What is a measurement service in a geographic information systems (GIS/NIS)?
Briefly described, the measurement service helps to process and visualize data, i.e. for example information measured by the sensors of the water supply network so that it can be used in many different situations and analyses. A few examples of use are the reduction of leakage water and risk management.
Technically speaking, what does measurement service do?
The measurement database service of the geographical and network information system retrieves the measurement results of different measurement data producers, i.e. device and software manufacturers, from the agreed source and stores them centrally in one place in a database optimized for this type of time series data. The service provides an interface for querying the measurement results, which can be used by different customers' Keyaqua and KeyDH GIS solutions. As a longer-term development, it is possible to perform various analyzes of the stored data using ready-made tools of the database and.
What kind of information can be imported into the geographic information systems?
In principle, any time series data or alarms can be stored in the measurement database service. Currently, it is possible to import results from various data producers, eg Digita, Insta, Lining, HWM, Kamstrup, Mipro, Soficta. The results are most often water volumes, flows or water level heights, but also alarms that tell about the situation or condition of the network or the measuring device itself. It is possible to automatically visualize this information on the GIS map as alerts. This way, for example, site visits or maintenance tasks can be more quickly targeted at the right target.
What is the use of the measurement service for Keypro? How does it facilitate information management?
Previously, the measurement data in question was distributed in the own database of each customer using the geographic information system, so that the results of different data producers were located in their own table. This made it difficult to maintain information and develop the system. Any technical changes always had to be made in several places. Time series databases support fast export and search of measurement results and offer ready-made tools for time series analysis.
What is the use of the measurement service for the network owner? Why does the customer benefit from our measurement service?
For customers, i.e. mostly network owners, the benefit can be seen most in shorter information retrieval times when the information is viewed using the forms of the spatial information system. In addition, based on the collected data, it is possible to perform different analyzes more easily.
What can be done with the information?
Measurement results can be displayed by measuring device in the geographic information system directly as raw readings using the form intended for that purpose. With this form, you can choose the time period in which you want to view the readings, and after the search, the readings will either be listed in a table or they can also be displayed in a line diagram.
From these raw readings, e.g. area-specific flow sums for water balance calculation. That is, when it is known the amounts of water and waste water entering the area and being pumped out of the area, as well as an estimate of the amount of water consumed in the areas during that time, a leakage analysis can be made.
In addition, alarm data can be viewed as map visualizations. This way you can see at a quick glance where you should go to visit the site or where you should target maintenance.
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What is a measurement service in a geographic information systems (GIS/NIS)?
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In this blog, I summarize the year 2021 from my own perspective and explain you how we have involved our customers and users in the product development.
Dialogues with customers
I work as a product marketing manager in our KeyDuct team, meaning that I translate needs and messages between users and the developers of KeyAqua, KeyDH and KeyGas products. In our Product Strategy, we have defined the direction of our products for the next three years. Dialogues with our customers played an important role when defining the direction. The project clarified which new features our customers need the most. Equally important, however, were the findings related to the improvement of our existing tools. On the other hand, it is important for us to develop the product forward, but it is equally important to invest in the usability and user experience of existing functions. For this reason, I have spent a significant portion of my working hours this year engaging in dialogue with our software users. We have wanted to involve our customers very actively so that the everyday perspective can be heard and taken into account. In general, this means that usability and UX is also highlighted in our product strategy and we take it into account in our projects.
Joint development team
In practical level, user orientation is implemented for example in our joint development team with our customers. This means that we regularly organize brainstorming meetings and involve our users in the product development process to define where we should develop the products. In addition, we are investing more in the preparation of use case descriptions when we are in the feature planning phase. We’ve also started a usability testing policy, and that’s a big help to us in improving the usability of the software. Usability testing has been of direct benefit to the development of our SMS service, fault map and pipeline forms. Some of the improvements have already been implemented, some will be implemented during the spring of 2022. In addition, usability testing and dialogues help us better understand customer and user needs, which is reflected in the long-term perspective and understanding the customer needs.
Image: joint development team meeting in Turku 2021
Meeting our users in the field
In addition to user involvement in the ideation and the product development, it is important that we also meet concretely users in the field. Online meeting software Teams is a really handy tool that allows you to easily go through a wide variety of topics with many stakeholders at the same time. However, it does not completely replace face-to-face meeting and field visits: in the user’s own environment and meeting users with different use cases is really important. Fortunately, the opportunity for this was early in the year when Olli and I got to visit and learn about the maintenance operations in streetlight networks. In addition, I was able to visit several different customers in December, and we discussed, for example, the needs of surveyors and mobile users, the needs for service and maintenance, and the needs for data transfer between different software solutions.
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How to operate and manage district heating and cooling network assets efficiently? Read our KeyDH GIS overview to see how we can help heating and cooling network professionals to maintain and operate their network better.
Geographical information system called KeyDH is a browser-based system for district heating and cooling network owners, contractors, planners and other internal and external stakeholders to manage and document their heating and cooling networks. Online network inventory includes all relevant network objects, their locations, connections and attribute information. With KeyDH district heating business professionals including all stakeholders can manage their daily network maintenance planning, operations and tasks more efficiently and transparently. This enables possibility to plan future network investments for upcoming years in a transparent and systematic way.
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I have just completed a long, comprehensive and important project regarding our long-term plan for water-, gas- and district heating NIS-products. As a result of the project, we have clarified the purpose of the products, the vision and the priorities for the coming years. In addition, we have a clear indicative roadmap for the next three years. Now that this is documented in one package, it’s easier to take topics systematically and step-by-step into product development sprints. In addition, topics are easier to discuss and brainstorm with customers and partners when projects have names and tentative schedules.