After studying the technology in the real world with real-world safety requirements, the Minnesota DOT (MnDOT) issued a policy for using drones to inspect bridges. (Get all the details, including manufacturers and models, here.)

The diverging diamond interchange (DDI) at the Minneapolis airport is the nation’s only DDI with a commuter rail line running through it.

Jennfer Hughes and Eric Dargan graciously allowed me (in the middle) to tag along with them as they checked out American Public Works Association convention exhibitors.
David Totman Jennfer Hughes and Eric Dargan graciously allowed me (in the middle) to tag along with them as they checked out American Public Works Association convention exhibitors.

You no longer need a degree in GIS to use Esri’s products! Free plug-ins enable anyone with a smartphone to develop an app for virtually any public works activity in three or fewer clicks. Attendees Eric Dargan and Jennifer Hughes were impressed with ArcGIS Maps for Office, which automatically maps Excel spreadsheets. (By the way, a personal thanks to Eric and Jennifer for letting me wander the show with them.)

Speaking of apps, the National Weather Service’s NWSChat instant messaging program lets first responders “talk” to each other without having to install third-party software or worry about local network firewalls.

Thanks to Kim Lundgren and JC Alonzo, I now understand the difference between APWA’s Center for Sustainability (CS4) and the Envision infrastructure sustainability rating system. The former is for public agencies that want to operate sustainably; the latter. for designing and building sustainable projects. (By the way, CS4 has a free toolkit for any public agency, not just APWA members.)

Thanks also to Scott Grayson, Laura Bynum, Chuck Zibbel (for letting me crash the Ohio Chapter dinner for yet another year), Bob Ruschman, Steve Weinstock, and Mike Millette (again, in no particular order).

Next week I’ll share five more things. (Bet you can hardly wait!)