What tech is Detroit using to clean up graffiti?

Answer: GIS

by / February 2, 2017

Graffiti is a problem familiar to most big cities, and the process of cleaning it off public property may seem insurmountable. The case is no different for Detroit. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) noticed that not only was tagging abundant on bridges and abutment walls, but it was also becoming increasingly prevalent on overhead signs. At one point, more than 90 signs that hung 15 feet in the air were tagged along metro Detroit freeways with traffic flowing freely below them, hindering removal.

The solution? GIS tracking.

At that time, MDOT’s Detroit office was testing two ArcGIS systems, and the graffiti project was the perfect pilot. By allowing maintenance staff to gather data in the field on their mobile devices, identifying where and in what state the graffiti was, and then coordinating that information with MDOT’s live lane closure service, the tech enabled the city to find and remove tagging from 76 signs — in just 35 days.