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BLADERUNNER: GPS SUPPORTFOR DSNY FIELD OPERATIONSJoseph Greco, CIOTom Jelliffe, Business AnalysisGame-Changing Initiatives for Solid WasteThe Cooper UnionJune 10, 2015

AGENDA1. History2. Challenge3. Solution4. BladeRunner Functions – Field5. BladeRunner Functions – HQ/Management6. Future Enhancements7. Technology8. Lessons Learned2

HISTORY-After a severe blizzard hit New York City in 2010, DSNYimplemented an online tool to track snow-fighting operations.-A key requirement was to enable New Yorkers to see snowremoval progress – block-by-block, across the entire City.-This substantial effort included installing GPS tracking devices(Motorola flip phones) in most of the fleet. Working with DoITT,applications for internal and public views were implemented.-As the Department used this technology to manage snowclearing operations, new ways to improve and expandoperations came to light, including non-snow related activities.3

CHALLENGE-DSNY tracks and manages over 3,000 snow-fightingassets, including: salt-spreading equipment; plows;mobile supervisors; and vehicles and staff from OtherCity Agencies (OCAs).-Collectively, they must clear more than 19,000 lanemiles of public roadways – often multiple times,depending on the severity of the weather event.-There are more than a dozen different types of routesthat are run for various purposes, such as collections,recycling, CFC evacuation, etc.4

CHALLENGE CONTINUEDField Supervisors must:- During Snow Operations: Oversee 20-50 plows andsalt spreaders in one of NYC’s 59 districts-During Normal Operations: Oversee 15 collectiontrucks and sweepers in traffic and multi-tasking (handsfree, of course!)-Orient themselves when assigned to unfamiliargeographic areasManagers and Executives must:- Report progress of snow clearing efforts – at the Citywide,borough, district and citizen level (through public website).-Be alert to local issues as displayed on public-facingPlowNYC website and correlate with high-complaint areas-Track compliance with all operational orders5

SOLUTION: BLADERUNNER-Implement a highly-customized, next-generation GPSTracking solution, AKA BladeRunner.-BladeRunner was designed from the ground up tomeet the specific needs of DSNY field staff and usersat the headquarters.-An RFP was developed in 2012. From the beginning,business requirements were defined with deep userinvolvement.-The Geographic Information System (GIS) softwareplatform chosen was ESRI, an industry leader inGeospatial technology.6

SOLUTION: BLADERUNNER CONTINUED-We selected an ESRI Partner firm (Critigen) fromavailable City back-drop contract vendors.-An Agile software development life cycle was used,allowing users to flesh out requirements and quickly tryout working code.-The scope included replacement of end-of-life flipphones with dedicated “black box” devices builtspecifically for fleet tracking purposes.-The first phase of BladeRunner was rolled out toproduction in October 2014.7

BLADERUNNER FEATURES: FIELD SUPERVISORS-User interface optimized for Samsung smartphones-Pre-populated with operational data from other systems-Supervisors can easily select vehicles to track-Quick access to truck’s current vital statistics-Stopped truck alerts, options to flag and follow trucks-Ability to display a truck’s route over 8-hour period-Many map layers for daily collection areas and facilities-Search feature to locate facilities and ‘Find-me’ to orientsupervisor and provide detail on current location8


BLADERUNNER FEATURES: FIELDDetails:-AddressIn garage?# DumpsUp/Down?GPS OK?# Salt loadsCenter TruckFlag TruckAlerts on/off10


BLADERUNNER FEATURES: FIELDAlerts-Yellow (30’-45’)-Orange (45’-60’)-Red (60’ )12


BLADERUNNER FEATURES: FIELDTrack Route-8-hour interval14

BLADERUNNER FEATURES: FIELDScheduledCollection Areas15



BLADERUNNER’S BASE MAP- 11 zoom levels,from Citywide toblock details- City-standard basemap includes:- County, borough,District, policeprecinct borders- Streets with namesand traffic direction- Parks, water bodies- Building outlines18


BLADERUNNER FEATURES: HEADQUARTERSFor Managers:-User interface optimized for Citywide and borough overviews-Pick groups of trucks by assigned functions, identified bydistinctive icons (Plowing, Salting, Collection, Supervision)-Map layers for street priority/sectors, time since lastplowed/salted-Map layer and data grid giving percent completed for Plowingand Salting, by district/boro/City and street priorities/sectors.-Formatted screen prints for history and sharing aroundthe organization.20







FUTURE ENHANCEMENTSAdditional map layers showing:-Time block was last serviced (field)-Percent route/area completed (field)-Display 311 complaints/clusters on the mapAdditional capabilities:-Find trucks that traversed a specific location during atime period.-Have ability to communicate from the field to HQ aboutalerts, complaints, weather, etc.27

FUTURE ENHANCEMENTS CONTINUED-Issue operations orders from HQ to the field-Integration with:-Supervisors’ daily activity logs-Daily operations scheduling system-Accident reporting-Replay history of blocks serviced for a full district in a storm-Expanded reporting, simulation and analysis-Digital turn-by-turn directions for drivers-Explore route optimization28

TECHNOLOGY: OVERVIEWGPS signalsare sent onaverage every12 seconds perdevice 960,000 signalsper hour.DSNY Vehicle w/GPS DeviceESRI ProcessingServersOracle BladeRunnerDatabaseGPS SatelliteCellularNetworkGPS SQL ServerGPS SignalProcessing ServersBladeRunner29

TECHNOLOGY: DEDICATED GPS DEVICES-DSNY chose to use dedicated devices for the secondgeneration GPS system.-Advanced GPS capabilities - 50 channel GPS Receiver, 2meter location accuracy, US Military Specification for shockand vibration.-Installed under vehicle dashboard to minimize damage.-Can be used with an external antenna to improve accuracy.-Over-the-air management capability to install patches, checkhealth, reboot device, etc.-Serial ports to enable additional sensor inputs.-Piloted a “dead reckoning” (DR) device to mitigate “urbancanyon effect” in certain areas.CalAmp LMU 4225 device30

KEY CHALLENGE: POSITION ACCURACYInternalantennaExternalantenna31

TECHNOLOGY: SOFTWARE-The application is built on the C#.NET platform.-It was conceived and designed as a mobile applicationfrom the beginning; the display is highly optimized forsmart phone usage.-A proprietary system (Rastrac) is used for collectingGPS data points, providing system management tools,and generating public-facing information on when ablock was last serviced (during snow).-Rastrac processes the raw GPS signals to link eachGPS location point to a specific block in the City’sstreet network (“snap-to-grid”).32

TECHNOLOGY: SOFTWARE CONTINUED-ESRI-based servers are used to further relate GPSpoints to specific map views which DSNY maintainsand controls internally.-ESRI geo-fencing services are used to identify whethera GPS point is located within the boundaries of garage,a salt dome or a disposal location.-Oracle and MS-SQL databases are used for storinglarge quantities of GPS points which are processedby multiple ESRI and BladeRunner servers.33

LESSONS LEARNED-Do not underestimate level of effort. AVL GPS systemsare very complicated.-Data volumes are extreme and specializedarchitectures are required.-Determine the level of accuracy required upfront beforeevaluating tracking device options.-Clearly define operational requirements: If you are afirst responder or have a public-facing component,increase your time/budget for failover design and addextra time for stress and load testing.34

LESSONS LEARNED CONTINUED-Conduct extensive device testing in all representativegeographic operating areas.-Urban Canyon effect - impact on street painting-Organizational change management is required toachieve maximum operational benefit.-Minimize the number of vendors involved in buildingand maintaining the system.-Understand the entire end-to-end architecture for bothhardware and software; your weakest link will kill you.35


6 . SOLUTION: BLADERUNNER - Implement a highly -customized, next-generation GPS Tracking solution, AKA Blad

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