Obtaining maps of underground utilities from city governments

I am interested in hearing peoples' experiences in obtaining maps of pre-existing underground utilities from city governments (as it relates to deployment of MAN fiber). Thus far the process I am going through can be compared to pulling teeth. Any advice would be greatly appreciated...


It really depends on what data they have, and that varies heavily from
city to city. Older cities may not have good maps. On the other hand,
where the utilities have been rebuilt recently, or for new subdivisions,
data is usually available in GIS format.

Then there's always the problem of getting data out of the private
utilities - most recent cable franchises require that as-built data be
provided as GIS or CAD files, but the MSOs don't always follow through.
Telcos are usually not required to provide data to local governments.

Good places to start are the Planning Director and City Engineer. If your
activities have an economic development componenent, talk to the Economic
Development Director.


There are some states (like Missouri) that have Sunshine laws that require
information sharing. Of course the information may not do you any good
when it comes to actually accessing the physical infrastructure. We are
an external business unit of a municipality and basically attach to the
utility poles (OUR utility poles) via the same rules and regulations that
everyone else (phone, cable and anyone willing to pay pole attachments and
make ready) does. Basically we installed fiber for our use and are not
obligated to share it with others. We, as a utility, also do not prevent
others from installing parallel physical plant in our right of ways and
offering services that may compete with us.

I see lots of other utilities with installed fiber but not real sure what
the next step is. The hard part of this business is creating value out of
the hanging assets.