GIS – Locating Infrastructure One Valve at a Time

The City of Richmond has more than 56 miles of water line infrastructure. Some of these lines are old and in need of repair or replacement. As the infrastructure ages, there is an increase in water line leaks, breaks and valve failures. When there is a break or leak in the system, Public Works crews go out to the area and start digging. Once they locate the issue, the repair begins. Locating the source of the problem can be a bit of a challenge though.

“Some of our infrastructure over 85 years old” says Dale Shipp Public Works Director. “It can be difficult to locate where the source of a leak is because although we have maps, they are old and not always accurate. This can create quite a mess when we are digging down to repair lines and valves.”

With the addition of a highly sophisticated Geo database, which allows City GIS Tech Dominique Owens to map the city water and sewer systems, the City can locate within a few inches some key components of the infrastructure. With the use of a hand held GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) device, Owens can now input the location of our infrastructure and it will be accurate. All of the data is saved in the City’s GIS mapping system.

With this technology, as Public Works make repairs to the system, detailed service information and exact locations will be inputted into the program. This will help the City better serve the public by having an up-to-date inventory and exact location of some of the outdated infrastructure. With an app that can be used on any smart phone, Public Works staff members can utilize the GPS functionality of the program and know exactly where the lines and valves are located.

If there is a water line or water valve leak in your neighborhood, this system will help staff isolate the location of the issue more efficiently and repair and replace effectively. This saves time and money, and assists the City of Richmond provide a higher level of service to residents and businesses.