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The Water/Wastewater utilities use Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to integrate a range of information and applications with a geographic component into one manageable system. GIS lets you organize, manage and distribute geographic information gathered from various data bases while maintaining data integrity. GIS provides a spatially based approach to organizing information about the physical components of a utility, as well as customer information. GIS use improves utility operations, maintenance, and planning. GIS computer applications help utility staff to analyze information and use it to improve operations and improve capital planning and maintenance.

GIS can perform spatial analysis to solve complex engineering problems and can effectively communicate a solution by visual representation more clearly than traditional engineering plans or tabulated data. Also at this time of heightened security, utility management agencies need access to information faster to deliver safe and effective public services. GIS software continues to increase in capability while becoming simpler to use. The intranet and Internet accessibility, ability to exchange of data between GIS and CAD systems and sharing data with hydraulic modeling software is improving and becoming much simpler. These recent advances make GIS an exceptional tool for managing utility data and utility activities. However, GIS requires a significant investment in equipment, staff training and technology support and therefore, any implementation of GIS must commit to such obligation.

Many utilities have discovered that GIS can make their operations run more efficiently by saving time and effort. From daily maintenance, inspection and construction tasks to the planning of future operations, GIS can and does play a role in many utilities. This paper will describe how some utilities have leveraged the strength of GIS. The paper also describes recent advances in GIS that have helped utilities gain the digital edge as they approach meeting the demands of recent regulations such as those stipulated by US EPA and the Capacity, Management, Operations, and Maintenance (cMOM) requirements.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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