Aurora’s Flurry Plows

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In 2011 the Town of Aurora equipped their snowplow fleet with GPS units at a cost of $70,000.

3 years later in 2014 the town approved new Winter maintenance service levels with the reported goal to create the perception of unchanged or increased service levels”.

This is when they introduced Where Is My Plow , a service that in the past 5 years they have made zero improvements on.

In my February 2017 post I outlined several areas in which the service fails the claims the town makes that you can “track our snow plows in real time and get important up-to-date information using our online application”

When I was unable to track said plows in real time and unable to determine exactly when plows were dispatched I found it curious that the town was able to claim that service levels were being maintained.

Without working back the time plows are dispatched one cannot determine if service levels are being maintained and with the failings of Where’s My Plow I inquired through twitter which was its own exercise in futility. The town wasn’t even able to confirm the number of plows they operate:


A perfect illustration of just how ineffective the Where Is My Plow service is.

Not all municipalities struggle as much as Aurora so let’s the town’s pathetic offering to our neighbours in Newmarket.

Here is Aurora’s Where’s My Plow.

Here is Newmarket’s Locate My Plow

First thing to notice is that Newmarket actually reports % of roads cleared upon first landing:


Secondly with Newmarket’s service I you click on any road it tells you the exact time it was last plowed:

With Aurora’s Where’s My Plow you can’t select anything on the map at all.  As mentioned in a previous post plows simply turn grey roads into green ones.

Thirdly, Newmarket’s Map data is updated every 5 minutes yet Aurora states “For security reasons, there is a 15 minute map delay in the location of the snow plow vehicle”. Why is it that Aurora requires 3 times the delay in reporting?

Lastly, in Newmarket’s service plows will appear on the map if the vehicle is moving and the plow blade is down on the road. Plows are hidden from the map during other treatment such as salting, or while traveling to an assigned route.

In Aurora’s plows appear on the map at all times regardless of their status, and as such can be seen when parked out of service at the town’s Joint Oops Centre.  What is the point of this?

In trying to determine the differences in platforms I discover that Newmarket’s solution uses the open source project Chart.js

Where here in Aurora when I traced back I see this message:

aurora isn't even hyoerlinked.jpg

This begs two questions.

1.) Why couldn’t the Town of Aurora even bother to hyperlink their own url before launching the service?

2.) If the Town of Newmarket’s capable Communications, IT and GIS departments were able to collaborate and roll their own service, likely saving a costly software subscription what is stopping this from happening at the Town of Aurora?

Where Newmarket is clearing a path to leveraging their GIS data and clearly communicating it to their residents Aurora is getting buried by our town’s inability to keep pace.


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