"By incorporating Esri products, York Water has seen an increased accuracy in field asset location and respective attributes. Its user-friendly platform has helped transform inspection and as-built processes from paper trails to real-time data."
York Water Improves Communication and Efficiency by Incorporating Esri Tools and Automated Processes
The York Water Company, founded more than 200 years ago, is the oldest investor-owned utility in America. York Water provides service to more than 65,000 water customers across 48 municipalities in Pennsylvania. Over the past year, York Water has partnered with geographIT, a division of EBA Engineering, Inc., to streamline field collection processes and improve data tracking and notifications through automated processes and Esri standard tools.
York Water's geographic information system (GIS) is maintained by one full-time GIS analyst and one part-time summer intern. One of the GIS analyst's many responsibilities includes reviewing and integrating field-collected information from internal staff and more than a dozen third-party construction crews working on various projects for York Water. The field crews enter data through a combination of ArcGIS Collector, ArcGIS Field Maps, and ArcGIS Survey123 forms. York Water field crew updates are made directly against the GIS data, where third-party contractor information is initially stored in separate layers in York Water's geodatabase. The information is stored in separate layers to ensure York Water is able to review and approve the edits before they are pushed to the live data. The data is also stored in separate layers to limit the third-party field crews' ability to view and potentially edit other contractors' data before they are accepted and fully integrated. In addition to adding more work to the analyst's already busy workload, this manual review and data merge process causes a delay in getting the latest information and project status out to the organization. This means interruptions in construction and inspection work, which ultimately lead to holdups in bringing new construction and repaired assets online.
geographIT is an Esri Silver partner located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. It provides full-service GIS and application development services with an industry focus on water/wastewater, local government, and public safety. geographIT provides a full suite of professional services including water, wastewater data and process development, cloud architecture and managed services, ArcGIS solution implementation, on-call support services, and custom development.
The team included the following:
- geographIT—led by Project Manager Joe DeLuca, GISP
- York Water—led by GIS Analyst Tyler Clemens
The team developed a script that enables York Water to query data captured by contractors in the field. The script queries and filters data by contractor(s) name and date range. The queried data is then appended directly into the live dataset and flagged for review.
To assist with York Water internal field inspection activities, the team configured an ArcGIS Survey123 application to autopopulate inspection attributes based on the selected feature being inspected. This helped to eliminate typos and ensure that the correct crew member and asset ID are associated with the inspection activities.
The team developed an ArcGIS Web AppBuilder application to update the status of each construction activity phase. Current status information for each construction project is displayed in a dashboard created using ArcGIS Dashboards to improve communication of work activities throughout the organization. Automated notifications are emailed at predetermined work phases to notify staff of pending tasks.
By incorporating Survey123, ArcGIS Dashboards, and automated processes run via scripts and triggers, York Water was able to quickly streamline the overall data update process. The new tools and updated processes save York Water's GIS team an average of 12 to 16 hours per month in time previously spent completing redundant manual review, update, and merge processes. Additionally, the new workflow has helped to reduce typos in the field and get updated data out to the entire organization faster. The process no longer relies on manual transfers of data to siloed environments, tracking progress on paper forms, or communicating by word of mouth.