management pipeline As utilities across the country, includ-ing the Rocky Mountain region, look to create more comprehensive inventories of their water and wastewater systems, robust technology platforms like the one implemented in DeKalb County, Georgia, are becoming fundamental to smart utility management. To combat sewer overflows, the DeKalb County Department of Watershed Man-agement needed to create hydraulic models for its sanitary collections system, with updated location and condition data associated with each asset. However, locating and inspecting 60,000 manholes was no easy feat, especially given the limitations of traditional asset manage-ment systems. That’s why consultants for this Atlanta-area utility abandoned paper in favor of cutting-edge mobile technol-ogy— and they haven’t looked back. Brown and Caldwell (BC) adopted an innovative approach that uses a mobile application for smart phones and tab-lets to locate sewer manholes, create a 26 | RUMBLES SEPTEMBER 2015 Streamlined Management of Underground Assets Moving to the Cloud Cuts Utility Data Collection by 30% By Elton DeSouza and Sean Kilpatrick, P.E. comprehensive inventory, and survey all manhole assets. All of the data is stored in the cloud—remote servers accessible via the Internet—and used to develop a geodatabase and comprehensive geographical information system (GIS) map (Figure 1). In just the past decade, technology like this has decreased tremendously in cost and increased in effectiveness, making it an ideal choice for water and wastewater utilities across the country. Guesswork and Paper Trails Before the switch to mobile technology, historical data from record drawings was gathered into geographic information systems (GIS) and exported to paper map books. Inspection crews relied on these bulky binders when attempting to locate structures, recording 70 aspects of condi-tion information on paper and snapping photos with digital cameras. Crews were followed by a second team of surveyors, both conventional and equipped with global positioning systems (GPSs), who detailed the precise locations and rim elevations of identified structures. Areas that had been redeveloped or contained new structures proved problematic, and the entire process was prone to delays. In short, project workflows were large, com-plex, and overdue for modernization. Making the Switch With the implementation of an advanced mobile technology platform, locating Workers in DeKalb County, Georgia manually inspect one of its 60,000 manholes. Figure 1. A mobile map interface displaying interactive data points.
RUMBLES - September 2015
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