Development of the GIS Within the Water Company


Geographic information systems (GIS) validate every day, and with increasing popularity, that they are some essential tools for storing, managing, handling and mapping a huge amount of georeferenced data, which related to a data source shape confirmed physical space. The ever more popular use of personal computers, plus a greater choice by software manufacturers allow an item, previously limited to powerful computers, can be cured by a large quantity of users.

Geographic information systems make possible, among other activities, the capability to extract different layers of thematic information associated with a particular spatial area, as well as all sorts of analysis and diagnosis in areas as diverse as territorial planning, or the surroundings or management resources. . .

This report is designed to examine the development of a geographic information system within an company. More specifically this is a normal water company, as might be the case of Thames Normal water. This record will go into the operation of a large water company. The type of the information included into geographic information system is varied. For instance, data from network infrastructure jobs are used as well as a physical aspect, such as hydrologic basin boundaries, water systems and other. . . In this company there is also administrative information such as directories related to public use of drinking water resources in a basin. A different type of information offered is the satellite tv image.

For the introduction of the geographic information system it's been necessary to carefully define its infrastructure of all the components involved in the process.

These components are

hardware, storage area, software, information composition in a server (done in a manner that can be cost effective), tools for being able to access and upgrading. Thus, it allows system users to gain access to all information related to use them in tasks of drinking water management. The idea of the implementation of an geographic information system in the business aspires to provide technological and methodological solutions to the responsibilities of normal water management. The geographic information system is set up to respond to questions that aren't predefined in advance.


An initial examination of the business gives an idea of its size, and in basic to this, the kind of infrastructure is chosen. Also, an analysis of the resources available is needed to be able to meet the requirements of GIS that the company has. Services are placed set up regarding maintenance of the geo-referenced information: infrastructure maintenance. . . In just a drinking water company, like Thames Water, several activities related to drinking water management are summarised next in order to give examples of dependence on a GIS.

- First, there's a need to control water resources, the general public usage of drinking water, water source infrastructure and reservoirs

- GIS can help in the creation and execution of water plans.

- Carry out the supervision of public water usage and deal with the use of water.

- Manage the implementation of works and drinking water infrastructure, organize the exploitation and management of works and tasks.

- Manage the recruitment, management and control of the wages in the company

- A mobile system that strengthen the department's ability to manage field resources and service requests (Jacobs, D. et al. , 2007)

GIS sources

As mentioned previously, the company handles information from different sources, each with its particular characteristics

information from infrastructure tasks and other jobs and other straight related to the environment, information from information systems information from satellite television imagery and derived products. Information from infrastructure jobs and other tasks and other straight related to the natural environment The assignments that the company handles generate a whole lot of geographic information: major infrastructure assignments (for example, drinking water resource), environmental monitoring and planning (like flood zones and evacuation routes map (Mioc, 2008) and research maps on issues relating directly to the surroundings (for example maps of rivers or watersheds).

Once the business receives the info, the administrator of GIS brings value to information. One of these is the case of water source infrastructure: creating topology, and allowing queries of what happens at certain point. Information from other systems

The GIS of the company uses data from other information systems. The GIS software of the company is associated with external databases. Through database connection the company get access to information on Oracle format and Gain access to format that contain administrative information with the files of the actions of the public with normal water resources (for example ingest, discharges, building permits, etc. . ).

It is also linked to other information systems with information straight related to the physical environment (network information system of surface water control)

The company databases derive from a relational data model where data is stored in two proportions tables. In this way theses tables are related and contain records for one entity. The business databases are also based in a georelational model where in fact the tables are linked and contain data like topology, features etc.

Using SQL language the business can query the info from the databases and in this way can create maps and furniture with the information required by the users. The integration between databases and GIS software allows the finish user to symbolize the components of the database on the map, by doing so many layers o different maps can be exposed and overlaid and physical relations between the elements mapped can be examined.

The company uses Automated Mapping/Facilities Management AM/FM. With this software the non geographic and the geographic information can be integrated in one. The information of the company databases is geocoded with the postcode address of their home. The procedure to geocode can be tedious, so another company will it. Once the information is geocoded analysis can be performed combined with other maps overlaid like a city map for illustration. Like this the company can carry out different tasks. Information from satellite television images and produced products A different type of information which makes use of GIS is the remote sensing information. Through deals with others drinking water company regularly obtains prepared images from satellites such as Landsat or SPOT. The images are geometrically and radiometrically corrected, the metadata is completed which is built-into the GIS.

The images are produced as something of great aesthetic interest. Compositions are created with true color and false colour, easily accessible guide maps are created for fast access to see the images. These details is also used to track drinking water requirements of crops, monitoring of snow cover and monitoring of normal water quality along the seacoast. On products derived from monitoring the area are creating directories, initially simple, storing the info, and are creating management tools to generate

reports, graphs and maps to gain access to quickly.

On products derived from monitoring the region databases are manufactured, that store the information, and management tools are created to generate reviews, graphs and maps to gain access to quickly. Maps can be made out of this information of dampness index, cadastral parcels with normal water content, evapotranspiration, etc. . One of the problems that the business is facing is having less knowledge of the resources of distant sensing data.

The GIS and Far off Sensing software used have been chosen based on the needs of the company: the main element details when deciding which software to use in the company are: which benefits the software offer, the profile of users who'll utilize it is also important, range of licenses needed and the purchase price is also important.

The technology is employed by the company is ESRI because offers a higher performance level in GIS: for example, gets the necessary tools for evaluation and interfaces hydraulic and hydrologic modelling (very very important to a normal water company) and offers the opportunity of coding highly personalized interfaces that tend to be very friendly pleasant by users, however the downside is its high cost that can limit the amount of licenses.


For hardware, the company has chosen to use a high-powered server as the company is a big size company and the quantity of map information made is very large. It is very important to choose a high performance hardware because as a large company, the amount of data to be prepared is very high. When choosing the hardware is considered the time factor as the large amount of data that is received daily makes essential a technology that can offer mid-term capacity. Besides, the hardware has to react to the addition of new series of maps and the continuing contribution of remote control sensing imagery.

It is vital to control the huge volumes of physical data in a reliable and effective way if the GIS is usually to be cost justified. Apart from hardware and software the structure of the info is also very important.

The usage of the information has to be easy to the users and also the maintenance and upgrade. Information must be stored in a manner that is organized in a objective way, scalable and easy to include new information.

The composition of the info have been created according to the major thematic areas within the company. Here are the top four groups where the data has been split into

- Mapping management:

maps and databases that include components of the territory immediately mixed up in management, control, planning and land always with regards to water business. These maps are generated within the business. (watershed, sewage systems, etc. ).

- Thematic Mapping:

mapping not linked to the normal water business, but that relates to environmental issues that the company is related to like natural reserves,

- Mapping of reference

map collections supplied by the Ordnance Survey (all type of maps, from topographic to aerial photography rectified. . .

- Other mapping:

maps and directories of an integral part of the territory administered by the business, this mapping could also come from other entities therefore of specific studies

Those who do easier responsibilities they don't need a full training on GIS and Remote Sensing because probably they are not going to utilize it, but what it is important is that these users have a personalised training on the task that will perform normally.

For this reason within the company some personalised training is undertaken. Also step by step manuals talking about the functions and most importantly the GIS office of the company is conducting ongoing advice on issues of GIS and Universal remote Sensing to the entire company.


Currently the GIS is an essential tool in the in your day to day in the company. Work of different sorts relating the water is undertaken with GIS. The GIS model of the business has allowed, despite some problems, enhance in each of the workspaces GIS as an instrument for management, planning and analysis.

Jacobs, D. , Souza F. , Ramey R. "GIS to the Recovery" Drinking water & Wastes Process February 2007 Level: 47 Number: 2

Darka Mioc, Franois Anton and Gengsheng Liang On-line Neighborhood Network Evaluation for Flood

Evacuation Planning Remote control Sensing and Gis Solutions for Monitoring and Prediction of Disasters. Berlin: Springer, 2008. Pages219-242

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