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Integrated GIS for better service

Ir. Dorai Narayana

Ir. Dorai Narayana
Head of Planning Services,
Indah Water Konsortium,
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Email: [email protected]

Indah Water Konsortium (IWK), the Malaysian National Sewerage Concessionaire, needs various information and data at various stages of its business processes. Much of this information is available and managed by the Operations Department, Customer Services Department, Planning and Engineering Department and various other departments. The nature of IWK’s business is that it covers most of the peninsular Malaysia, with over 5,000 sewage treatment plants (STPs) and 14,000 km of sewer pipe network, serving a population of about 18 million consisting of nearly 2.6 million customers.

History of GIS in IWK
Although efforts were made to develop a comprehensive GIS system for IWK since its inception in 1994, they were hampered by lack of funding as well as issues of data unavailability. In 2002, GIS system was revived on a two-pronged approach:

MACRO LEVEL: This was commenced on a nationwide basis, and included data collected on a catchment basis. Efforts were made to locate STPs, and their respective service areas, and linked to attributes in the asset database. By 2005, all sewage treatment plants and their service areas have been mapped. At a more detailed level, key areas were incorporated in the micro-level GIS. The GIS systems began as desktop based systems in regional planning offices for sewerage asset data gathering, and the sewerage information was captured from the hardcopy/softcopy drawing, site verification etc. Among the issues faced were that the nationwide data was not standardised centrally. Moreover, only a handful of people could access the information.

Information systems in use
There are various systems in place to manage business needs . The major systems include:

Asset System
This is an Oracle based system called Asset Management Information System (AMIS). It has the details of all assets such as location, asset type, population served etc.

Billing Records and Information Services
The system is called BRAINS and has details of all IWK customers. It is used to bill customers for sewerage services & to log customer’s billing enquiries, customer service, collection and debt management.

Enterprise Asset Management System
IFS (Industrial Financial Systems) is an enterprise resources management system that includes financial, asset maintenance and business reporting modules.

Certification System
In-house system developed using Power Builder v10.2 and utilises Oracle 10g as backend database. This system is used at 11 Certification Unit Offices under Planning and Engineering Department to capture details of developer’s submissions and monitor the unit’s performance.

Customer Operational Enquiry & Desludging System (COEDS)
COEDS is in-house system developed in Visual Basic 6 with SQL Server 2000 database and used in all 17 unit offices under the Operations Department. It has all of the unit office customers and is used to log customer operational enquiries, issue job orders, record work details and invoices detail.

Laboratory Management System
This in-house system developed using Power Builder v10.5 and utilises Oracle 9i as backend database. This new system was implemented in 2006 to 3 sites of Laboratory Services Section. It is used to schedule, record and monitor sampling of effluent from IWK’s treatment plants.

Integrated Geographical Information System (IGIS)
An Integrated GIS was proposed as a complete computer-based geographical and database system to manage information needs of various departments of IWK. IGIS was proposed as an application based on the integration of existing information systems, namely the GIS system of asset and catchment information, the customer and billing database and the asset maintenance information in the IFS. The project involved a system of integration of the desk-top GIS systems, with linkages to related customer and operational data. The system would also make the information available to key departments and sections throughout the company. IGIS was proposed as a step towards greater access and efficient retrieval of accurate information with a geographical depiction.

The main objective of the proposed IGIS is to provide a complete GIS based system to integrate all asset, customer and operational and maintenance data and information which is available within the company. Among the detailed objectives are:

  • To integrate GIS systems already developed or being developed on a macro level and micro level
  • Provide linkages to asset data, customer data, operational and maintenance data
  • Provide viewing access to operational units, planning & certification units, customer relations units & other relevant units

Proposed System Overview
All the previous desk-top based GIS maps and related information was integrated into a central platform, using Oracle Spatial database. The GIS software used was Geomedia Pro and Geomedia Public Works. The regional planning units would utilise this software to update and manage the respective spatial data. Integration will be made to link relevant data from the asset, customer and operations and maintenance databases. Geomedia Webmap will deploy the maps and linkages to all users on a web-based platform.

The IGIS system would:

  • provide high level GIS system with graphical & data linkage
  • create a national base map for peninsular Malaysia, using available JUPEM (Jabatan Ukur dan Pemetaan Malaysia – Malaysian Survey & mapping Department) maps
  • overlay all available sewerage information in existing GIS systems within IWK onto the base map developed, both at Tier 1 (macro level GIS consisting of sewage treatment plant or asset location, service areas and its profile linked to relevant databases and pertinent information on the assets) and Tier 2 (micro level GIS consisting of individual customer premises and properties, network components, STPs for selected areas, also linked to relevant databases).
  • create appropriate interfacing between map entities and databases to enable integration of spatial and attribute related information.
  • make available to viewers across the company including remote locations, the integrated GIS maps and enable queries, creation of reports
  • enable document linkage (photos, database, PDF etc) In the long term it would be possible for the system to be enhanced to: –
  • be expanded gradually for Tier 2 GIS (individual properties, sewer network components)
  • incorporate development data from certification system
  • incorporate SCADA links for live operational information
  • permit internet based viewing & input/output for external users

GIS Status
The phase I of the project has been completed in June 2009, and the following outcomes have been achieved:

  • All current GIS maps and layers available at the regional planning offices are accessible to users across the company.
  • Users can use web based viewer to view GIS maps, and query based on data from planning asset data, customer data (BRAINS & COEDS) and maintenance management system (IFS-MMS).
  • Examples of views available are: graphical & textual based data on location of plant, service area boundary & profile, list of customer within services area.

Future Direction
It is intended that IGIS shall eventually become a one stop centre for all sewerage information for IWK. Operational and customer service efficiencies can be achieved through spatial analysis and information retrieval that is quick and effective. In future, more data relevant for business decision making can be made available through the IGIS system, including real time information obtained through SCADA, vehicles tracking, flow measurements. IGIS shall also be available on hand-held devices to operators on the field. It is also intended that in future, IGIS will be accessible to the public/customers for complaint / enquiry tracking. Eventually it is expected that IGIS will prove to be an invaluable tool for asset management.