Revolutionizing Sewer Management: GIS Integration


Navigating through the complex network of sewer management, municipalities frequently confront challenges with data accessibility, system maintenance, and operational efficiency presented by traditional, non-digitized systems. The need for innovative, efficient, and transparent management of sewer data has never been more crucial. A Geographic Information System (GIS) possesses the capability to create detailed maps of sewer systems and can establish direct links to televised videos and inspection reports of sewer examinations. This approach provides a comprehensive view of the system’s status and maintenance needs.

Evolution of Data Managment

Historically, sewer data, along with other types of municipal information, resided in filing cabinets or on local hard drives. While this data was accessible, it often proved difficult to navigate and was vulnerable to physical damage or loss. The shift toward cloud-based storage has enhanced accessibility and collaborative data management, mitigating the risks associated with physical data storage. This evolution ensures that critical information is securely stored, backed up in the digital cloud, and available whenever and wherever it’s needed.

Cloud solutions have revolutionized data management in fieldwork. This allows for instant uploading and storage of data directly from the field and ensures its real-time accuracy and availability. Before the adoption of cloud services, field engineers and technicians would need to return to the office to manually input new data or updates into the system.

Embracing GIS as a comprehensive spatial data management system transforms the way municipalities access and utilize their data. Jon Sedey, GIS Manager at Gewalt Hamilton Associates (GHA), emphasizes, “Using GIS as a system of record not only centralizes data access but also integrates spatial understanding, allowing for a more intuitive and efficient data retrieval process.” The active incorporation of spatial data visualization not only archives information but also makes it easily understandable and applicable, enhancing decision-making processes.

Work with the City of Prospect Heights

GHA’s work with the City of Prospect Heights offers a clear example of integrating GIS mapping with sewer televising data. By combining spatial and system health data, they create a tool that is both informative and practical. Streamlined processes, increased efficiency, and enhanced decision-making are the clear advantages, as accurate and easily accessible data actively drives these improvements. As Mark Roscoe, Director of Public Works for the City of Prospect Heights notes, “This integration has not only simplified our management processes but also significantly improved our response times and preventive maintenance strategies.”

While this application is beneficial for sewer management, the versatility of GIS extends its benefits far beyond. From tracking maintenance records of public facilities to managing property information, GIS proves instrumental in ensuring accurate, timely, and efficient data retrieval and management across various municipal domains. It becomes a vital tool in managing and maintaining the many assets and data points managed by municipalities.

GHA is committed to leveraging GIS technology to develop innovative solutions for all clients, recognizing its potential to revolutionize operational processes and elevate the quality of services delivered to our communities. As GIS looks to the future, it stands ready to further expand and evolve, actively continuing its pivotal role in boosting the efficiency and effectiveness of daily operations. Incorporating GIS across multiple areas of municipal management signifies a progression toward a future where data does more than just occupy storage; it actively steers decision making and boosts operational efficiency, a philosophy embodied in GHA’s dedicated Geospatial Services Division.