Only 11% of city, county, state, and special district public works departments don't have geographical information systems, according to Bartlett & West Engineers Inc. Not surprisingly, those are also the operations most likely to use paper files, spreads-sheets, and off-the-shelf or customized databases to manage capital projects and permitting.

Eight percent of the 16,701 public works professionals the consulting firm surveyed responded, representing operations serving less than 1,000 residents to those serving more than 1 million. Of the 89% of respondents that have geodatabases, almost half — 47% — make that asset information accessible to the public.