Navajo Tribe taps GIS company for multi-utility mapping

The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority in the Southwestern U.S. is having GPS/GIS mapping inventory done for its electric, water/wastewater and gas utilities concurrently.

Jan. 12, 2001—The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority in the Southwestern U.S. is having GPS/GIS mapping inventory done for its electric, water/wastewater and gas utilities concurrently.

In March of 2000, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA), an enterprise of the Navajo Nation and the governing body for the utilities of the reservation, began soliciting bids to develop a state of the art GPS/GIS mapping system for their utilities. After receiving bids from 14 nation-wide companies, the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority awarded Global Mapping Solutions (GMS) with what is currently the largest GPS/GIS private contract in the United States.

Several innovative ideas and plans, unique to Global Mapping Solutions, will be implemented to aid in the completion and accuracy of this project.

One distinct aspect of this project is that Global Mapping Solutions will be conducting an inventory of electric, water/waste water and gas utilities concurrently. This process is a pioneering step forward in the GPS/GIS industry since most companies concentrate their efforts on one utility when taking an inventory. GMS will be covering an area of approximately 25,000 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

To contend with the vast size of the project Global Mapping Solutions will divide the reservation into 5 sections assigning field crews to each section. Each crew will be responsible for all utilities in their respective areas. As the crews cover their assigned area, their stamina and equipment will be tested as they encounter one of the most diverse environments in the United States.

To counter these conditions all employees will be given access to harsh environment computers and facilitative equipment such as ATV�s, 4 X 4 trucks, and radio communication. In addition all employees received first aid and other safety training prior to beginning work in the field.

Allowing GMS to complete the Navajo Indian Reservation Project in the unprecedented manner of taking inventory of utilities concurrently is the development of FMGPS software. Utilizing a combined 15 years experience in the GPS/GIS industry, Global Mapping Solutions set out to develop software that would aid in the process of field data collection and meet a growing need for a complete field data collection application.

�We were looking for something that would streamline the data collection process and provide a more accurate end product,� says Vice President Trip Chavis. With this in mind, Global Mapping Solutions developed FMGPS. FMGPS allows users to use real time display to monitor data collected as well as establish database relational and topological associations while in the field. In addition, FMGPS allows field crews to establish lines (i.e. conductor, pipe etc.) while in the field, resulting in a topologically sound deliverable product. FMGPS is a totally interactive application, providing the user and the client with the flexibility needed for seamless GPS/GIS integration.

The vast size of the project, the diverse environment and the fact that all utilities are going to be inventoried concurrently will make this project unique and challenging. GMS has assembled a team of professionals from around the country to help complete this task in the most accurate and efficient manner possible. GMS is looking forward to working with the NTUA over the next 18 months in completing this exciting and innovative project.

Global Mapping Solution was founded in 1999 to address the needs of integrating GPS field data collection and GIS design and implementation to utility industries. The company offers GPS/GIS consulting, GPS field data collection services and GIS design to a wide variety of clients throughout the United States. In addition, GMS is an authorized dealer for Lasercraft Inc., Fujitsu Pentop computers and Trimble GPS Equipment. For more information visit

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