Building an Enterprise GIS to Support Efficiency across the Organization
By Colleen Larsen, GIS Coordinator, Padre Dam Municipal Water District
Padre Dam Municipal Water District provides water, wastewater, recycled water, and park and recreation services to over 102,000 residents in East San Diego County in California. Padre Dam's infrastructure is worth over $700 million, and it has an annual budget of $76.3 million. Padre Dam imports 100 percent of its drinking water supply and treats two million gallons per day (MGD) of wastewater at the Ray Stoyer Water Recycling Facility.
As of 2019, Padre Dam has 38,853 total service connections (23,059 potable water, 15,556 sewer, and 238 recycled) within two unique service areas totaling 73 square miles. Padre Dam's infrastructure includes 393 miles of potable water mains, 29 water storage reservoirs, 16 potable water pumping stations, 169 miles of sewer mains, 4 sewer lift stations, 1 sewer pumping station, 31 miles of recycled water mains, 1 recycled storage reservoir, 1 recycled water pump station, 1 water recycling facility, and a 185-acre park.
Mapping the System
In the mid-1990s, Padre Dam began its mapping efforts using CAD to encompass all its assets, beginning with a seed file in state plane coordinates to map to engineering standards using coordinate geometry. This laid the foundation for a highly accurate geographic information system. Most of the data came from record drawings (as-builts), field change orders, easements, and subdivision maps.
In the mid-2000s, most of the CAD data had been converted to GIS layers, where a lot of attribution took place. Additionally, the GIS staff were able to use the CAD text entities to quickly populate data. Up until 2012, GIS staff produced a lot of hard-copy maps and plats for engineering and operations, created some useful ArcMap applications, and performed spatial and nonspatial data analysis as needed for all departments. Because of a limited number of GIS licenses, most mapping was done by the GIS staff.
Making a Difference
"The Collector app allows me to efficiently share data among my workgroup and other departments, which helps verify district Infrastructure, share asset condition, and identify compromised infrastructure that needs attention." -- Jesse Knowles, System Operator
"In comparison to the old paper logs, GIS saves staff countless hours in the field [and provides] access to the data in the field." -- Dave Roberts, System Operator
"GIS has proven to be an invaluable resource for the valve technician crew. Being able to quickly collect and access data from the field allows us to make decisions more effectively in an extremely timely manner." -- Austin Darley, Systems Operator
Growing GIS Capabilities
After engaging in the Small Utility Enterprise License Agreement in 2013, unlimited licensing of ArcGIS Desktop enabled Padre Dam's GIS to be deployed in all departments. The GIS staff also migrated their many shapefiles into the Local Government Infrastructure Model in SQL.
GIS staff began training departments on how to navigate ArcMap to query data, find assets, and create their own maps. At this point, having most District staff viewing the GIS regularly helped improve the data and spurred new ideas for other datasets and attributes to collect, especially for reporting purposes.
By 2015, ArcGIS Online and mobile capabilities made it possible for Padre Dam to begin developing ArcGIS Collector for applications and web maps with the help of the Esri Enterprise Advantage Program. GIS staff developed the Valve Exercising and Fire Hydrant Maintenance application, which included an operations dashboard for real-time tracking and goal setting, and an ArcGIS Web AppBuilder application which helps utility crews prioritize work being done in the field.
This new application streamlined the tracking process for the valve exercising team. To date, the team has exercised all system valves in the District and identified which valves need to be replaced. This has been a huge benefit to the Valve Replacement program—saving the District time and money. With this app, the valve team now has time to include additional tasks, including, maintenance on air release valves and blowoffs.
Development of Maps and Apps
Over the last few years, along with maintaining and updating the CAD and GIS infrastructure data, GIS staff have developed several story maps as well as web and mobile applications for customers and staff. These story maps and apps
- Allow customers to see where current projects are located.
- Highlight various customers' water efficient landscapes to encourage water conservation.
- Provide customers with a Board of Director's division locator map.
- Streamlined the hydrant painting project.
The District has supported these programs by providing field operations crews with cellphones and ruggedized laptops for better communication utilizing Esri's ArcGIS Explorer mobile application. For field crews, having their location on the map with the cached tile layers of the District's infrastructure has been so much easier to use than flipping pages in the 11" x 17", 200'-scale map books kept in District vehicles.
In 2017, the District developed the DigAlert application in ArcGIS Online, which saved a lot of time and money for the understaffed inspection group. With only two inspectors, they were able to complete their daily inspections and respond to DigAlert tickets.
GIS worked with Information Services to prepare servers for the installation of ArcGIS Enterprise in 2018. Having unlimited licenses via the Enterprise portal opened up more opportunities for GIS to share data with each District employee. By 2019, GIS developed a "one-stop shop" landing page for GIS maps, apps, and data using Esri's ArcGIS Enterprise Sites. This has proven to be a great tool to disseminate information easily to all District employees.
GIS staff are currently using ArcGIS Insights and ArcGIS Survey123 in the ArcGIS Enterprise deployment. ArcGIS Insights was used to explore sewer main data. The Action button was used with the "How is it related?" question using the View Scatter Plot command. Results immediately showed that some sewer mains had too high a degree of slope. GIS staff found that you can use Insights to QC data quickly. Plans are in the works to use Insights as a presentation tool, with its interactivity between cards for spatial and nonspatial data. Because it is so easy to create cards for reporting statistics in Insights, it is being used for the annual reports on District systems to calculate miles of pipe per diameter, percentage of pipe by diameter, percentage of age of pipe, total length of laterals, etc. Survey123 will be used by the Facilities Maintenance group for inspections.
A story map was created to educate the public about the East County Advanced Water Purification Program. This program is a collaborative partnership between Padre Dam Municipal Water District, the County of San Diego, the City of El Cajon, and Helix Water District. The Program will create a new, local, sustainable, and drought-proof drinking water supply using state-of-the-art technology to purify recycled water.
Padre Dam has also engaged with Esri partners leveraging Padre Dam's ArcGIS Enterprise platform. The sewer maintenance program closed circuit television (CCTV) software Wincan integrates with ArcGIS Desktop to show which sewer mains have had a camera inspection. Wincan is also developing a flushing program utilizing Survey123 and creating dashboards. For Santee Lakes' park maintenance program, GreenCityGIS was used. Geographic Technologies Group migrated legacy data and created a Collector app, Web AppBuilder viewer, ArcGIS Dashboards operations dashboard, and an ArcGIS Workforce project for assigning tasks.
Having a management team that supports GIS in its work for the entire organization is Padre Dam's key to success. Providing data, web maps, and applications for field and office use ultimately helps the entire District function in a more efficient and effective manner.
The power of geospatial data and analytics at the finger tips of our employees drives greater efficiency and better decisions. It allows us to serve our community more effectively.