Parks and Recreation Technology Roadmap
Parks and Recreation Technology Roadmap
O Oakland County Michigan The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Technology Roadmap is a result of extensive onsite interviews and will leverage county technology strategies to facilitate development and use of information technology solutions in the Parks and Recreation Department. April 08 Parks and Recreation Technology Roadmap ]
2 ‐ Introduction The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Technology Roadmap, or plan, will leverage county technology strategies and facilitate development and use of information technology solutions in the Parks and Recreation Department.
The components of this plan will enable successful technology implementation and promote long‐term sustainability. The technology roadmap leverages enterprise technologies and objectives found in the County’s IT Strategic Plan to accomplish a series of agency‐specific initiatives. As implementation continues, more detailed projects (defined objectives, budget, and timelines) will be scoped to guide the implementation of specific technology initiatives outlined in this plan.
Background Information Oakland County has abundant and diverse recreational resources, including an evolving countywide system of trails and paths. In 42 years, the Oakland County Parks System has grown to more than 6,000 acres of natural landscapes and outdoor recreation. The 13 County parks, which are managed by the Parks and Recreation Department, offer natural landscapes for year‐ round recreation with 5 golf courses, 2 waterparks, 2 campgrounds and 2 nature centers. Parks and Recreation operates additional programs and facilities including a Bicycle Motocross track, an adaptive recreation program, an outdoor amphitheater, and conference and banquet facilities.
Platform Tennis courts, a mobile recreation program, as well as numerous special activities, events and classes, are also offered. Oakland County Parks and Recreation and its partners, the Oakland Trails Advisory Council (OTAC), have teamed up to expand and coordinate a network of trails (OakRoutes) throughout Oakland County. Major trail ways include:Polly Ann Trail, Paint Creek, Clinton River, Huron Valley, Lakes Community and West Bloomfield trails. These converted railroad corridors are a key component of the County’s primary trail system. Currently 86 miles of the primary system are completed, 15 miles are in the planning and development stage and another 145 miles are under consideration.
The trails will be used to link residents to parks, schools, downtowns and community centers throughout the County.
3 ‐ In addition to providing recreational opportunities throughout Oakland County, the Parks and Recreation Department is charged with acquiring, improving and maintaining quality parks that support the community’s values for the preservation of natural areas and open spaces, equity of access, and the natural heritage of Oakland County. A comprehensive approach to resource management within the Park System is employed to ensure the value of natural assets are maximized and preserved. Bridge to the Future As a part of the development of the 2008 Parks and Recreation Strategic Plan, extensive onsite interviews, reviews of past reports, and discussions with Parks and Recreation representatives were conducted to assess how information technology and data are currently used.
When appropriate, follow‐up interviews were held to reaffirm the original notes. The result of those interviews is a technology roadmap for Parks and Recreation that will be used to guide future investments in information technology.
In the “Bridge to the Future” section of the plan, a high‐ level strategy for the use of technology in the Parks and Recreation Department has been defined. This strategy is reflected in the Mission Statement. Critical Success Factors, and Guiding Principles have been quantified to ensure organizational support and sustainable use of technology. In addition, supporting Program Areas have been developed to meet critical business needs and effectuate the strategy. Ultimately, these program areas will provide the foundation for the implementation of specific technology projects.
Mission Statement To enhance the management, and maximize the use, of County Parks assets and services through the implementation of information technology and managed data.
Oakland County Parks strives to be recognized and viewed by citizens as a “World Class” park system that: meets the standards for high quality parks, natural areas and open spaces; that provides safe, clean, accessible, and affordable parks, trails, recreational facilities and services; that creates community through people, parks, and programs; that connects the community to a variety of outdoor recreation experiences while supporting economic development, connectivity of residents, and health and wellness in a financially sustainable system Vision Statement from Parks and Recreation Commission 2008 Strategic Plan
- Parks and Recreation Commission and Board of Commissioners support and commitment.
- Commitment of, and support from, an organizational “champion”.
- Continuous and sustainable financial and organizational commitment.
- Ability to recognize opportunities to improve workflows through the use of technology and data.
- An openness to new technology and improved workflows.
- Effective and applicable research and development.
- Continuous education and training of Parks and Recreation staff. Guiding Principles Guiding principles are direction‐setting statements that provide a foundation for the Program Areas contained within the Parks and Recreation Technology Roadmap. They ensure future technology investments are made in a manner that is consistent with the strategy set forth in this plan.
- All Parks and Recreation organizational units will be treated as equal and important partners.
- Technology and data will be leveraged to streamline current business processes and enhance customer service offerings.
- Data will be treated as an “asset” and shared across organizational units, except where security and confidentiality warrants otherwise.
- The collection and maintenance of asset data will be managed centrally within Parks and Recreation.
- Location‐based technology will be leveraged to manage assets and to enhance service offerings.
- Technology solutions will be designed with a focus on simplicity so that minimal training will be necessary for seasonal staff.
- Existing County information technology solutions will be leveraged to mitigate capital and operational expenses.
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- Where appropriate, Parks and Recreation information technology solutions will be made available to locals CVTs to offset costs that would otherwise encumber CVTs.
- Successful development of information technology will be used to promote Parks and Recreation as a leader in the recreation and conservation communities. Program Areas This section outlines a series of Program Areas (Figure 1) developed to support the Mission. There are three separate Program Areas; Fundamental Data, Hardware and Connectivity, and Application Solutions. Each of these program areas has been designed to complement one another and support long‐term, sustainable use of information technology within the Parks and Recreation Department.
- Figure 1: Technology Roadmap Program Areas Specific success measures will be used to monitor the success of technology deployment within these Program Areas. Those success measures include:
- Increased productivity
- More efficient use of resources
- Provision of additional services
- Increased access to information
- More accurate and informed decision‐making Organizational Support
6 ‐ Detailed projects that are a direct result of this Roadmap will be incorporated in the County’s IT Master Plan (www.oakgov.com/pmo) and six year Return on Investment (ROI) analyses will be completed to ensure sound financial investments are made.
Organizational support within the Parks and Recreation Department will increase the probability of sustaining a successful technology implementation. The implementation of information technologies will require changes in current work assignments as new responsibilities are borne. The proper organizational design will promote the technical development of resources inside Parks and Recreation and ensure coordination with countywide programs, standards and initiatives. Organizational changes will be an evolutionary process. Initially, key individual(s) from the Information Technology and Parks and Recreation, will be assigned the responsibility of executing the Technology Roadmap and promoting technology transfer.
Furthermore, as implementation continues and technology education and experience of the Parks and Recreation staff increases, responsibilities will also be adjusted. The long‐term goal is to formalize and centralize IT expertise through the creation of Parks and Recreation Technology Team. The Team will serve as a core group of technical experts dedicated to the management of data and technology in Parks and Recreation. The team will become a service‐oriented group and provide technical expertise, support and assistance to those individuals using the technology to perform Parks program activities.
Specific organizational roles will evolve over time and as the implementation of the Roadmap continues.
Fundamental Data Reliable and defensible data, or information, is critical to Parks and Recreation’s future. Furthermore, information will be the underpinning of application solutions deployed to support decision‐making and service delivery. This program area will focus on the automation, organization and management of data themes for which Parks and Recreation is the custodian. When fully implemented, this program area will establish “trusted sources”1 of essential data that will be leveraged in application services described later in this Plan. At a department‐level, four major themes (Figure 2) of data or information are important to Parks and Recreation.
These major themes are Revenue, Service, Customer and Asset. 1 Open, reliable, current, and essential sources of information used in organizational decision‐making.
7 ‐ Revenue represents the income Parks and Recreation receives from two separate categories. Generally, revenue comes directly from tax levies or from the use of facilities and services provided within the Parks System. Ensuring revenue is efficiently entered in the County’s financial system and attributed to the appropriate Parks and Recreation service and/or asset will be critical to the management of this data. Figure 2: Parks and Recreation Data Themes Customer represents the individuals who purchase admission and/or services provided within the Parks System. Customer needs captured through interactions (human, automated or combinations of both) will translate in to more effective service delivery and use of the Parks System.
Customers serve as a basis for marketing and measured satisfaction assessments that guide program development. Knowing “who” Parks and Recreation customers are, and managing the occurrence of Parks customer’s uniquely, will be critical to the management of this data.
Service represents the tangible and intangible goods provided within the Parks System. Generally, they are quantified as a series of intangible recreational uses or activities afforded to the customer when payment is rendered. In this case, they also include related tangible goods (logo products, maps, etc.) that are used to promote the Parks and Recreation brand. Services are the basis for revenue analyses and are associated with assets provided within the Parks System. Maintaining a comprehensive and reliable source of services that are attributed to specific assets within the Parks System will be critical to the management of this data.
Asset represents the physical and natural features present within the Parks System. Generally, they are structural elements (roads, facilities, infrastructure, etc.) that provide the framework Revenue Customer Service Asset
8 ‐ for recreational use. In this case, assets also include the natural features (wetlands, woodlands, etc.) within the Parks System that are essential to environmental conservation and serve as amenities for those who use County Parks. Assets serve as a basis for other fundamental themes of data. Furthermore, the location of these assets in the real world and their relationship to one another will be critical to the management of this data. Access to reliable Customer, Service and Revenue information will be an outcome of the implementation and use of application services discussed later in this Plan.
As implementation of these application services begin, specific characteristics of these information themes will be quantified. At that time, proper custodianship (who is the source of information within organization), maintenance cycles, accessibility, existing information, and appropriate use will all be defined. Throughout the implementation of these application services, “trusted sources” of Customer, Service and Revenue will be clearly identified so that deployment of these business applications can be achieved without compromising the integrity of these data themes. Specific attention must be paid early in the adoption of the Technology Roadmap to the Asset data theme because of its fundamental impact on Parks and Recreation business functions and customer services.
Currently, this information is in a variety of sources and formats (hardcopy drawings, computer aided design files, GIS and GPS files, etc.). In addition, the currency of this information varies and is a concern. Going forward, representatives from Information Technology and Parks and Recreation will complete a design, migration and conversion of current Parks and Recreation asset data to a central repository of asset information that utilizes location to organize content. Information stored in this central repository will be automated when it is provided to, or created by, Parks and Recreation.
Existing data automation procedures, developed by the Information Technology to ensure the integration of similar data, will be incorporated where appropriate to ensure reliability, currency and accessibility increases. Quality assurance procedures will be developed to verify the accuracy of the converted data. At a minimum, data content, data accuracy and location‐based attributes will be verified.
This new central repository of asset information will be standardized so it can leverage other County location‐based data (parcel ownership, natural features, aerial imagery, topography, hydrography, transportation, demographic, etc.) to provide a rich source of information. This information can be used to manage operational needs within current parks; or plan future parkland, open space, and trail ways acquisition efforts. It will also serve as a basis for asset management, project costing, and reservation application services deployed within Parks and Recreation. The implementation of a central repository of asset information will ensure physical and natural resources contained within the Parks System are consistently organized by location, current and reliable.
9 ‐ One or more detailed projects will be formulated to address the needs within this Program Area. Organizing the Asset data theme will be started early in the deployment of the Technology Roadmap because it can leverage existing GIS infrastructure (data, servers, software, etc.) the County already owns. Moreover, the timeline necessary to organize existing sources of information will generally takelonger than starting with a “clean slate” and a new system. Getting an early start on this project will avoid future delays as application services are deployed.
Hardware and Connectivity The value of Fundamental Data and Application Services will not be recognized without investments in computer hardware and network connectivity throughout the Parks System.
The Hardware and Network Connectivity Program Area will be the delivery platform by which Application Services and Fundamental Data are provided to Parks staff and the constituents they serve. Whenever possible, hardware and connectivity improvements will leverage existing County Information Technology services to ensure interoperability and a managed cost of ownership. The use of standardcommunication protocols will also be important because network‐enabled devices (cameras, information boards, kiosks, etc.) will be required to support application services outlined later in this Plan.
Going forward, Parks and Recreation will employ browser‐ based applications to maximize the value of technology throughout the organization. In summary, this means future application services and data will be deployed through only an Internet browser; and access centrally managed servers. Moreover, data and application services will no longer be distributed to remote park locations. Currently, there is limited network connectivity at the thirteen park locations. Many locations do not have access to the County’s computer network (OakNet), or the public Internet, at all. Generally, if Internet connectivity is available at a park location, it is limited to a main facility on the park grounds.
This fundamental limitation makes it nearly impossible to provide centrally hosted and standardized application services to Parks staff and customers. It also negates the ability to communicate electronically amongst County Parkstaff.
To address this specific limitation, a comprehensive strategywill be deployed to provide network connectivity and Internet access at each of the thirteen park locations. This strategy will employ the use of the County’s OakNet fiber network wherever possible, and be supplemented by private networks (fiber, wireless and cellular) where cost effective. The remote location of several County Parks and the mobile nature of Parks Staff may necessitate the need to evaluate cellular‐based and other wireless Internet connectivity options. And while these options may not
10 ‐ provide the network capacity found in fixed network solutions, they will minimize capital expenditures necessary to provide network connectivity and application accessibility across the entire footprint of the Parks System.
The goal of these network connectivity projects will be two‐fold. The first will be to provide Parks Staff with access to Parks and Recreation Application Services and other County computing services (Internet, Email, Network Drive Access, etc.). This access must be available within park facilities and on grounds throughout the Park. The second will be to provide wireless Internet access as a service to park visitors. The need for, and location of,these wireless hotspots will vary by Park. They may be in focused areas like a clubhouse or nature center. In some cases, they may beexpanded to include larger outdoor geographies like a campground or water park.
In addition to providing Internet access to park visitors, the hotspots will also provide Parks and Recreation an opportunity to market and deliver services to park visitors while they are on park grounds. When complete, all of the thirteen park locations will have an appropriate mix of fixed and wireless network connectivity solutions that provide staff and visitors with the ability to access application services and the Internet as a whole.
Complementing the deployment of network connectivity will be a comprehensive deployment of personal computing devices and printers for Parks staff. The deployment will include a mix of desktop PCs and mobile computing devices that provide appropriate Park staff with a consistent computing environment that complements their role within the organization. A series of network‐enabled workgroup printers that provide a range of hardcopy output formats (color, black & white, etc.) and sizes will also be provided as a part of the deployment.
The desktop PC and mobile computing devices will leverage Information Technology’s current PC standards and employ standard PC technology to mitigate the complexity of this desktop deployment and reduce the long‐ term costs associated with this new robust computing environment.
Every device will be deployed with the Microsoft operating system (XP) and the latest version of Microsoft Office and Internet Explorer. This will provide a consistent computing and communication environment that leverages existing Oakland County Information Technology services (email, Internet access, network services, etc.) and provides a foundation for Parks and Recreation to launch centralized application services and “trusted sources” of data. Network connectivity and appropriate hardware throughout the Parks System would allow Parks and Recreation to distribute “Smart Park Passes” that would trigger un‐manned gates to open as vehicles pulled up at remote park locations.
If the visitor didn’t have a “Smart Park Pass”, they could purchase a day pass using a credit card at a kiosk located at the un‐manned gate.
11 ‐ Office staff will be provided standard desktop PC’s to consume Parks and Recreation application services and other forms of electronic communication. Generally, they will consume these services via a fixed network connection and the use of a web browser. In some cases though, they may need to be enhanced to support more robust GIS analysis and photo/video editing. Parks and Recreation Staff that tend to move from one park to another, or move around within one park itself, will be provided mobile computing devices to consume Parks and Recreation application services and other forms of electronic communication.
The mobile computing deviceswill have embedded cellular and wireless broadband connectivity so access to the Internet, email, and other networked applicationservices can be consumed. Other technologies will be leveraged in the future to support Parks and Recreation program activities. Going forward, a conscious effort will be made by Parks staff and Information Technology to evaluate new technology and its impact on parks services. For example, these technologies will include: Global Positioning Systems (GPS) that allow Parks staff to inventoryphysical assets and natural resources in the field.
GPS information gathered in the field can be used to update Parks and Recreation’s central asset repository. This technology incorporates field data into a larger context using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) so the effectiveness of environmental stewardship programs can be reviewed, or the status of a Capital Improvement Project monitored.
Information Kiosks that allow park visitors to purchase park passes and other services on park grounds. Kiosks can be supplemented with Digital Display Panels that provide visitors with relevant information. These technologies maximize the use of Parks staff and ensure information is availableto park visitors. Webcams that allow Parks staff to remotely monitor locations throughout the Park System. Webcams can also be used to stream live video of park activities on the Parks and Recreation website. These technologies mitigate vandalism; theft and property damage and provide an online venue for activities occurring on park grounds.
12 ‐ One or more detailed projects will be formulated to address the needs articulated in this Program Area. Enhancing the current state of network connectivity in the 13 parks will be started early in the deployment of the Technology Roadmap because it will be critical to the delivery of future application services and centrally hosted data themes. In parallel, a detailed inventory of existing personal computing devices and future needs will be completed so deployment of a standard desktop PC computing environment can begin. Getting an early start on this project will allow Parks staff to begin leveraging existing Information Technology services immediately as more specific Parks and Recreation services mature.
Application Services In the Application Services Program Area, a series of internal and external computer systems will be deployed to support Parks business functions and enhance services provided to Parks visitors. Focus will be placed on applications that provide reliable Asset, Customer, Service and Revenue information. This Program Area will be enhanced by a complete redesign of the Parks and Recreation website. This redesign will reorganize and repurpose content on the current website so it reflects a more customer‐focused presence. The new website will become a Recreation and Conservation Portal2 that will be expanded to include other environmental web content currently on the County’s site like the Planning and Economic Development Division’s Environmental Stewardship Program, or Waste Resource Management Division’s Recycling Program.
The Recreation and Conservation Portal will leverage emerging website content like video, podcasts, mashups3 , blogs and other Web 2.0 tools to provide an interactive experience to portal visitors. Engaging constituent interaction in the preservation of the County’s environmental and recreational opportunities will be a critical goal of the portal. This portal will also provide a central location to host Parks and Recreation application services that will promote online interaction with parks services. Currently, there is limited use of computer systems at the thirteen park locations. Generally, if they are being used at a park location, it is limited to that specific location and information is rarely shared across the entire Parks system.
Furthermore, the limited integration and use of computer systems makes it nearly impossible to provide centralized and/or consistent service to Parks visitors.
2 A portal is s a site that provides a single function via a web page or site. 3 A mashup is a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool. The Recreation and Conservation Portal would provide a central website for recreation and environmental conservation activities currently offered by Oakland County agencies. The coordinated content would market efforts underway to preserve the value of the County’s rich environmental features and promote initiatives that reflect “A Greener Oakland County”.
13 ‐ To address this limitation, a comprehensive strategy will be deployed to provide application services at each of the thirteen park locations.
This strategy will employ the three‐tier application architecture strategy outlined earlier in this Plan to maximize the value of technology throughout the organization. In summary, application service needs have been organized into the following systems overviews. Point of Sale or Retail Management System that will allow Parks staff to process payment for park services via credit cards or a cash drawer. This system will also leverage barcode scanners, manage gift cards and storeroom inventory; and fully integrate with the County’s Peoplesoft Accounting System, and a Parks and Recreation Customer Information Management System.
Asset Management System that will allow Parks staff to proactively manage assets and mitigate long‐term costs associated with the operations and maintenance of physical and natural infrastructure in the Parks System. This system will manage day‐to‐day work activities that generally include work orders, inspections, inventory, and project costing. It will also include a Customer Request Management (CRM) module that will allow Parks staff and visitors to submit requests for improvement on Park grounds and track those requests from correction to feedback.
Customer Information Management System that will allow Parks staff to capture, store and analyze customer information. This system will supportsales, marketing, customer service, and support an overall customer‐centric service delivery strategy. The Customer Information
14 ‐ Management System will integrate with the Point of Sale and Reservations System to provide seamless information about park visitors and the services they consume. Reservations System that will allow Park visitors to arrange reservations for Parks services. Park visitors and Parks staff (through a centralized reservations desk) will interact directly with this system to consume or reserve Park services.
As such, the Reservation System will provide users with the most current information regarding Asset and Service availability. It will provide a consolidated look in to other related Parks systems (Asset Management, Customer Information Management, and Point of Sale) so a seamless experience can be provided to park visitors.
Video Surveillance System that will allow Parks staff to remotely monitor the security and use of Assets throughout the Parks system. This system will be integrated with other System Control technologies to mitigate the need to send manpower to remote locations when alarms are triggered and other security concerns are raised. The Video Surveillance System can also be used in conjunction with Recreation and Conservation Portal to provide Park visitors with a current snapshot of use patterns at high volume Park locations.
As design and implementation of the application services begin, a thorough review of existing Parks and Recreation computer applications like Active Network will be completed.
This review will confirm whether existing applications currently in use can be leveraged further as technology use matures in the Parks and Recreation Department. It will also outline the specific requirements necessary to meet the needs of the specific system implementation. The integration and standardization of application services will be important for the Parks and Recreation Department and the visitors they serve. To that end, information will be collected “once” in the appropriate computer system and “shared” amongst systems whenever necessary. This will enhance the service offering opportunities and ensure reliable information is maintained.
One or more detailed projects will be formulated to address the needs articulated in this Program Area. Detailed requirements for each of the computer systems outlined in this Program Area and the development of the Recreation and Conservation Portal will be started early in the deployment of the Technology Roadmap. Additional application services will be deployed in parallel with enhancements being made in the Hardware and Connectivity Program Area.
With centralized Customer Information Management and Reservations Systems, park visitors will be able to contact a centralized reservation system via the phone, kiosk, or newly development Recreation and Conservation Portal to make a reservation for any Parks and Recreation service. Information about the customer will be managed centrally so Parks and Recreation staff can begin to actively market services to consumers and in return, customers could use the system to make reoccurring reservations.
16 ‐ The CIB does not represent detailed costs of the individual projects within the Program Areas but instead provides an estimate of the financial resources needed over a three‐year period.
In addition, these cost estimates only reflect a budget for capital expenses. Ongoing operational costs will be above and beyond the costs outlined in the Capital Improvement Budget. Summary The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Technology Roadmap is a result of extensive onsite interviews and will leverage county technology strategies to facilitate development and use of information technology solutions in the Parks and Recreation Department. A high‐level strategy for the use of technology is reflected in the Roadmap’s Mission Statement. In addition, supporting Program Areas have been developed to meet critical business needs and effectuate the strategy.
The components of this plan will enable successful technology implementation and promote long‐term sustainability.
Ultimately, the implementation of this Roadmap will enhance the management, and maximize the use, of Parks and Recreation assets and services through the implementation of information technology and managed data. As implementation and use of technology continues within Parks and Recreation, the Roadmap will evolve to reflect current organizational priorities, service delivery needs, and impacts on the Capital Improvement Budget.