Water utilities both big and small are faced with a range of different challenges. A recent American Water Works Association (AWWA) report listed but a few:
1. Condition of water/wastewater infrastructure
2. Water scarcity/supply
3. Drought potential
4. Customer/community relations
5. Emergency planning and response
6. Government regulations
7. Managing assets
New technology is today helping to provide solutions to these challenges. Key among these technologies is GIS.
Water Utilities: GIS has Changed Have You?
GIS is not new. It is a technology which today is undergoing dramatic changes. Changes which are making it easier to afford, access and use. So what are these changes?
Cloud Based GIS is a Game Changer
Gone are the days when you as an organization need to deal with the complexity and expense of setting up and hosting a GIS internally. Cloud based GIS is now here. That means others maintaining your GIS, simply set up a subscription to Esri’s ArcGIS for example and go. Its as simple as that. GIS subscriptions are very affordable even to the smallest utilities. Internal staff are no longer required to maintain and update your GIS. Maybe most importantly it has never been easier to administer a GIS and publish maps.
If cloud based GIS solutions are not your cup of tea, with releases like Portal for ArcGIS, you can now host your own version of ArcGIS Online inside your firewall.
No More Data Silos
We once lived in a world where authoritative data was hard to find. Reliable water main data was over here, updated valve inspection data over there. A GIS provides a central system for all your data. Your organizations authoritative data or system of record. Anybody in your organization who needs access to any asset or asset related data can simply access your GIS.
Mobile Maps, Mobile GIS Apps
Mobile devices – smartphone, and tablets – are transforming society. Today we all carry miniaturized computers, which know through GPS where they are at all times. Apps which provide interactive maps are extremely popular. GIS not only provides maps, it allows water utility field staff to better get their jobs done.
We have been building a simple asset management mobile ArcGIS application for utilities which works both online and offline, is configurable and runs on any device and any platform (Apple, Android, Windows). Its an elegant solution for those who are looking to move away from ArcPad or cannot afford enterprise GIS asset management platforms.
New Configurable Applications for Water Utilities
There has been a new move in the world of GIS to provide focused, targeted configurable applications. Esri have been particularly busy here. ArcGIS for Water Utilities is a suite of applications designed to solve specific challenges. Whether it is tracing illicit discharge, finding polluters, analyzing water loss, responding to emergencies, generating water reports or connecting with customers. There is an easy to set up application designed for that purpose.
We have been working with a number of utilities helping them take advantage of these solutions.
GIS has come a long way in the last 2 years. More affordable, easier to access and use. If you are not actively using GIS and the new tools available to manage your water utility, you are missing out on a crucial time and cost saving technology.
Contact us for more information on 801-733-0723.