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.
2 min read
What is a measurement service in a geographic information systems (GIS/NIS)?
Topics: District Heating Water smart water
3 min read
How does KeyAqua GIS help water utilities in their daily lives? Examples from our customer Kymen Vesi.
Kymen Vesi Oy is one of Keypro's longest and most active customers in the water utility sector. The company has worked actively long time in asset management activities and the network map is high quality and up to date. KeyAqua is actively used in everyday life among all stakeholders. The department's development manager Jaana Pulkkinen has used KeyAqua in many different tasks. In this blog, we will give a few examples of these tasks.
1) Acute everyday situations such as water leaks
2) Planning work tasks such as replacing water meters
3) Leakage reduction and leak detection
4) Leading with knowledge and decision making
How does KeyAqua help when a water ducts are leaking?
When water leakage is detected in a certain area by measurement, KeyAqua plays an important role. It provides immediate information on the location, age and size of pipes in the terrain. Based on this, information is analyzed: where the leak is likely to be? What part in the network could have this leakage? Usually, the amount of leakage gives hints: whether it is a bigger distribution line or a smaller customer service line.
KeyAqua is also used when a leak has already been localized. Visualizations, themes and network follower tool are very helpful tools to locate where are the closest valves of the leak location (i.e. how to depressurize the pipe). In addition, KeyAqua will show on the theme map all fire hydrants and fire water stations if temporary water distribution to consumers is required. Finally, the leak is documented for later reporting and analysis.
KeyAqua is also used when communicating disturbances and supply interruptions: The SMS service and the fault map feature are definitely one of the most useful functions to communicate with customers. It’s great when necessary information to customers is send and received quickly and with very little effort. Usually, in addition to the actual water outages, Kymen Vesi also communicates about other possible effects, such as pressure fluctuations. With KeyAqua, information is delivered to homes quickly and time is saved to correct the actual fault.
How does KeyAqua help to plan jobs, such as replacing water meters?
The installation date of the water meters is also included in the KeyAqua. An automatic theme is built into KeyAqua that highlights those meters with different color that need to be replaced in near future. This information is visualized in an easy-to-understand way when specific layer is activated in KeyAqua. This is one such example that small technical configuration gives a big benefit to everyday life. It is essential that the information is visualized on the map as a theme where different colors have different meanings. This way users understands the most essential things very fast.
How does KeyAqua help to reduce leakage water?
KeyAqua's water balance calculation helps to understand the overall situation of leaks in different areas. KeyAqua has good Smart Water features that allow analyzes and calculations to be performed automatically without the user having to do a slow, manual and error-prone Excel analyses. It is essential to visualize the results on the map using clear colors and thematic. This gives user possibility to compare different areas and highlight where leaks are happening. This allows more detailed analysis to be targeted at the right areas. This saves time and money when personnel can focus immediately on the problematic part of the network.
How are KeyAqua and leading with knowledge related?
KeyAqua is a place to store silent information. When information is in one place and used by everyone, no information is lost. That way, everyday life doesn't have to be based on memory alone.
The strength of KeyAqua is that it helps gather information and can also be exported from KeyAqua elsewhere for further processing. The bottom line is this: data flows through integrations and leads to correct metrics and reports for decision making. Thus, the link to information management is clear and tangible.
KeyAqua's strengths are data import, export (e.g. Rest API), visualizations and the big picture. It helps utilities in long-term planning, data analysis and visualization, helps to explain things to colleagues and thus speeds up fact based decision-making. All in all, this saves time, money and nerves. KeyAqua enables systematic asset management process.
What is it like to work with Keypro?
Development projects have always progressed in good spirits. Working with the Keypro personnel is pleasant, things are promoted together in a good spirit. In addition to the official hot topics, the solving process is also humorous and relaxed. Utility department has a feeling that Keypro is committed to solve the customer's needs. Kymen Vesi is also committed to developing future together with Keypro.
The interview was conducted while Jaana was Kymen Vesi's development manager. Jaana currently works at Sweco in asset management and is still an important partner of Keypro today.
Topics: Water smart water Customer Story
7 min read
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.
Topics: District Heating Water Gas collaboration smart water
3 min read
What is a water balance calculation and what does the water balance tool do?
The clean water network and the sewage network often have repair debt brought due to aging network and leak water amount is high. This wastes the pumping stations and water plant's resources when the drinking water produced leaks from the pipes to the ground, or rain water enters the sewers, thereby reducing the cost-effectiveness of the water plant's operations. This may also lead to higher customer charges for water users in the longer term.
In KeyAqua, the water balance calculation tool can be used to calculate the water balance based on geographic areas, which allows various leakage water analyzes to be performed.
Topics: Water smart water
3 min read
Prioritizing water network renovations is a topical theme for all water utilities. Renovation debt is growing, and it is estimated that the number of renovations should even tripled in near future to restructure the aging network in a timely manner. However, that is not realistic and would also lead to unreasonable increases in the price of water for the consumers. Thus, more criteria other than one's own feeling about the condition of the network or just the age of the network are needed. The subject is important, and also very broad. It can easily be difficult to see how the topic could be approached and how to get started.
I encourage to start with simple steps, and then proceed after topic is more familiar. By utilizing the network information system, it is possible to make an analysis of network information with even a little effort, which can be utilized in the planning of renovations. The initial situation of each water utility is different, and the accuracy of the analysis should be adjusted accordingly.
The basic idea is this: First, ensure that the data is stored in the system, in the right format in the right place, and that the data is maintained. After that, utilizing a variety of analyzes will take you toward prioritized renovation planning.
My own recommendation is to first allocate resources to update the location information of the network. This way you know location and length of the network. Next, you may want to update your network construction year. I also encourage you to update the estimated construction years as well, as indicative information is better than completely missing information. Furthermore, I suggest to document the level of accuracy of the data (“year of construction is estimated”). I also recommend to identify critical pipes and critical water users already in the first rough-level analyzes.
Once the location data and construction years have been reviewed, it is worth taking more criteria into the analyzes. Water balance, leakage water, observed condition i.e. leaks are good examples. In addition, other criticality factors can be used, such as groundwater areas.
Regardless of the number of criteria, the condition index calculation and pipe classification tool of the network information system is a good analysis tool for perceiving a large data mass. It allows fragmented and extensive information to be visualized in an easy-to-understand format. It can also be used to compare fitness rating, criticality rating and a combination of these. The final decision on the order of reorganization is always made by the person, but the analysis helps in decision-making. Thus, the analysis helps to transform tacit information, network information, and other criteria into an understandable and comparable format.