Icon Water is currently undertaking a widespread transformation program looking to align people, process and technology within its Business Strategy.

As part of this transformation, Icon Water has been modernising its Geospatial Information System (GIS). This has resulted in full connectivity established across the entirety of its networks, including flow direction across the sewer network. The innovative GIS approach has been recognised as a finalist for the 2019 Digital Utility Awards.

Icon Water provides water and sewerage services to households, businesses and community organisations across the ACT and surrounding region, and operates assets worth over $2.2 billion. Its network covers dams, water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants, reservoirs, water and sewage pumping stations, mains, customer connections and other related infrastructure.

Guided by its principles to build a safe, innovative and inclusive workplace while delivering sustainable value for the community and shareholders, Icon Water has successfully upgraded its GIS to its Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) environment in Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This configuration provides many benefits over traditional on-premise deployments including:

  • Rapid deployment of applications

  • Flexible configurations of infrastructure and services

  • No upfront or long-term IT commitments, only pay for what you use

  • Scalable IT infrastructure to meet peak demand

  • Secure end-to-end environment

Icon Water

The technology behind the connected central system

ESRI Enterprise ArcGIS has been implemented through ArcGIS for Water Standard Utility Model, Portal for ArcGIS and ArcGIS 10.4 Desktop, Server and Data Store. The combination of these technologies delivers a sustainable, long-term solution for Icon Water - key to providing the central system for asset management, customer engagement, and financial technologies and strategies.

Specifically, Portal for ArcGIS has been developed to publish web-based maps, improving customer experience, productivity and making life easier for both field and office staff.

Richard Bailey, Team Leader, Asset Information Services at Icon Water, said, "The software provides a lot more capability and flexibility to produce intuitive maps and apps that are accessible across the business.

"This includes a mobile map detailing the network assets with their full attributes and this is used by 40 field staff on a daily basis to help manage their activities. Our previous mobile map solution did not show latest information and was not user-friendly," Mr Bailey said.

"The map corrections layer is great for field crews and asset inspectors to quickly and easily record network issues and hazards as they find them, which is instantly available across the organisation, allowing updates to be carried out in the office and for other field crews to be aware of the issues."

The benefits of these applications have replaced inefficient multiple paper-based processes with automated systems. Digital data collection via web maps, 'collector' and 'Survey 123' for ArcGIS are now available to internal and external stakeholders with information captured directly into corporate systems.

The practical advantages are endless

The software has allowed for an organisation wide, inclusive solution where employees can capture and display network errors in real time. This provides a traffic light triage as these errors are processed and avoids reporting and capturing the same network errors.

Field operations have been enhanced through real-time network outage management tools leading to improved customer service and reliability, and an increased ability to identify critical customers that will be affected such as schools, hospitals and dialysis customers.

"The mobile solutions also includes the ability to perform water network outage traces in the field. Previously, certain individuals who had specialised software on their desktop computer could only do this. Now the field crews on site can run the trace themselves and accurately assess the needs of the work," Mr Bailey said.

The platform has also allowed processing and publishing of drone survey footage; real-time spatial view of the network control system (SCADA); easy identification of meters providing sub-meter accuracy through GPS technology; and the capability to improve customer experience by easily making maps of Icon Water assets available to developers and builders.

Continuing on the transformation journey

Icon Water's AWS deployment leveraged these benefits to deliver a cloud-based ArcGIS solution, which enables the business to more effectively manage its assets. The Portal for ArcGIS web apps and services provide a rich, intuitive mapping solution that has increased business productivity and decisionmaking. Similarly, this has increased the company's ability to handle big data, scaling across multiple levels of volume, variety and veracity.

The platform has increased time efficiencies in providing new functionalities to align with developing business needs - in some cases transitioning from six months to as little as a week. The AWS will continue to provide the scalability needed to expand across the business as more systems are integrated with the GIS to deliver Icon Water's transformation program.

To learn more about how GIS technology can advance your organisation, contact us or call 1800 870 750.

This article first appeared in Utility Magazine on 1 May, 2019.

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