GIS at Core of Planning and NEPA

Nate Reck, director of government solutions with GeoDecisions, has designed and developed numerous enterprise-level GIS applications and processes for state departments of transportation (DOTs) and government agencies throughout the U.S., as well as in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. With more than 16 years of experience, Nate holds a bachelor's degree in GIS from the Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

GeoDecisions is currently working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and its metropolitan and regional planning partner organizations to redesign and replatform PennDOT online methods to capture and process forms, data, and environmental assessments related to project identification and scoping. This information and methodology  drives the link between project planning and outreach activities and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). 

Photo: Environmental Impacts and Scoring via GIS Analysis.

Photo: Environmental Impacts and Scoring via GIS Analysis.

According to the Transportation Research Board (TRB) National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Report 798: The Role of Planning in a 21st Century State Department of Transportation, “state DOTs are no longer just held accountable for the transportation system; they are held accountable for how the system supports and improves quality of life for communities.”   

With that in mind, GeoDecisions, along with its parent company, Gannett Fleming, Inc., and PennDOT are focused on putting GIS mapping and spatial analysis at the heart of planning improvements. Driving the workflows using data and GIS functionality will ensure data quality and a better experience for end-users both in the office and out in the field. 

The redesign will be complete in Summer of 2017, and will provide a streamlined and workflow-driven solution for collecting project information and locations, and administering environmental scoring and impact detection. A mobile local collaboration application to assist with project field studies and local agency meetings, input, and signoffs will also be available. This redesign is at the top of the Secretary of Transportation's initiatives list, and will revolutionize the process to better meet the needs of various sizes of user communities and local agencies throughout the Commonwealth.