Redlands, USA, October 1, 2007: Minneapolis commuters who need to navigate the constantly changing barriers that surround the Interstate 35W bridge collapse area can create personal routes via a Web application built with ArcWeb Services, which are ESRI’s hosted GIS Web services APIs. Within three days of the disaster, the city had a complete two-tier application designed and deployed to help keep the city functioning.
Following the disastrous Minneapolis bridge collapse on Wednesday, August 1, 2007, the city was ensnared as travellers attempted to reroute to get to their destinations across the Mississippi River. Traffic barriers set to accommodate rescue operations blocked passage, and major streets were closed. Using the ArcWeb Services Flex API, an ESRI software architect quickly put together a two-tiered Web application that consists of a public-facing Web page and an administrative Web page. The administrative Web page allows the city administrators to define barrier locations. These barriers changed from day to day because of disaster command post needs and continue to change in response to cleanup efforts. For example, a street that is closed in the morning may be reopened in the afternoon and another street closed, so a commuter’s route to work could be very different than the route back home. The city posts this dynamic data immediately on its Web site.
Lynn Willenbring, Minneapolis chief information officer, explains, “When the bridge collapsed, it was critical that we get information out to everyone that lives in Minneapolis so they knew how to circumnavigate this major artery, which was no longer available for getting in and out of the city. Working closely with ESRI, we were able to very quickly launch the application. By the time the true commuting started on the days following the collapse, citizens were able to quickly understand the best route for them to take, over and above what was provided at the state level by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.”