A Faster Way to Maintain Data Quality

The agency responsible for maintaining the infrastructure for water, wastewater, and reclaimed water management in a rapidly growing Florida county needed a workflow that helped it more quickly and accurately incorporate utility drawings for new subdivisions into its GIS.

Clay County Utility Authority (CCUA), based in Middleburg, Florida, serves 54,000 customers and maintains 1,500 miles of utility infrastructure. From hydrant safety to asset repair and replacement, data is central to the utility’s daily operations. Consequently, CCUA operators needed an efficient quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC) processes to produce reliable data about its infrastructure.

Rapidly growing Clay County expects 12,000 new homes to be built within the next decade. These homes will require the creation and attribution of new assets for new subdivisions on a weekly—sometimes daily—basis. The GIS team at CCUA needed to keep up with this increasing workload while also ensuring the data integrity of its GIS.

GIS data supports numerous projects for new subdivisions, so it’s critical that data is of the highest quality. In 2016, CCUA migrated to the ArcGIS Local Government Information Model (LGIM) for water utilities. LGIM is a database schema provided by Esri for use by local governments that supports data management for the maps and apps deployed across CCUA.

When preparing to migrate to LGIM, CCUA configured a comprehensive set of data checks using ArcGIS Data Reviewer, an extension for ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS Enterprise, and ArcMap that provides automation and improves data quality management.

After implementing LGIM, these checks needed to be reconfigured to work with the new schema. Until the checks could adjust, quality control was conducted visually by one person who manually checked each feature in the field. With well over 300,000 features across all three utility types, this process not only was resource intensive but also left a lot of room for human error.

The county’s rapid growth meant that CCUA’s GIS department needed to prioritize reconfiguring ArcGIS Data Reviewer for data QA and QC processes to work with the LGIM. Daniel Johns, GIS manager, tasked Sarah Grimsley, GIS analyst II, with reconfiguring ArcGIS Data Reviewer and improving the efficiency and performance of QA/QC processes.

To reconfigure the data checks using ArcGIS Data Reviewer, Grimsley first referenced old checks and the sample water utility checks from Esri’s Data Reviewer for Water Utilities template. Then she categorized the checks by type (geometry, attributes, and point/line valency) for each utility type. Each utility now had data checks that were in accordance with the new schema, so the data met the business requirements for CCUA’s GIS applications.

It took just two weeks for Grimsley to reconfigure the checks, even though she had no previous experience using ArcGIS Data Reviewer. Grimsley could create a check for any scenario in the utility system. She appreciated the tool’s flexibility and can see how it could be used in other areas such as asset management.

The CCUA GIS team has seen significant improvement in the speed of its QA/QC processes since implementing ArcGIS Data Reviewer for the LGIM data schema. In addition to organizing the checks by type, the number of checks required for validation was dramatically reduced due to the updated schema.

For example, domain codes for valves, mains, laterals, and casings are always one diameter. Fittings, however, can be different sizes on either end, resulting in 325 domain codes. With several hundred fitting sizes, hundreds of data checks were initially configured for each size. In the LGIM schema, Grimsley configured this check using the Table Check and applying an SQL expression within the check configuration according to fitting sizes against the equivalent pipe diameter.

This significantly reduced the number of domain-related checks. Similar improvements were experienced with the valency and geometry checks. Depending on the utility, these checks now take only 20 to 30 minutes.

“ArcGIS Data Reviewer allows us to do our job better. Using this application, we’re able to quickly and efficiently turn around new projects and get them into our GIS production system,” said Grimsley.

Technicians are responsible for conducting their own checks and making their own edits. With ArcGIS Data Reviewer, Grimsley can now review the results of their QC work to see what was fixed. This allows her to track the edits completed by technicians and verify them to ensure that errors are caught, which ultimately improves data quality. Grimsley is also using ArcGIS Data Reviewer to go back and run the checks on older areas to address any outstanding issues.

“The way things are set up now, we’re pretty much catching everything. We’re also using [ArcGIS Data Reviewer] to capture errors related to the assets that are surrounding that job,” said Johns. “So getting this application back up and running against the LGIM schema was very vital.”

The response from other departments at CCUA has been positive. “We haven’t advertised the use of ArcGIS Data Reviewer, so a lot of our colleagues are just operating under the impression that we’re able to get work out a lot quicker and with less error,” said Johns. “We no longer have to deal with the slow turnaround linked to our previous processes and can now provide data to our field staff much faster.”

Grimsley added, “I’ve been told by multiple people within the organization that they are impressed with how fast we are pumping out work after getting the batch checks running. With ArcGIS Data Reviewer being so quick and efficient, we can have required edits accessible in the GIS, all within minutes.”

Grimsley continues to add new checks to improve QA/QC within the utility and for the rest of the organization. She and Johns look forward to ArcGIS Data Reviewer continuing to streamline their QA/QC processes.

“ArcGIS Data Reviewer enables employees to operate more efficiently and reduce the amount of time it’s taking them to do their work,” said Johns. “I can see this playing an important role as we continue to grow.”