Initial planning of Westfield's GIS program began in 1997. Completed and functional in 2003, it now contains 20 layers of data. For the front-end program, Westfield used GeoClient by Spatial Data Logic of Somerset, N.J. The GIS layers are created using AutoCAD Map v5 by Autodesk and analysis is carried out using ArcGIS 9.0 by ESRI. Location and attribute data is gathered in the field using a Leica Geosystems' GS20 Professional Data Mapper with a Wireless Real-Time Corrections System (WoRCS) beacon package. The GS20 is a handheld GPS device for GIS data collection. The GPS receiver incorporates Leica Geosystems' ClearTrak multipath mitigation technology, and MaxTrak and HyperTrak solutions for optimal tracking in difficult conditions such as heavy overhanging foliage. The Coordinate Quality Monitor alerts the user whenever position accuracy falls below specified tolerance levels. The AT501 survey-grade antenna provides increased GPS positioning accuracy and performance, especially when collecting data in dense foliage. The L1 C/A-code and phase antenna is mounted on a lightweight antenna sash with telescopic rod for easy portability. The WoRCS, which consists of a belt-mounted Bluetooth communications hub and smart power supply, receives position correction data from Differential GPS navigation beacons to provide submeter position accuracy.
In 2003 Horta started a project to upgrade Westfield's old sanitary sewer maps for that layer of the town's GIS. The original maps, dating back to 1961, were drawn on linen to a scale of 1" = 200' and updated with pen and ink. He thought about redrawing the maps in AutoCAD, but the plotting of some manholes and distances between manholes have been found to be incorrect. So he decided it would be necessary to physically locate the manholes and plot them correctly on mylar. However, undertaking this project with conventional surveying methods would have taken too long and the project was not a high priority since the department is continuously busy with road improvement projects. In Westfield, the harsh winters, accompanied with road salting and de-icing, cause roadwork to be the town's No. 1 priority. To speed up the map updates, Horta considered using GPS technology to locate the manholes.