Thanks to MUTCD requirements, all PW departments have to take the time to keep tabs on their street signs. The question is how. According to Reid, many agencies have been less than thorough in the job.

"A lot of us have been doing a hit-and-miss over the years," says Reid. "Well, the days of reactive-only government are over."

Having employees walk the roads and write on clipboards was out of the question for a city with 2320 centerline miles. Instead, the city opted for taking thousands of photos all over the city, then using automatic image recognition to process them. The software narrowed down the number of photos that contained signs, saving a great deal of time that would be required to manually review every photo. The end result: Nashville has an effective GIS-based sign inventory that costs a fraction of what a more traditional method would have.

For more information, contact Reid at