Technology and tradition: sustainable housing for the Navajo Nation
AECOM and the Navajo Housing Authority (NHA) were recently honored with a Special Achievement in geographic information systems (GIS) award at the 2015 Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) International User Conference in San Diego. This award acknowledges vision, leadership, hard work, and innovative use of Esri’s GIS technology. AECOM project manager David Turk has been working with the NHA, whose mission is to build quality sustainable homes for members of the Navajo Nation, for over five years, and on this particular ongoing project for over three years. Here, Dave discusses his involvement and his project team’s commitment to supporting NHA’s mission.
The Navajo Nation is the largest tribal entity in the United States in terms of both population (over 300,000 members) and land area (27,000 square miles across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah). The NHA manages over 9,000 homes across the Navajo Nation and is planning to develop thousands more. NHA is the largest Native housing authority and tenth-largest public housing authority in the country.
3-D view used by NHA to understand flood risk posed to NHA subdivisions, leading toward planning of more resilient communities.
To support their efforts toward sustainable development and increase business efficiency, NHA contracted with AECOM to design the Land Information Management System (LIMS). LIMS converted NHA’s existing land documents into an industry-standard digital format and created additional datasets to allow for data analysis, asset management and accurate reporting. In just a few short years, AECOM digitized NHA’s surveys, plans, thousands of documents (organizing them into a document management system) and other spatial data. LIMS supports NHA’s planning process by allowing more accurate management of homes, roads, infrastructure, floodplains and more.
Our AECOM team worked with NHA to develop several videos in both English and Diné Bizaad, the Navajo language, that draw on Navajo cultural traditions in familiarizing viewers with how to use LIMS.
Modern web-based tools to help manage assets and streamline business processes.
We also developed a National Emergency Number Association (9-1-1) system, the first of its kind to be implemented in such a vast, rural area.
Close communication among several AECOM offices and subcontractors and the incorporation of client feedback throughout the project lifecycle resulted in a solution that exceeded client expectations and of which we are all proud.
(Main image above) AECOM and NHA project team receiving the Esri SAG Award (from left to right): Ernest Franklin, NHA division director, Dwayne Waseta, NHA chief operating officer, Nadine Clah, NHA project manager, Jack Dangermond, Esri president, David Turk, AECOM project manager, Eric Nemeth, AECOM GIS lead, Alex Bostic, AECOM development lead.
David Turk is the Southwest Area GIS, Floodplain and Information Management Services (IMS) department manager based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He serves as chair of the New Mexico Floodplain Managers Association.