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Using GIS to Bring Value to Value Engineering

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Charlotte County is in the process of upgrading a reverse osmosis (RO) water treatment plant (WTP) and well field that was a formerly privatized facility. Since the facility was only recently purchased by Charlotte County, the County needed to know the current condition and capacity of plant components prior to beginning a plant and well field expansion. The Malcolm Pirnie project manager saw the Value Engineering data management/evaluation process as an opportunity to build additional value into the assessment. Instead of managing the assessment data using stagnant spreadsheet and word processing software, the data was managed in an Access Database (DB) and GIS so that the data could be easily plugged into a larger asset management system, when the County was ready. The County is currently deploying Datastream as their CMMS, but was not far enough along at the time to use any Datastream field modules for this project. The County already has a GIS tool for their overall distribution system, but nothing at the plant level. The County had CAD files developed by the previous owner's engineering consultant, but nothing in GIS at the plant level. Based on available electronic information, and the current level of implementation of the County's CMMS, Malcolm Pirnie provided the following integration approach:



CAD to GIS conversion of key plant asset features


Paper printouts of Excel worksheets for equipment in each process area (including: electrical, structural, and mechanical assessments)


Data entry from paper forms to electronic format (Access DB) to manage the field data


Digital cameras to capture asset condition, manufacturer ID tags, and general plant surroundings.


Importing of asset information into ArcReader, which integrated:



Asset information with a Geodatabase, digitizing the various critical equipment (pipes, valves, pumps, etc.)


CAD drawings as visual backdrops


Links to photos of assets


Read-write Access DB to update asset attributes and conditions from inside ArcReader


Reporting functions from Access DB


Thematic mapping of assets by condition, criticality, etc.


The benefits of this custom product, Visual Asset, to the County include:



Visual Asset will ultimately allow for a visual user interface for County staff to select plant equipment assets from a site drawing in the DataStream 7i CMMS system when interfaced with ESRI GIS. The current method to select equipment from a plant or pump station used by most utilities is to perform a search by equipment class, category, and plant location from a hierarchy of tables. This search can be cumbersome and complicated if there are many assets defined in the CMMS systems.


Visual Asset can be cost effectively updated by including asset tags in CAD drawings developed during the detailed design phase.


If the County chooses, the Visual Asset product can be further developed into an interactive O&M manual.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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