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Author Topic: Ideas for the AHTD website  (Read 3935 times)

bugo

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Ideas for the AHTD website
« on: February 20, 2014, 08:32:57 AM »

Danny, I have a couple of ideas for the website.  First, get high resolution PDF or TIF full color scans of every Arkansas road map from every year and every midyear edition, front and back.  Not being able to see the city inset maps found on the reverse side of these maps has hindered my research on Arkansas highway history.  Don't do it halfass like Oklahoma did.  Do it right.  These scans should be high quality and zoomable.  Second, post the pre-1953 meeting minutes, if they are available.  Do they exist?  Third, more county maps, especially older ones.  I'd love to see the 1927 county maps for some information on early alignments of Arkansas US highways (do the 1927 county maps exist?)  Perhaps you could partner with Geostor and make this happen.  Just remember: you can never have too many maps.
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US71

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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2014, 10:00:25 AM »

Danny, I have a couple of ideas for the website.  First, get high resolution PDF or TIF full color scans of every Arkansas road map from every year and every midyear edition, front and back.  Not being able to see the city inset maps found on the reverse side of these maps has hindered my research on Arkansas highway history.  Don't do it halfass like Oklahoma did.  Do it right.  These scans should be high quality and zoomable.  Second, post the pre-1953 meeting minutes, if they are available.  Do they exist?  Third, more county maps, especially older ones.  I'd love to see the 1927 county maps for some information on early alignments of Arkansas US highways (do the 1927 county maps exist?)  Perhaps you could partner with Geostor and make this happen.  Just remember: you can never have too many maps.

What years are you looking for? I have at least two maps per decade starting in the 1930's ;)

I thought I had a 1926 somewhere, but it's AWOL.
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bugo

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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2014, 07:20:34 PM »

Danny, I have a couple of ideas for the website.  First, get high resolution PDF or TIF full color scans of every Arkansas road map from every year and every midyear edition, front and back.  Not being able to see the city inset maps found on the reverse side of these maps has hindered my research on Arkansas highway history.  Don't do it halfass like Oklahoma did.  Do it right.  These scans should be high quality and zoomable.  Second, post the pre-1953 meeting minutes, if they are available.  Do they exist?  Third, more county maps, especially older ones.  I'd love to see the 1927 county maps for some information on early alignments of Arkansas US highways (do the 1927 county maps exist?)  Perhaps you could partner with Geostor and make this happen.  Just remember: you can never have too many maps.

What years are you looking for? I have at least two maps per decade starting in the 1930's ;)

Like I said, from 1926 to 2013.  The newer maps are good quality images and you can download the back of the map, and I'd like to have that for historic maps as well.
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M86

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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2014, 02:28:39 AM »

Dang... I just want a website that is user-friendly, and doesn't focus on the Little Rock area.
The website should have links to public meetings, presentations, studies, etc... As well as the opportunity for the public to submit their opinions online about projects.

The Twitter account needs to be fixed... if it's only reporting on certain sections of AR, then the Twitter handle needs to be changed, or the method of flow of information needs to be corrected.  There needs to be something centralized.  If AHTD can do this, then they should have a Facebook page as well... Look to Missouri... They have a central FB page, and they also have pages for each district.

But, bugo, I think preserving that data is important as well!
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AHTD

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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2014, 12:50:19 AM »

We are proud of the treasure-trove of data we have thought to keep throughout our history. The problem has been we haven't had the ability to share it.


After we complete the IDRIVRARKANSAS site, we will turn our attention to the main web site. Part of why we participate in this forum is to field specific information requests. A number of posters in this forum have requested EIS documents for projects and we have posted links to make them available.


It's a short term solution until we can make it all available. Including the awesome collection of photos we have!
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US71

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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2014, 10:15:23 AM »

We are proud of the treasure-trove of data we have thought to keep throughout our history. The problem has been we haven't had the ability to share it.


After we complete the IDRIVRARKANSAS site, we will turn our attention to the main web site. Part of why we participate in this forum is to field specific information requests. A number of posters in this forum have requested EIS documents for projects and we have posted links to make them available.


It's a short term solution until we can make it all available. Including the awesome collection of photos we have!

Ooooh...photos!
When I was in college at the UofA I found back issues of Arkansas Highways Magazine and loved a lot of the photos.  :)

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J N Winkler

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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2014, 11:01:31 AM »

One website enhancement I would like to see (but realize would take a fair amount of work at the back end) is a searchable archive of past construction plans sets.  AHTD has placed construction plans sets for currently advertised projects on its website since 2009, which is a valuable resource, but it would be good to be able to go back in time as well.  (Minnesota DOT and Georgia DOT are two examples of peer agencies that have successfully pioneered online availability of plans for past projects.)
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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2014, 11:55:05 AM »

AHTD, does each district keep the as builts or are they sent to Little Rock?
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bugo

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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2014, 02:03:43 PM »

But, bugo, I think preserving that data is important as well!

It is very important.  Many of the documents are only found at the AHTD headquarters off I-30 and have no other copies.  If, say, a tornado destroyed the building then those records would be lost forever.  Digitize them and p
ut them online and they'll always be available.
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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2014, 06:37:24 PM »

Although this isn't perfect, it does have some tips I agree with. First is general, second contains a state-by-state evaluation of each DOT's (and AHTD...) STIPs and their usefulness to the public. Arkansas overall got a C-, with a D in description clarity, C for open data, D+ for paper trail and C for point of contact

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/02/19/why-is-it-still-so-hard-to-find-out-how-states-are-spending-transpo-money/

http://www.advocacyadvance.org/docs/LiftingTheVeil_AllStates.pdf

Conclusions:

Quote
Spending: Arkansas is near the bottom of the country in terms of the percent of projects with identified bicyclist and pedestrian facilities and for the percent of costs associated with those identified projects. There were only two reported projects that had identified bicyclist and pedestrian facilities aside from the yearly listing of the major federal funding programs that commonly fund bicyclist and pedestrian facilities. This lack of reporting makes it difficult to determine the types of bicyclist and pedestrian facilities paid for by federal funds in Arkansas.

Reporting: The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department (AHTD) relies entirely upon “Type of Work” and “Termini” descriptions to provide information about planned projects in the STIP. This limits the ability of the STIP to describe projects that include multiple facility types.

Opportunity: The AHTD website generally could provide more context for the resources that are made available on the site. As an example, the STIP is available in both PDF and Excel format, which is better than many states, but there is no information
on the webpage that describes the STIP document or why a citizen may be interested in it. As another example, there is a statewide bicycle suitability map, but the map does not describe the process for its conclusions or the acronyms used in describing the suitability of the various roadways within the state. Providing greater context, both on the website and in documents, could help citizens be more engaged with transportation decisions
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Re: Ideas for the AHTD website
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2014, 10:33:24 PM »

The good news is that we have more historical data than a typical road geek could consume in a lifetime and we want to be able to provide access to it. The bad news is that it won't happen overnight. We will, however be looking to this forum for suggestions and feedback on how we design the interface for the presentation of data.


The AHTD Central Office is 50 years old and was built during the Cold War to withstand what was thought to be at the time a survivable nuclear blast. It's 10 stories tall with a full floor basement (11 floors) and constructed entirely out of concrete.


Everything digitized is backed up to our new off-site data center in real time. Not sure what else has yet to be scanned. For several decades now consultant deliverables have required electronic copies of plans. Will have to check on as-builds.


EVERYONE is able to subscribe free to Arkansas Highways magazine. Send an email to info@ahtd.ar.gov and we will put you on the list. The magazine publishes bi-monthly and is a true road geek's dream! And YES! Not only do we have digitized copies dating back to the 1920s, we are also working on a digital edition through Zinio.



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