What is a GIS?

A large part of the water network is buried, this is where the GIS comes into play

A GIS (geographic information institute) is a computer program that works by linking geographic points with data.

Many of the applications we consult on a daily basis with the mobile are GIS adapted to different themes, such as Google Maps, which allows us to find places, guide us to a destination, view photos of the site, see restaurant information, opinions, etc. In our case, the information we work with in the GIS refers to elements of a network of drinking water or wastewater.

When repairing breakdowns or making changes to the network, since a large part is buried, it is necessary to use the maps in which it is drawn. A few years ago, its location was only in the memory of the workers and little by little it was transferred to paper plans. With the advent of computer drawing programs, this information was passed to digital format, thus simplifying the obtaining of information.

“Currently working with a GIS program that unites us with graphic information with a database and that allows the current network to be updated in real time with any mobile device”

From the GIS, we can consult many of the properties of the elements that make up a network, such as, for example, the material of the element, its dimensions, the year it was installed, the depth where it is located, etc. It also allows us to link documents produced for the management of the service such as sanitary controls or camera inspections that are carried out in the case of the sewer system. Apart from that, we can consult data from other internally linked programs such as subscribers, and thus control the consumption by zone, locate the incidents of the subscribers and know which subscribers it would affect the cut of the service at a certain point.

In the mobile devices, the program helps the operators on the ground, indicating and locating the valves that should be closed to isolate the zone of the fault, thus affecting the minimum number of possible subscribers. These breakdowns, end up being related to the affected elements and allow us to analyse in detail the number of breakdowns that occur in different sections in a while determined, and in this way, analyse and evaluate costs and affections.

All this information can be displayed graphically by crossing all the data that you acquire every day, creating thematic plans of breakdowns, or pipes installed per years, or residual collectors with slopes or insufficient capacity. All this information allows us to analyse and perform hydraulic simulations of the current or future scenarios for urban projects that show the behaviour of the network, and thus help to make the decisions that will allow a better service to the public.


Albert Torres, computer systems of Aigües de Manresa