APWA InfoLink moves forward

David Reinke
APWA InfoLink Project Manager

Last month Larry Lux talked about the need for APWA to do its part in completing the "puzzle" of InfoLink, and I would like to introduce myself as a member of the APWA team dedicated to that task. I have just joined the APWA staff in the Washington office to coordinate bringing together the many pieces of InfoLink, and am very excited about the potential it brings to APWA members.

Most APWA members already have a sense of this potential to deliver relevant information and targeted applications through the Internet to their desktop. A review of the project timeline will help identify where we've been, where we are, and where we're heading to turn these ideas into reality.

Last spring what was to become Version 1.0 offered a glimpse of what was possible to users in the Kansas City Metro area, and InfoLink was born. A partnership with IZOIC brought application development expertise, and the process of involving APWA members nationwide began. The Steering Committee held numerous meetings, and feedback received from members at last year's Congress in Louisville provided additional input on specific focus areas.

This February, APWA members met in Denver, Colorado specifically to discuss the APWA InfoLink project and supporting software application development, and to identify high priority issues facing public works agencies. Their goal was to define key areas where web based software-made available through APWA InfoLink-can serve the community of public works professionals. The priorities identified by the Genesis Group will move forward to the Steering Committee for consideration and possible development of products and services.

As a result of the meeting, a number of key events and milestones have been planned for this year. The first major event will be the release of APWA InfoLink Version 2.0 this summer, coinciding with a training program and a "Click, Listen and Learn" session to be sponsored by IZOIC. Version 2.0 will begin to expand on the foundation of Version 1.0, incorporating some of the many ideas contributed by APWA members. At this time each Chapter will be asked to name an individual to serve as the InfoLink point of contact, facilitating the exchange of information to the Chapters as development continues.

Upon review of the priorities identified by the Genesis Group, the Steering Committee will concurrently move into the implementation phase. The Steering Committee will appoint "Strike Teams" to develop key applications in concert with the IZOIC technology team. The applications will be incorporated in the updated Version 3.0, planned for release at the end of the year.

The next major event will occur at Congress in Philadelphia in September, where there will be an APWA InfoLink booth staffed jointly by APWA and IZOIC. At Congress, there will also be a separate set of sessions on APWA InfoLink. It will be at Congress that the membership will be encouraged to bring information regarding what is required to link their agencies' and companies' web sites to the APWA InfoLink family of web sites; only when these web sites are linked together will we able to benefit from shared information. Forms that describe what will need to be done in advance will be published in a future issue of the APWA Reporter.

Driving this project is the idea that the Internet provides an entirely new way of conducting business, and provides us the benefit of collaborating with our peers and those we service far beyond what we have been able to do until now. With that in mind, I am looking forward to the development of the full potential of InfoLink, and working with the many pieces of the puzzle - APWA members, IZOIC and third-party developers, Chapter and Committee members - that bring it all together. In the next few months we will be presenting further information concerning APWA InfoLink and the upcoming rollout of Version 2.0 in particular. Should you have any questions, please feel free to give me a call at 202-408-9541 or send an e-mail to dreinke@apwa.net.