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Managing outdoor advertising (ODA) along the nation’s highway system is a significant challenge, especially in state departments of transportation (DOT). Agency performance is closely scrutinized because failure to effectively control ODA may cause a state to lose 10 percent of its annual apportionment of federal highway construction funds. This can total in the millions.

Usually faced with limited staff and budgets, ODA departments have attempted to meet these challenges with paper record processing or internally developed databases and spreadsheets. These are often labor intensive and error-prone. SYNODAS is a software solution designed to help manage data related to ODA sign inventory and permit  processing for sign installation and vegetation management programs. Developed with modern, mainstream technologies, SYNODAS: 

  • Provides a Web-based solution supported by a centralized database
  • Offers a Software-as-a-Service under an annual subscription agreement
  • Maintains critical information in real-time, in a near paperless environment

SYNODAS is not a generic permitting software program. It was developed specifically to meet the day-to-day requirements of an ODA department. Application and permit forms track data regarding:

  • permit applicants
  • property owners
  • land parcel information
  • sign type and location
  • number of faces
  • size
  • viewing direction

Data is tracked for field inspections, board reviews, and customer appeals. Source documents, including original application forms, diagrams and photos can each be scanned and stored electronically with the appropriate record. Once a permit is issued, SYNODAS supports requirements for data change requests, sign configuration changes, sign removals, and permit transfers. SYNODAS tracks information for unauthorized signs, allowing ODA staff to contact owners and work to achieve valid permits. The system tracks permit violations, and includes an array of letter templates that can be automatically linked to a specific sign owner and location, and sent either hard copy or as an e-mail attachment. Approvals for extending permit deadlines are tracked, as well as permit cancellations.

Based on its design, SYNODAS can be easily configured to meet agency–specific work flows associated with the routing of new applications amongst staff for office review, field checks, and permit approvals. The routing and recommendation features built into the software enables office and field staff collaboration, resulting in reduced processing time and error. Nomenclature for review recommendations and next steps are modifiable by each agency to align with current business processes.

Application, permit and inventory information stored in GIS files can be linked and viewed within SYNODAS. Sign specific data can found using the geo-spatial capabilities of the GIS tools included in the software. Sign locations can be expressed using GPS coordinates, and data can be queried based on:

  • application or permit number
  • county
  • route
  • milepost

Vegetation Management is a program employed in selected states that allows limited vegetation removal on state right-of-ways to create a Sign Viewing Zone around permitted outdoor advertising signs. SYNODAS stores data specific to Vegetation Management permit applications, including:

  • applicant information
  • original sign permit number
  • sign location and description information
  • vegetation management plans
  • applicant’s certification and notarization