broken Arrow will now be able to more effectively manage their park system while improving citizen engagement and satisfaction.