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Revolutionizing water management – the power of GIS applications and data collection platforms

By Linda Schwefel
September 1, 2023

In the realm of modern water management, there are two unsung heroes that deserve the spotlight: Geographic Information Systems (GIS) applications and data collection platforms. They might not have flashy costumes, but the impact of data collection platforms and GIS applications for water, wastewater, and stormwater systems is nothing short of transformative. Read on to learn how this dynamic duo is rewriting the playbook for efficient water management.

GIS applications and data collection platforms

GIS applications map, analyze, and visualize the intricate landscape of water systems. But what takes their power to the next level is the partnership with data collection platforms. These platforms provide a constant stream of real-time data, elevating the insights GIS applications provide from static to dynamic.

Infrastructure planning

Bid farewell to outdated blueprints and guesswork. Instead, visualizations using GIS applications for water, wastewater, and stormwater systems bring infrastructure maps to life. GIS platforms deliver a bird’s-eye (and worm’s eye, when talking about groundwater and underground assets) view that can pinpoint potential issues before they become problems. Now, add data collection platforms to the mix to continuously gather real-world data. This collaboration enriches GIS with up-to-the-minute information from remote sensors, and on-the-ground data from on-site field teams.

Asset mapping and management

GIS applications have long been used to track and map asset locations. However, GIS alone doesn’t provide a holistic asset management solution. Data collection technology bridges the gap between location and data by feeding GIS real-time inspection updates. This data transforms assets into well-monitored resources, with all the information needed to make plans for upgrades and repair triage. GIS plus data from a field inspection platform even helps with budgeting, as both pieces of the asset puzzle allow for informed prioritization and decision-making.

Engineer doing inspection at wastewater treatment pond showcasing how GIS applications for water, wastewater, and stormwater systems

Streamlined emergency operations

Imagine a scenario where a sudden water main break or water pollution accident no longer means chaos. Thanks to GIS applications for water, wastewater, and stormwater systems, water utilities can visualize data in real time, enabling quicker decision-making. Now, introduce data collection platforms to the equation. They serve as the conduit between field updates and GIS maps, ensuring that both the office and field teams are on the same page. Chaos turns into coordination, and swift action becomes the norm.

Sustainability, redefined

GIS applications are a great starting place for conserving water, allowing users to organize and analyze different layers of data maps to better understand trends and monitor changes. The GIS visualization of conditions – say, the monitoring of water levels in an aquifer – is an important first step. However,  data collected at the mapped location gives a more complete picture. Here, data collection platforms work with GIS platforms to give sustainability its digital edge. Real-time data from sensors and field inspections flows seamlessly into GIS, painting an accurate picture of water consumption, site conditions, water quality, hydraulic properties, and more. This data gives meaning and context to GIS data. It shows not only where everything is, but how water systems are functioning, how they’ve changed over time, and most importantly, how water sustainability can be maintained or improved.

Shaping the future of water management

As we look ahead, the collaboration between GIS applications for water, wastewater, and stormwater systems and data collection platforms continues to pioneer a new era of water management.  Together, they navigate the path toward efficient, responsive, and sustainable water management. Working in harmony, both technologies help to safeguard this critical resource for generations to come. 


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