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State-of-the-Art Electronic Water Meter Reading Using GIS

By Eric Katapodis

By Eric Katapodis

The City of Sacramento is modernizing their water distribution system with state-of-the-art electronic metering for all customers. These meters enhance the tracking of water consumption, providing input into a near real-time monitoring from production and storage to delivery to the consumer.

Smart Water Network

Sacramento is a long-time leader in technology innovation using advanced GIS and asset management systems. These systems are now being coupled with automatic-read metering to develop a “smart” water network. GIS was used to track precise meter locations in order to monitor customers’ water consumption as well as facilitate long-term management of the meter installations.

Achieving Efficiency and Accuracy

In 2017, the City of Sacramento retained Psomas to provide full construction management services for the installation and precise location of over 40,000 new water meters.

By Eric Katapodis

Psomas used the Arrow 200 GPS and Esri ArcGIS Collector App to map the precise locaton of each meter box and verify meter and transmitter identifiers for direct data integration with the city’s GIS. The Arrow receiver provided Bluetooth connectivity with an iPad running the Collector App for seamless capture of GIS coordinate location, accurate to +/-10 cm.  Many GPS receivers and asset collection projects only capture location with +/-1 meter.

Survey-Grade GPS AccuracySurveyor using iPad

Psomas is following multiple construction crews throughout the city to capture over 100 meters a day for both commercial and residential parcels, with the meters located in various places, including front yards, backyards and alleyways.

Once the meters are installed, Psomas inputs the data into the Collector App then sets the Arrow right on top of the meter to give survey-grade GPS accuracy. To date, Psomas has used this process to precisely locate over 14,000 newly constructed water meters.

Time Savings Realized

The Collector App was configured to capture a standard set of attributes for each meter, including the meter ID, Transmitter ID, service size, precise x/y coordinates, and general comments. This information is immediately synchronized with the city’s GIS database using wireless connection from the field. The synchronization avoids separate steps for data translation and loading that would be necessary using other collection methods (paper forms, excel, other collectors), producing a significant time savings.

Valuable for Spotting Leaks and More

The meter information uploaded into the city’s GIS is used in their asset management system and is available for water system analytics in the future. Associating water meter consumption information with data analytics tools can help the city spot leaks or meter performance inconsistencies automatically and highlight certain meters for further evaluation. Moreover, georeferenced automatic water consumption data streamlines water system hydraulic modeling used to evaluate and optimize overall water system performance.

Other Applications for Public Agencies

Using GPS precise mapping with the Collector App is applicable to any agency for locating public works assets such as fire hydrants, manholes, and valves. This also could also be used for a much broader range of field activities to locate city assets.

About the Author:
Eric Katapodis is a GIS/GPS Data Collector in Psomas’ Northern California Construction Management Team.

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