Technology ensures meter upgrade flows smoothly

April 10, 2014 -- New techniques and technology are at the forefront of a significant project to upgrade Tasmania’s residential water meters.

The Tasmanian Water and Sewerage Corporation (TasWater) has partnered with mapping technology specialist Esri Australia to manage the installation of automatic meter reading (AMR) technology to Tasmanian residents.

TasWater’s Spatial Information System Administrator Luke Paine is set to reveal the central role Geographic Information System (GIS) techniques and technology played to support TasWater’s water meter renewal program at the Directions 2014 seminar series in Hobart tomorrow (11 April).

GIS has played an important role in a project which involved upgrading meters which have exceeded their useful life – a total of 13,000 across three municipalities were identified as part of the project.  

The meter upgrade provides multiple benefits to TasWater, including more accurate measurement of water consumption, as well as enabling more efficient meter reading practices.

“We provided field technicians – who visited each home individually – with hand-held devices to collect information and photographs to determine where the meters were situated and if there were any particular accessibility issues,” Mr Paine said.

“By using GIS technology, we were able to immediately upload and validate that information within our central databases, as well as distribute work orders and monitor the performance of external contractors.

“This work – which included renewing meters in Brighton, Glenorchy and Clarence – was part of a larger project to equip all Tasmanian residential properties with modern water meters supporting walk-by and drive-by reading functionality.”

Mr Paine said the technology’s user-friendly map-based interface was critical to providing a system which personnel across TasWater could use with little or no training.

“Our customer service centre staff use the mapping system daily when responding to customer queries and requests about meter installation,” Mr Paine said.

“Staff can quickly view the interactive map to visualise which individual properties had been upgraded and provide timely reports on the entire project’s progress to internal and community stakeholders.

“Previously, this would have required a chain of phone calls to isolate where the process was at, so there have been significant improvements from a customer service perspective.”

Mr Paine said he will outline in full the extensive role GIS technology played in TasWater’s complex project at Directions 2014. 

“I will be showcasing how important GIS technology was to every stage of the project – from pre-installation data collection to the generation of a variety of reports for both internal and external stakeholders,” Mr Paine said.

“It has provided us with the means of distributing that information out to the entire organisation, so our personnel can instantly visualise at what stage the process is and what work remains to be done.”

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