Is this a Water Wizard with his magic staff?



No, it’s Authority employee Alex Groff with a GPS receiver.  He’s taking GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates for the Authority’s ArcGIS system.

A geographic information system (GIS) is a system that creates, manages, analyzes and maps all types of data.  GIS connects data to a map, connecting locations with what is there and information about what is there.  The Authority’s GIS system maps water mains, hydrants, valves, water services, sewer manholes, and more. Here’s an example of how these look on the system map:

The water mains are the blue lines, the hydrants are the red icons, valves are blue “bowties”, water shutoffs are yellow, and sewer manholes are green with an x on them.  The yellow icons are areas that need to be checked out for some reason.

Within this system, records of mainenance and repair can be kept.

Photos can show the condition of system assets.

Installation or repair of assets can be visually documented.

Below is the general process for locating an asset to add to the Authority’s GIS system.  Some assets are obvious, such as a hydrant, but others might be buried, in an unexpected place, or shown on a map but not found.

Search begins

Using a magnetic locator, GIS Specialist Alex Groff begins the search for a valve box along the route of a water main.

Curb box located

The locator indicates that this is probably where the valve box is. The valve box allows access to the gate valve in the main five feet below.

Dig to find

Alex has marked the spot with paint and is digging to hopefully uncover the valve box.

Curb box found

The valve box is there! It and the gate valve down inside it will be inspected. If a repair is needed, that will be noted.

Curb Box painted

The valve box should be raised to grade, but the lid is cleaned and painted now.

Acquiring the location

Alex uses the GPS to add the location of the valve box and valve to the database, along with any notes or comments.