Utility mapping for the water industry. The location of buried water pipes is important

Geographic Information Systems are one of the most rapidly growing technologies in the world. GIS has a wide variety of applications for government, businesses, retail industries and more.

One useful way that GIS technology is currently being used is for utility mapping. In this article you will learn the basics not only about GIS for utility mapping, but about the specific area of water pipe management as well.

GIS Mapping Technology

Geographic information systems (GIS) software can be used to gather and analyze all kinds of geographic data. It can be used to analyse spatial data and create highly detailed maps. GIS maps typically start with a base layer and then thematic map layers are overlayed on top of the base to create a detailed map of an area. For example, a base layer might be a GIS air photo and then other thematic map layers might be things like roads, power poles, and a suburb map.

One of the many useful applications for GIS is for utilities mapping.

What is Utility Mapping?

Water utilities make great use of utility mapping systems. Often utility companies are responsible for water as it leaves storage to when its used domestically or in industry. They map and monitor water pipes of many differing materials (cast iron, cement, PVC, etc), ages, conditions and diameters. Many water utilities also manage the sewer system and water treatment facilities.

GIS is involved in aspects of the water utility industry for applications as diverse as water reticulation, drainage, keeping track of service locations, monitoring buried pipes, managing bursts, and even billing.

How is Utility Mapping used in the water industry?

With GIS software, water companies create surveys, or maps, of the pipelines running through the area. This information is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it help the company to keep track of its water, but is also important for things like dial-before-you-dig information for companies maintaining roads and other buried infrastructure such as gas, electricity and telecommunications.

Another way in which utility mapping can be used is to increase the efficiency of water delivery systems. Information gathered by GIS software can be used to perform cost analyses to determine whether there is a more efficient and less expensive way to deliver water. Things like managing pressure zones, and asset age and material. Such information can be used to predict the cost of pipeline renewals.



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