Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization Application and Data Migration

Cloud-based platform provides operational resiliency and improved functionality for crucial planning application and data

When the city of Durham suffered a cyberattack in 2020, the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro (DCHC) Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) lost access to its new eTIP web application, a crucial planning tool housed on the city’s servers. To improve operational resiliency in the event of a future attack, the MPO began discussing the idea of moving the application, as well as all of the organization’s geographic information systems (GIS) data, to a cloud environment.

Because of its extensive experience with cloud migration, Gannett Fleming’s geospatial division, GeoDecisions, was able to provide immediate guidance to the MPO on best practices to initiate and successfully complete the move. The team decided that Microsoft Azure, a cloud computing service, would be the best platform to meet the MPO’s needs. Besides moving the GIS databases and the eTIP application to the Azure environment, the team also rebuilt the server infrastructure to improve functionality and is providing ongoing support and maintenance services.

What We Did

The team first identified what data would move, how much random-access memory (RAM) and bandwidth would be needed, and whether a single or multiple servers would be required. Because almost 400 feature services needed to be moved, keeping RAM costs within budget was a particular challenge. The solution was to publish existing feature services using ArcGIS Pro, which can reduce RAM consumption by taking advantage of shared instances. Shared instances pool central processing unit (CPU) resources for lightly used feature services, minimizing RAM consumption and maintaining high service availability. With ArcGIS Pro, the team was able to reduce RAM consumption needs by at least 60%.

By offering a portal view of the eTIP application, the Azure environment allows the owners to visualize system health and costs. Configurable dashboards enable the owners to easily monitor critical metrics and costs. Alarms provide immediate notification about any issues. In all, the migration project provided better server structure and increased data security to protect against future disasters, enabling the MPO to be proactive in its efforts to manage and safeguard its data.

Key Features

  • Microsoft Azure provides secure cloud-based environment for eTIP application and GIS databases.
  • ArcGIS Pro enabled publication of existing features while reducing RAM consumption.
  • Portal view and configurable dashboards enhance visibility of system metrics, health, and costs.

Enhanced resiliency against cyberattacks and other disasters.

RAM consumption needs reduced by 60%.

Improved data security and server structure.