Tag: user community

Lightning Talks to Strike at UC Again!


Every year we get users who are looking for opportunities to show off some of the work they’ve done over the past year. Nothing ends up being a better way to do so than with Lightning Talks at UC! Lightning … Continue reading

Posted in 3D GIS, Analysis & Geoprocessing, App Developers, Community Maps, Defense, Developer, Electric & Gas, Geodata, Health, Hydro, Local Government, Location Analytics, Mobile, National Government, Oceans & Maritime, Open Data, Petroleum, Public Safety, Security, Services, State Government, Transportation, Water Utilities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stay Connected with the Oceans & Maritime Communities with an RSS Feed


As you know, Esri is seeking to serve user communities across many application domains by way of the ArcGIS Resource Center. The Oceans community therein is THE place to connect in order to keep up with the latest and greatest … Continue reading

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February 2012 Team Water/Wastewater Meeting

On February 25th and 26th   Esri’s Team Water/Wastewater Meeting will be taking place in Voorhees, NJ.  This meeting is open to all who are interested in water, wastewater and stormwater GIS.  The detailed agenda can be found here. For registration and additional information contact Christa Campbell.

The kickoff presentation for the meeting will be an overview and update on ArcGIS for Water Utilities from Esri and there will be a number of presentations from the water utility user community.

The Team Water/Wastewater Meeting is held twice a year, one meeting takes place in the winter at a water utility and another meeting takes place the Saturday before Esri’s International Users Conference in San Diego, California.
In the past this meeting focused on the creation and maintenance of Esri’s Water & Wastewater Data Models.  As those data models have become part of the Local Government Information Model, the meeting’s focus has shifted from a workshop to a gathering for those interested in water utility GIS and series of user community presentations on a variety of topics.

A special thanks to American Water for hosting this year’s meeting, Critigen for sponsoring breakfast and EMA for sponsoring lunch.

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Benefits of the Local Government Information Model for Water Utilities

Why should a water, wastewater or stormwater utility adopt the Local Government Information Model?

Easier Deployment

One of the biggest benefits of a water utility adopting the Local Government Information Model is that it makes deploying the ArcGIS for Water Utilities maps and apps easier, faster and cheaper.  The further you deviate from the Local Government Information Model, and in particular it’s geodatabase schema, the harder it will be for you to implement the maps and apps that are part of ArcGIS for Water Utilities. It will also be hard and time consuming to upgrade your ArcGIS for Water Utilities implementation when we release updates.

Changes you make to the Local Government Information Model schema may necessitate extensive modifications of the maps documents, and changes to apps (web apps, mobile apps, ArcGIS Desktop, etc.) that are part of ArcGIS for Water Utilities.  So the closer you stay to the core Local Government Information Model, the easier your initial deployment will be and the easier it will be to migrate your ArcGIS implementation to new releases or to deploy updates to the maps and apps.

It’s also important to note that when we say “adopt” the Local Government Information Model we don’t mean that you necessarily have to use it as is (or more appropriately – as downloaded).  You probably will need to configure the Local Government Information to meet the needs of your organization.   But the key thing to keep in mind is you should only be making changes to accommodate the true organizational needs of your utility. For example, instead of changing the field names to the field names you’d like to use in your organization, modify field and map layer aliases.   Bottom line, don’t reinvent the wheel, just make changes that are required to meet specific business needs in your organization.

At the very least you need to change the projection to the appropriate coordinate system and set up the domains to reflect the assets in use at your utility.  Small utilities or utilities that are new to GIS may choose to take the Local Government Information Model as is, while larger utilities, mature GIS implementations, or GIS implementations that are integrated with other enterprise system will undoubtedly need to make more significant configurations or extensions to the schema to reflect their organizational needs.  

Water, Sewer and Stormwater Data Modeling Best Practices

The Local Government Information Model incorporates many best practices for water utility GIS.  One of the most important best practices is how to represent a water, sewer or stormwater system in GIS.  

For years Esri had downloadable data models for water, wastewater and stormwater utility networks.  Those data models were the first freely available water utility GIS data models.  They were stewarded by Esri, but built by the user community and became the industry standard.  Globally thousands of water utilities have built their GIS around Esri’s free data models.  

The Local Government Informational Model is the next iteration of Esri’s water, sewer and stormwater data models.  In essence we’ve modernized the data models to reflect how water utilities have been deploying GIS over the past few years and we’ve also modified the schema to fit the requirements of the ArcGIS for Water Utilities maps and apps.  As water utility GIS continues to evolve Esri will regularly maintain the Local Government Information Model to keep introducing new best practices into the user community and functionality into our apps.

Comprehensive Data Model

There is no doubt Esri’s water, wastewater and stormwater data models were an incredibly valuable starting point for water utilities to get their utility networks into GIS.  Since the original data models focused primarily on a data structure for the assets that comprise utility networks, we received feedback that many utilities wanted more guidance on how to model operational data (workorders, service requests, customer complaints, main breaks, capital improvement projects, etc.) and base data (roads edge of pavement, road centerlines, elevation data, parcels, etc.) in their GIS.  The Local Government Data Model solves this problem because it includes a complete schema for typical water utility base data and operational data.  

Over the years, an observation we’ve made is that water utilities struggle with how to model and manage schemas for datasets that aren’t their utility networks or operational data – simply put managing base data can be a challenge for water utilities. For example we’ve seen a lot of utilities struggle with managing roads, parcel, buildings, etc. in their enterprise GIS, especially when these datasets are coming from other organizations or departments.

This is a particular issue for water utilities that serve multiple units of local government such as authorities, county wide utilities, state wide utilities and private companies.  A good example of this is a water authority whose service territory includes three counties.   The water authority needs parcel data that is maintained by the counties.  County A, County B and County C all use different schemas for their parcels.  So the water utility had two choices – leave the parcels in 3 different data layers and use them as is – which makes analysis, map creation and integration with other systems at the utility that need parcel data (such as a customer information system) difficult.  Or invest time to extract, transfer and load (ETL) the parcels into a common schema so they can be used as a single seamless layer across the service area.  The Local Government Information Model can now serve as the common schema in this example.
Easier Data Sharing

We describe the Local Government Information as a harmonized information model – meaning designed to accommodate typical GIS needs across local government.  If organizations that commonly share data all adopt the Local Government Information Model, it will greatly reduce the time and resources spent establishing a common schema and migrating data to these schemas – thus allowing water utilities to focus on the maintenance and management of their authoritative data.

For example a private water utility may serve two municipalities.  If the water utility and both municipalities all adopt the Local Government Information Model then they can all very easily exchange data.   When the water utility needs road centerline and edge of pavement layers from the municipalities than the utility can just import the new data without having to manipulate the schema and will have seamless layers for their service areas.  The same logic applies to the water utility sharing data with the municipalities – when the water utility updates the location of their upcoming capital projects, the utility can share that data back with the municipalities and the municipalities can use it without any schema manipulation.

Best Cartographic Practices for Water Utility Maps

As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, the Local Government Information Model includes geodatabase schema, map documents and specification for services necessary to deploy the ArcGIS for Water Utilities and ArcGIS for Local Government maps and apps.  

The map documents highlight
best practices for displaying water, wastewater and stormwater data in the context that each map is designed to be used.  For example the map documents included with the Mobile Map Template have best practice cartography for displaying water utility GIS data in the field in both a day and night time use map.  The same goes for the map document included with the Infrastructure Editing Template – this is a best practice map document for editing water utility data with ArcGIS Desktop.

Looking to the Future

The specification for the services (map, feature, geoprocessing, etc) necessary for the ArcGIS Water Utilities maps and apps are also part of the Local Government Information Model.  So if other local government entities in the service area of water utility embrace the Local Government Information Model, ArcGIS for Local Government and start to publish services, then water utilities can consume those services for their maps and apps.  In this scenario the water utility may no longer have to import some data into their own geodatabase and can just consume the services right from the organization that is the steward of the data.

We hope you’ve found this exploration of some of the benefits water, wastewater and stormwater utilities will experience when adopting the Local Government Information Model helpful.  We encourage your feedback on the information in this blog, the Local Government Information Model or ArcGIS for Water Utilities.

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2011 Esri User Conference

A big thanks to all of the water, wastewater and stormwater ArcGIS users who spent time with us during the 2011 Esri User Conference and attended our Technical Workshops on ArcGIS for Water Utilities.  You gave us some very valuable feedback on the maps and apps that are part of ArcGIS for Water Utilities and we are aggregating that feedback now and will address it in a follow up blog.  Feedback from the user community is what drives our activities.

A common question we heard throughout the user conference was “what is the best way to give feedback on ArcGIS for Water Utilities”?  

The Water Utilities Forums is the place where we encourage you to give us feedback about the maps and apps that make up ArcGIS for Water Utilities.  We want to know what is working, what isn’t, how we can do things better and we very much appreciate you sharing your success stories around deploying ArcGIS for Water Utilities or it’s predecessor the Water Utility Templates.  You can also reach us at our email alias: ArcGISTeamWater@Esri.com

Ideas.ArcGIS.Com is the place to request enhancements to the ArcGIS System as well as ArcGIS for Water Utilities.  The more votes an idea gets, the easier it is for us to understand how big of a need it is for our water utility users.  Just be sure to tag your ideas with “Water and Wastewater” as well as any other appropriate descriptions.

Again, thank you to our water, wastewater and stormwater customers for making the 2011 Esri User Conference such a great experience for the Esri staff working with you!  

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Water, Wastewater and Stormwater GIS at the 2011 Esri User Conference

Every year leading up to the Esri International User conference we get asked by the water, wastewater and stormwater GIS user community what are the “can’t miss” events.  So we thought we would highlight some key things for water utility GIS users at the 2011 User Conference.

First, and most importantly, the User Conference is full of opportunities to learn and bring valuable information back to your organizations, so we are just highlighting a few of the many great presentations, meetings and events at the UC.  No matter how you choose to spend your time at the UC, you and your organization will benefit from it.  If you haven’t registered for the 2011 User Conference yet, you can register here.

Since we are only highlighting a few of the many activities at the 2011 UC, we suggest you take advantage of the online Agenda Search to make the best use of your conference time.  You can query by keyword, such as “water”, “sewer” or “stormwater” to find presentations topics and you can also view all of the presentations, events and meetings by date.

So, here are some of our recommendations for 2011 User Conference:

Saturday July 9th

9:00 AM to 5:00 PM  Water/Wastewater Meeting – Convention Center Room 29A

Join us for an all-day meeting focused on water, wastewater and stormwater GIS.  Presentations by ArcGIS users, Esri Business Partners and Esri.  For more information and to register contact Christa Campbell.

Monday July 11th

9:00 AM – Plenary Session

Not to be missed, kick off the User Conference by attending the plenary session and get energized for the week.  Also see a preview of ArcGIS 10.1. 

3:30 PM – Map Gallery Open

See maps from water utilities as well as many other industries.    

4:30 PM – Lightning Talks – Ballroom 20 C & D

Lighting talks feature rapid fire speakers giving 5 minute presentations about a variety of GIS topics.  A great format to showcase a lot of ideas and get you thinking about new way to leverage GIS. 

Tuesday July 12th

8:30 AM – 9:45 – ArcGIS for Local Government – An Introduction -  Room 32 B

Learn about templates, maps, apps and the Local Government Resource Center.  Also learn about the Local Government Information Model, which is the datamodel for ArcGIS for Water Utilities. 

9AM – Exhibit Hall Opens

Be sure to visit Esri’s Water Team at the Water Industry Island in the exhibit hall.  We’re available to answer your questions, talk about the templates, demonstrate ArcGIS for Water Utilities and take your feedback.

9AM – Water Utility GIS Data Health Checks Begin

At the Geodatabase Management Island in the Esri Showcase, Esri staff can perform “Health Checks” on your water utility GIS data.  The Health Checks include automated checks on your data in a personal or file geodatabase so you can understand the overall quality of your data.

This service is available from 9 AM to 5:30 PM Tuesday the 12th and Wednesday the 13th and 9 AM to 1 PM on Thursday the 14th.  We expect high demand for Health Checks, so we encourage you to email datareviewer@esri.com with your name, organization, contact information to reserve a preferred date and time.

9AM – GIS Managers’ Open Summit – Ballroom 20 B/C

If you are a GIS manager at a water utility be sure to stop into the GIS Managers’ Open Summit and share knowledge with other GIS managers from a variety of industries.  This is a great venue to learn about best practices and cutting edge advances in managing GIS within any organization.

Wednesday July 13

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM – Team Water/Wastewater & Stormwater User Group Meeting – Room 2

Come learn what the user community is up to, get updates on user community driven projects and get some key briefings from the Esri Water Team.

1:30 PM – 2:45 – Understanding Geometric Networks Technical Workshop – Room 3 

Geometric networks are a component of the geodatabase that every water, wastewater and stormwater utility should be benefiting from.  Come learn about geometric networks and new geometric network capabilities coming at ArcGIS10.1.

3:15 – 4:30 PM – ArcGIS for Water Utilities – An Introduction – Room 32 B

Get an overview of ArcGIS for Water Utilities, including demonstrations.  We’ll also discuss our future plans.  This is a great opportunity to give us feedback and request functionality from the team behind ArcGIS for Water Utilities.

7:00 PM – 10:00 – Team Water/Wastewater “Pool Party” – Pool Terrace

Kick back with your peers, enjoy some food and beverages and listen to some music.  This is a fantastic opportunity to network with the water, wastewater and stormwater user community and share information with peers in a social setting.  It’s also one heck of a party. 

Thursday July 14

10:15 – 11:30 AM ArcGIS for Water Utilities – Configuring – Room 32 B

Learn how to configure the maps and apps that are part of ArcGIS for Water Utilities.  This session will also cover general best practices for configuring ArcGIS as a platform to support water, wastewater and stormwater GIS.

We look forward to seeing you at the 2011 Esri User Conference!

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Join Esri for our Team Water/Wastewater Meeting in Orlando, Florida February 19th & 20th

If you are a water, wastewater or stormwater utility, an Esri business partner or a consultant working with water utilities please join us in Orlando for our 2 day winter Water/Wastewater Meeting February 19th and 20th in Orlando, Florida.

This meeting is a unique opportunity to collaborate and share information with the water utility user community and Esri.

To get more information including the full agenda and to register contact Lori Armstrong at larmstrong@esri.com.

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