Credit: ESRI, Inc.
A well-managed geographic information system (GIS) can help an agency plan and execute an efficient snow-fighting program.
Configuring an AVL system
Automatic vehicle location (AVL) technology uses a range of technologies—from satellites to computer workstations—to manage snowfighting vehicles.
A snowfighter's glossary
AVL (automatic vehicle location)—The representation of a moving vehicle on a map using GPS to determine location and a communication link to transmit information.
Communications link—In AVL applications, it is used to transmit information across distance. The most common format is a cellular phone link. A proprietary terrestrial (radio) network can be used, as well as a satellite-based link in rural settings where no other service is available. For simple “location only” applications, a GPS-enabled Nextel phone is an inexpensive option.
GPS (global positioning system)—A constellation of 24 satellites, developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, that orbits the earth at an altitude of 20,200 km. These satellites transmit signals that allow a GPS receiver anywhere on earth to calculate its own location.
Load balancing—An equitable division of labor among all snow-plow operators covering a service area.
Logical network—An assemblage of behavioral rules associated with a particular road feature, such as speed limit, one- or two-way traffic, or turn restrictions of an intersection.
Network—An interconnected set of lines and points representing geographic features, such as roads and intersections, on which resources can be moved; a digital representation of streets and their features.
Street data—A network data set representing a service area of particular interest. Many agencies maintain their own data, purchase commercially available data, or use a combination of both.
Turf cutting—As it pertains to snow fighting, the partitioning of a service area into discrete subsets, each served by one snowplow.