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18 Feb, 2009

Stormwater & Engineering – the Past Three Weeks

Posted by: Skylar In: general|news

Vacation!So this is my first post in three weeks.  No, I haven’t been busy – I’ve been on Vacation.  So upon my arrival home, here’s a summary of news I would have posted about if I was around.

Both the American Water Resources Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers have started releasing podcasts via their websites:

The UrbanWorkbench and Aguanomics discuss the concept of “Peak Water”.

Engineered Efficiency  released their “EE ProPack Hydro”, and detail how to perform hydrualic modeling using their tool in civil3d.

An article in the Times Daily talks about how Municipal Web sites struggle to stay current. After browsing through many out-of-date and poorly maintained municipal websites, I have to agree.  More and more engineers are looking to municipal websites for their latest information on contacts, bylaws, best practices, etc.  An up-to-date website would save everyone a lot of trouble.

Photo by my wife.

3 Responses to "Stormwater & Engineering – the Past Three Weeks"

1 | Pam Broviak

February 18th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

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For a smaller community, keeping a Website up to date can be challenging because usually only one person has the software and ability to upload to the Website. However, I think newer Web software and tools can help cities overcome this. Blogs can be used to post current information and get feedback. Also, newer software like Drupal makes it easy to edit Web pages without having to upload documents using FTP.

As for updating after elections, I think what happens is new administrations get in and perhaps they haven’t given much thought as to who maintains the Website. It is one of those many tasks that “just get done” and no one gives a thought to.

I know in our city, if we get a new mayor, I would be let go (since my position is appointed) and since I maintain the Website, it would lie dormant. Then one day someone would say, how come the Website is not updated? Then they would have to figure out who would start doing it for their administration.

2 | Skylar

February 18th, 2009 at 11:30 pm

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Yes – good point, Pam. I think it’s important to realize that it’s not the fault of the webmaster in particular. However, I think it is the responsibility of the municipality to understand the importance of their website and proceed accordingly.

I’ve been doing a bit of drupal design lately and have come to realize that static webpages should be a thing of the past. Organizations should realize that if the current system is not working efficiently, they need to front some resources to ensure that their website and documentation stays current.

Thanks for the comment – I know it would be frustrating dealing with people who don’t realize the need for a quality website or the resources required to maintain it. I must say that there are a few out there that are very well maintained (as is yours I’m sure ;) . And for that I’m quite grateful.

3 | UrbanWorkbench

February 20th, 2009 at 10:40 pm

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Thanks for the link! It is interesting that I am able to keep a website up to date in my own time, but in my working hours (as a City Engineer) I am not responsible for the website – and am already busy without attempting the task of revising the website, so I couldn’t see myself being able to take it on, even though I am vocal about how the website needs to change.

I’ve suggested that modernizing the City website to include departmental feeds, like a blog that can be published from desktop software such as Windows Live Writer. We’ll see how the budget pans out!

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