Geographic information systems in water supply and sanitation network management

Alfredo Alonso, Business Development Manager at Tracasa Global

Tracasa Global
Since its foundation in 1982, Tracasa Global has been working in territorial data management and spatial planning and, since the early 2000s, in geographic information systems. Today, the company continues to focus on the integration of geographic information systems and the digital transformation of business processes.

This year, in particular, Tracasa Global has concentrated on processes relating to network and facility maintenance centres of particular relevance to water companies, as they directly affect the water supply to the public.

It is a fact that geographic information systems (GIS/GIS) have positioned themselves as the backbone and unifying tools for water managers, bringing a "giscentric" vision to companies. Through these systems, companies are able to inventory, manage and integrate ever-increasing volumes of information. This evolution comes hand in hand with the digital transformation of the sector and advances in the sensorisation of infrastructures. All of this, with the ultimate goal of more efficient and effective management of the treasure they administer: water.

Generally speaking, the GIS offer solutions to numerous problems within the sector, but with these lines I would like to focus on the help they provide in field operations and sectorisation.

The companies that manage the full water cycle manage assets of different characteristics and geographically dispersed, a complex asset base that runs above and below ground, in both urban and rural environments, which ultimately allows them to manage water supply and sanitation networks and respond to customers' needs.

Geographic information systems (GIS/GIS) have positioned themselves as backbone tools for water managers.

For the management of all assets, geographic information systems are critical systems, both in the office and in the field, where digital transformation allows optimising numerous operations in a timely manner. In this sense, mobile applications that allow field teams to access, collect and edit data are at the heart of this transformation, helping companies to:

  • Make it easy for field teams to navigate and locate assets.
  • Automatically collect data, taking into account location and time of capture.
  • Access information from the system, reducing the need to return to the office for additional data.
  • Send real time data information to the system to facilitate decision making.
  • Provide real-time information for the entire organisation.

Following this approach to facilitate the organisation of work and maintain high data integrity, Tracasa Global has developed numerous applications. Among them, a web application that allows managers and team leaders to manage the work carried out by operators in the field from their offices. The tool divides the work into daily tasks, prioritises them, orders them and allows them to be viewed on a map with all the associated information.

Tracasa Global has developed an application that allows team managers to manage the work carried out by operators in the field from their offices and another solution so that operators can see the tasks assigned from the office.

On the other hand, we have also developed an application for mobile devices so that operators working in the field can see the tasks assigned from the office with the application described above. This application also allows operators to manage tasks and incidents, collect data, allocate hours and make work reports.

In general, our applications are continuously evolving and constitute a very important milestone in the digitalisation of the processes of water companies' network and facilities maintenance centres.

On the other hand, as regards the sectorisation of networks or, in other words, dividing the network in order to operate more easily and thus facilitate the identification of problems and improve the speed in the application of corrective measures, the final objective is focused on reducing non-recorded water, i.e. losses or leaks, improving hydraulic performance and control over parameters that affect water quality.

In this area, both sectorisation and the design of network sectors require the use of geographic information systems (GIS), equipping all sectors with all types of assets: meters, pressure gauges, chemical indicator gauges, regulating valves, meters? This organisation allows for better decision-making and, ultimately, better management of the supply and sanitation networks.

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