3 min read
Data import and export are really important in the network information system. Our KeyAqua NIS/GIS is a good tool for collection, validation, preparation and/or harmonization of the heterogeneous data. In the project Waterverse, we will pilot selected use cases in the selected themes: risk management, network management, asset management and leak water management.
Topics: Water collaboration smart water
2 min read
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.
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.
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
2 min read
Picture: Overview of measurement areas and directions of water flows between areas
When water utility is delivering cost efficient and high quality drinking water to their end customers like individual households, hospitals, companies and other industrial entities, there are many things that need to work flawlessly in sync in the water distribution network. Technology creates possibilities to understand what is really happening underground in the network and one way to know how everything is working is to measure network, water flows, pressures, temperatures etc. using different measurement devices and services.
Picture: Closer view of the network and customer own detailed basemap
Nowadays each market has their own local, country specific service providers and measurement device manufacturers, and many times different solutions has also different data models. There is no globally unified or standardized way how to create and manage data which is flowing between different software solutions and metering devices through integrations. Interfacing these different solutions to automate data transfer between the systems is possible but to connect different services as easy as possible, it requires productized and flexible solutions. This productized measurement database is something that KeyAqua GIS already has, and it will be even better in future due to growing needs to integrate. Currently KeyAqua already includes compatibility with several different measurement devices and new services are relatively easy to add.
Picture: Water supply ducts and network status measured by IoT-device
KeyAqua GIS can be interfaced with different measurement services to show metering data visually together with network map in an easy to understand way. It is possible to define range of numerical values of metering devices and when this predefined range is exceeded, measurement device colour changes on KeyAqua GIS map view from green to red. This indicates active problem and something needs to be done. This way all users and water utility personnel can immediately see locations of all measurement devices and what is happening in the network and if any problems have occurred. It is also possible to import and show numerical metering data in KeyAqua GIS when needed. When deciding best possible solution, it is always about the use case that what end user is trying to achieve.
Picture: Measurement device location in network and measured data shown in graph format
Main idea when integrating with KeyAqua is not to replace metering device own software and analysis tool but to import and show all necessary information in one central view in KeyAqua such as utility network itself, customers, basemaps, cadastral information, metering device locations, possible alerts etc. This one central view of the network gives KeyAqua users possibility to understand network as a whole.
2 min read
In what situations do water utilities usually want to communicate with customers?
KeyAqua's Short Message Service (SMS) and fault map feature help you quickly inform customers and water users comprehensively about network disruptions or planned outages. The traditional informing households with paper bulletins, is too laborious and the delivery of the message is uncertain and slow. In addition to the text message, a fault map can be embedded on the water supply company's website, which visually describes the extent of the disturbance. This map extract will also be sent to the customers with a text message if necessary.
Why is real-time communication important?
Fast and reliable communication is important because the effects of a disturbance may even be related to water quality. For example, if you are prompted to boil water, it is critical that the message reach as many water users as possible as quickly as possible. Even in the event of a water outage, the water consumer will benefit from the information when the message arrives without delay. In addition, the more comprehensive the recipient of the message, the less customers of the water utility call the customer service. Thus, real-time communication reduces the impact of disruption on water consumers and improves customer satisfaction, as well as reducing the need for customer service resources.
In what different ways can you communicate with customers through KeyAqua? What are the options?
Customer communication works either completely independently (without KeyAqua network management) or as an optional feature to KeyAqua. The message can be sent via SMS, voicemail, email, and fault map. It is also possible to communicate to different groups: either direct customers only (data is obtained from the customer information system) or population-based. In Finland, population-based communications, information can be retrieved from the register on a regional basis, which provides all non-secret adult numbers. There may be country specific differences for this service. In addition, KeyAqua has a service where water users can add their numbers or prohibit to receive any messages.
What is the best feature in KeyAquan's SMS + fault map service and why?
Thanks to a highly automated system, all information with a message and a fault map can be sent to customers / residents in less than a minute.
An easy and fast-to-use browser-based service that offers the best possible coverage for reaching water users as well as local residents. The information is therefore user-friendly and also improves the service of the water utility, ie customer satisfaction.
3 min read
Keypro and Geomatikk together for the Norwegian market with GIS/NIS systems
Topics: Telecom Lighting District Heating Water Gas
3 min read
The deployment of a geographical information system for a new customer often begins with a data conversion. The purpose of the conversion, ie the automatic data migration, is to import the current water supply network documentation from various sources to the geographical information system, using special data processing tools and the data import logic built with them. After the programmatic conversion, the customer's imported network documentation is often corrected manually, for example due to the poor documentation quality level. In this case, for example, the connections of the network components to various equipments like valves in the water supply network are checked manually, missing network nodes are added, and the attributes and location information of the network objects are checked and updated.
When improvements of network documentation is done, it is possible to use miscellanous files, pictures and other information related to same area which has been dropped from data conversion due to illogical method and content of documentation. These materials can be attached as background material for the converted network. One possible task to make the network documentation better and more comprehensive is digitization. The quality of the network information can be somewhat improved, for example by positioning the scanned rasters on the map and digitizing the real water supply network on them. In this case, the mapping accuracy is also recorded on network object in connection with the digitization, so that it is later known how the documentation was created and what its level of accuracy is. All important information will be preserved.
Network documentation end result is often also adjusted according to water company needs and goals. Sometimes the project is larger and more comprehensive, in which case the documentation itself can be done at the customer's office location, or the customer can come to Keypro's office with the materials. In this case, it is possible to digitize even the so-called tacit information, that is, to gather orally the personal experience of the person in question about the location and characteristics of the network, which may not have been documented in any way before. Sometimes, in turn, only individual duct lines are documented based on the data provided. It is essential to document all the information that is available and with the accuracy that the information can collect. Everything related to the network documentation is useful and the mapping accuracy is also saved.
Some water companies also use the documentation service in the form of a continuous service after the deployment of the GIS. In this case, the network information maintenance customer submits the material specified in a separate agreement to Keypro for documentation, which is processed within the time period agreed in the maintenance agreement.
The surveying file provided by the customer is the easiest way to create new objects in the GIS. The KeyAqua GIS survey file import features can read survey files imported from a separate high precision GPS surveying device if the coding data sets of KeyAqua and the mapping device are consistent. If the surveying file has shortcomings so that Keyaqua cannot read it, the file will be corrected in these respects as well. At the same time, the coordinate system is checked and, if necessary, converted and corrected.
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
4 min read
The deployment of the new KeyAqua SaaS (Software as a Service) geographical information system is easy and fast if all necessary preparations have been done before deployment.
The water utility places an order for a KeyAqua GIS system based on offer which is created by Keypro or our Partner. Offer defines the scope of the delivery including pricing and other services included. KeyAqua GIS is the system with optional features and services where the water-, sewer and stormwater network information will be managed.
First, responsible account manager holds a kick-off meeting with the water utility and partner to go through the necessary details. At this point, customer’s and partner's involvement is essential to get the necessary topics discussed and agreed upon. The kick-off meeting is the most important meeting of the entire project, as it defines necessary details and additional optional features that can be activated for the environment, such as interfaces etc.
2 min read
Our hydraulic modeling projects always start with inspecting and improving network documentation quality. This is to ensure that the modeling results represent the real world as accurately as possible. You can learn more how to improve quality of documentation here. But what are the pros of modeling? What does it offer to our customers? Shortly, the answer is money and time.
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.
Topics: Water smart water
1 min read
How to manage water-, sewer- and stormwater network assets and make sure that all network operations are efficient? Read our KeyAqua GIS overview to see how we can help water network professionals.
Geographical information system called KeyAqua is a browser-based system for water company to manage and document their water-, sewer- and stormwater networks. Network inventory includes all relevant network objects, their locations, connections and attribute information. With KeyAqua water business professionals including all external stakeholders can manage their network operations more efficiently and plan future network investments in a transparent and systematic way.
KeyAqua includes tools and features for network search, highlighting, analysis and reporting based on ducts and nodes locations and attribute information. Using these tools water company can understand the condition of the network, create easy to understand visualizations for everyone and start planning future maintenance tasks.
In addition KeyAqua system can be interfaced with different other IT-systems such as CRM, remote metering, SCADA, hydraulic modeling, water balance calculation, map services etc. Connecting several systems with interfaces ensures data flow between tools and creates even more possibilities to use, analyze and visualize existing network, customer and metering data to make network operations more efficient.
Using these tools and optional modules water company can also improve customer satisfaction by informing end users for water supply interruptions using public fault map and communicate ongoing and future maintenance breaks with visualized maps using text messages.
KeyAqua is central view of your network including relevant data to help water business professionals provide high quality and low-cost drinking water to end users now and in a future.
See KeyAqua product teaser video below.
2 min read
High quality and detailed network documentation can give excellent results when planning future water supply network investments and daily maintenance planning. Condition and value of the network can be defined very accurately, and this helps significantly when water company is thinking how and where available resources now and in future should be assigned. Also, yearly future investments can be planned so that network can be maintained without creating more renovation debt and risking high quality water distribution to end users. Optimizing capital expenses and operating expenses is the key to keep water quality high and costs as low as possible.
4 min read
Usually, one of the most common questions during water supply GIS software procurement process from water utilities is that how do they import their existing network information from old documentation and other data sources to KeyAqua. In following sections, we cover most important things what water utilities should know about the data import to GIS solutions.
5 min read
In a modern water business environment, the amount of information created every day is constantly increasing and getting more complex. Technology companies like IoT and remote metering manufacturers are creating new ways to collect measurement data from the water-, sewer- and stormwater networks. The amount of data collection devices is growing exponentially all the time and new services are introduced. This creates new kind of possibilities to water company to analyze the network status, but it also creates challenges regarding data management and data flow between different systems. So how to manage and use all collected data efficiently? How to ensure data flow between systems and make sure that you have necessary data in right place available for all stakeholders?
2 min read
The network data and documentation of water companies is often documented poorly with bad quality. Locations of ducts and water nodes are converted long time ago from paper maps to different CAD/GIS systems and then converted even further to modern network information systems, like KeyAqua. Even though the data might have been accurate in the old maps, quality, attributes, and location information might have been lost after multiple conversions.
3 min read
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.
Topics: District Heating Water Gas
2 min read
Is your water-, sewer- and stormwater network infrastructure as built documentation up to date? Can you share all data easily and fast with your internal and external stakeholders like managers, planners, and contractors field personnel? How to make necessary data available for everyone?
1 min read
Do you have leaks in your water supply network? Do you know where they are and what is the amount on non-revenue water? If planned or unexpected changes happen in your network, do you know how it affects your network behavior?
2 min read
Cebu, Philippines; Vantaa, Finland (December 4, 2020). We are happy to announce the strategic partnership between Alliance Software Inc., a leading Filipino IT solutions and services company, and Keypro Oy, a global Finnish company focused on streamlining Geographic Information Systems and network information management. This partnership aims to strengthen the digital network of utility companies in the Philippines by providing high quality, detailed, and up-to-date network information available to all stakeholders.
Topics: Water Press Release collaboration
1 min read
Communication between different stakeholders and especially with end customers has always been challenging task. Customers are expecting high quality service and are not happy when something isn't working. No matter how good water supply network operations and maintenance is, eventually something breaks and it causes unexpected supply interruption for several water subscribers. Immediately water company’s customer service email and phone is filled with information requests from not very happy end customers. Everyone wants to know what is happening, when supply interruption will be over and does this affect somehow to quality of drinking water.
1 min read
Water companies have significant amount of network assets underground which require constant maintenance and care to ensure high quality drinking water to end customers. These networks includes several different yearly recurring maintenance tasks what needs to be done in time to ensure well-functioning network. Neglecting these tasks might lead to water quality problems or constantly happening supply interruptions.
1 min read
Are you having hard time to create long term investment and maintenance plans for your water supply network? Are you using all your limited resources to fix only acute problems and no time to plan future renovations and investments?