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As part of the City’s current Sewer and Water Master Plan developments, we needed to develop a GIS mapping system to allow engineers to GPS pinpoint our infrastructure with the highest degree of accuracy. The new master plan mapping will have items such as piping, valves, manholes, and fire hydrants GPS located on the master plan maps, allowing our utility staff and fire department to immediately locate facilities in the field 24/7 on laptops, I-Pads, or compatible mobile phones (with internet connection). Our first ever GIS Mapping System was rolled out on March 21st with streets, topo, and sewer line layers already installed on the map.
The City previously only had a large PDF “copy” of an overall sewer and water map for our transmission mains and hydrants. The PDF copy dimensions just drawn as an approximate location and were not accurate enough to use for line locates and not compatible with any engineering GIS maps or the Texas State Plane Coordinate GIS Mapping System. All detail mapping showing exactly where a main, valve, manhole, or hydrant is actually located, could only be found on hundreds detailed construction or of engineering drawings stored in the engineering office at City Hall. If we had after hours emergency needs to locate a water line, hydrant, or water valve, we could only start shutting off the water valves that we could find, in hopes of isolating a water break. Large water breaks can actually threaten the entire water system if not located, isolated, and repaired as soon as possible.
Texas 811 (the “Call Before You Dig” site) serves as the central source for contractors to call before they dig or bore in a right-of-way. Most contractors mistakenly believed if they called Texas 811, they had satisfied the need to notify all utility companies of their intent to dig or bore. Many contractors found out too late (only after they hit a water or sewer main) that the City of Marshall was not part of Texas 811, only because we could not previously satisfy their requirement of the City of Marshall having a GIS based map for their location mapping. As of mid March, we are now part of their GIS based Texas 811 system and are being notified at the same time as other utilities – before any digging or boring begins in areas near our water or sewer mains.
A live exhibit of the GIS base map was made during the City Commission Meeting on April 13th to demonstrate the benefits of the new GIS mapping system. By the end of April, the Planning Department should be able to simply click on a parcel map layer and pull up all of the information for a lot or property in the City of Marshall that is part of the Harrison County Central Appraisal District data base. The water lines will be added as a layer to the map in October or November when the Water Master Plan is complete. The Fire Department is already working with the Water Utilities Division to update and locate all of nearly 1,100 fire hydrants, including the hydrant water flow and pressure, which is invaluable when fighting a fire.
If you have any questions or need additional information, call our Public Works office at 903-935-4516.