A Web-Based Implementation of Winter Maintenance Decision Support System (WMDSS) Using GIS and Remote Sensing

Project Details







Iowa Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Transportation
University of Northern Iowa

Principal Investigator
Ramanathan Sugumaran
Co-Principal Investigator
Chris Fulcher
Co-Principal Investigator
Tim Strauss
Co-Principal Investigator
Md. Salim

About the research

Winter maintenance, particularly snow removal and the stress of snow removal materials on public structures, is an enormous budgetary burden on municipalities and nongovernmental maintenance organizations in cold climates. Lately, geo-spatial technologies such as remote sensing, geographical information systems (GIS), and decision support tools are providing valuable assistance in planning snow removal operations. A few researchers recently used geo-spatial technologies for the development of winter maintenance tools. However, most of these winter maintenance tools, while having the potential to address some of the informational needs of snow removal agencies, are not typically placed in the hands of planners and other interested stakeholders. Most tools are not constructed with a nontechnical user in mind and lack an easy-to-use, easily understood interface.

A major goal of the project was to implement a web-based Winter Maintenance Decision Support System (WMDSS) for planning snow removal operations that enhances the capacity of stakeholders (city/county planners, resource managers, transportation personnel, citizens, and policy makers) to evaluate different procedures to manage snow removal assets optimally. This goal was accomplished by integrating geo-spatial analytical techniques (GIS and remote sensing), existing snow removal asset management systems (SRAMS), and web-based spatial decision support systems. In order to extract up-to-date transportation infrastructure features, this study used hyperspectral imagery from the high-resolution Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS). Classifiers such as the Spectral Angle Mapper (SAM), Mixture-tuned Matched Filtering (MTMF) and Mixture-Tuned Matched Filtering combined with Classification and Regression Tree (MTMF-CART) were used to extract the transportation infrastructures. The study found that the MTMF classification method produced the best overall results compared to both the SAM classifier and MTMF-CART methods, and the overall accuracies for the three classifications were 81.89%, 88.92%, and 84.32%, respectively. The web-based decision support system was implemented using the ESRI ArcIMS ActiveX Connector and related web technologies like ASP, JavaScript, HTML, and XML. The expert knowledge is represented as business rules using Visual Rule Studio, and is integrated with the system. The developed system not only manages and allocates resources, but also provides expert advice to assist complex decision making such as routing, optimal resource allocation, and live weather information monitoring. This system was developed in collaboration with Black Hawk County; the City of Columbia, MO; the Iowa DOT; and the cities of Cedar Falls, IA and Waterloo, IA. Demonstration versions of this product were also given to these agencies in order to improve the usability and applicability of the system.

Funding Sources:
Iowa Department of Transportation
U.S. Department of Transportation
University of Northern Iowa