Posted by: SDGIS | September 30, 2011

GIS and the San Diego Street Light Conversion Project

Evari GIS Consulting (Evari) was recently contracted as part of the City of San Diego‘s Street Light Conversion Project Design-Build Contract. This project includes conversion of 35,311 120 and 240 volt cobra head streetlights throughout the City of San Diego. Evari bid as a subcontractor to Southern Contracting, the prime. You can learn more about the energy savings and overall project here.

The City identified GIS as a requirement in the submission process by which the prime will get paid for converted lights. Lists of streetlights were provided by the City of San Diego and the regional electric company, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE). GIS data was also freely available. Part of the funding for the project was provided by a rebate through SDGE. To facilitate payment unique identifiers from both the City and SDGE lists, along with a new XY coordinate, need to be submitted.

All 3 data sources are useful but incomplete and inaccurate. As of the writing of this post, Evari has already moved each street light point from the GIS data by using high-resolution aerial photography freely available from the State of California. Evari is now in the process of reconciling the provided lists. Both lists have textual location descriptions, for example: “UNIVERSITY AV W/O FAIRMOUNT AV 130′ S/S.” This means: On University Avenue west of Fairmount Avenue 130 feet on the south side. These are being painstakingly matched to each GIS point on the map.

Southern work crews have been outfitted with a fleet of ipads which gives them access to the data through a map-based interface. On the ipad work crews had the ability to edit information about each point. In the field, they can change the status of every light from “to be converted” to “converted” or “there was a problem.” They also can leave a freehand note or take a picture with the built-in camera. This data is used to correct wrong information in the field.

Another way to view this data is through a website Evari developed called, “Street Light Project Transparency Mapping Tool.” Through this web-based map City staff and Southern Contracting management can view this data in real time. Colors of the streetlights change as the status is modified by workcrews. Voltages, wattages, data from both the lists, along with the comments and pictures taken in the field are available as popups connected to each point.

This tool creates a common operational picture of the work which has already been completed, work which is still in the pipeline, and hurdles work crews are encountering in the field. This system empowers the City to manage the progress of the project. It provides piece of mind that the work is being accomplished to the highest standards and within an acceptable timetable. Southern has a valuable workflow management tool and a streamlined way to share with City staff both their progress and obstacles.

The product that Evari GIS Consulting has provided will continue to bring value to the City of San Diego, local agencies, and the public well beyond the scope of this project. Ultimately, the City and SDGE will have a comprehensive and accurate inventory of their Streetlight assets. They will know the date when each fixture went in and will be able to anticipate maintenance and bulb replacement. This increases the lifespan of the fixture, allows City electricians to manage their workflow, and most importantly, keeps the new energy efficient streetlights “on” for San Diego residents.



  1. SImply amazing technology. These guys are geniuses.

  2. This is a fantastic project. Being able to see, track and manage a project of this scope, one that is delivering so much value to the City of San Diego and its citizens is truly inspiring.

  3. Just wanted to quickly add that yesterday Southern passed the halfway mark on this project. Everything seems to be going well. Below is a link to the original RFP and a video showing the system in action.

    Original RFP

    Video of an edit in action

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