Case Study: Visualizing Network Data at Kuopion VesiDecember 4, 2022
For Kuopion Vesi water works in Finland, finding a platform that could visualize their entire network and that was intuitive and easy to use was key. With Smartvatten for Water Utilities, they found just what they were looking for, and more.
Kuopion Vesi is owned by the Finnish municipalities of Kuopio and Siilinjärvi and services the region’s urban areas as well as many smaller villages. The network is made up by 15 water sources and water treatment plants, 9 wastewater treatment plants, and an almost 2000-kilometer-long network that covers both drinking water and wastewater. Kuopion Vesi divides its operations into three departments: water withdrawal, wastewater treatment, and water networks – for wastewater and water distribution.
The water company worked with different systems and had to manually combine data from automation and the pipe network when it started looking for an environment where they could view all their data and really see what was going on in their network. “We did not have a good way to view different measurement points from our network, like pumping stations,” says Jani Koski, Water Network Manager at Kuopion Vesi. “We were responsible for the entire network but had no visibility into any data.” The existing systems they used were physically located in other departments and there was no way to share access across locations.
Looking for the Right Platform
Kuopion Vesi went on a quest to find a company that could provide a system for managing all their data. Sharing access across departments and locations and adequate visualizations were the biggest challenges they needed to find a solution for. Kuopion Vesi planned to increase their number of measurement points in the network and wanted to use a platform that could store that data and make it easily visible.
For Kuopion Vesi, it was important to see pumping station data from the automation system, the structure of the network connecting the stations and the treatment plant, and get a better idea of the amounts of water that move through the system. They were also looking for user-friendliness: access to everything needed to be simple, and it should be possible to easily add new measurements – like the new flow measurements to increase precision they’re adding. Being able to adjust to changing needs in the future was also a requirement. Visualizing measurements from different metering and data providers without the need to switch between systems. Future metering providers will be required to be able to transfer their data to the new system.
Getting Detailed Insight into the Network With Smartvatten
With all these requirements they even considered building their own system from scratch, but then found Smartvatten for Water Utilities. It was Smartvatten’s map view that stood out the most, Koski says. “It was impressive to see how quickly and smoothly it worked to get an idea of the network as a whole.” Visualization was and is key to Kuopion Vesi: being able to view their data in an intuitive way is immensely valuable to the company.
Smartvatten’s analytics have also proven to be particularly helpful. “The inflow and infiltration module was difficult to grasp at first,” Koski says, “but the clear visualizations helped to understand its meaning and use quickly.” Now they’ll be focusing on inflow and infiltration water and allocating CCTV scans and other investigation based on the module’s analyses.
The service’s thorough analyses now also help allocate resources to the right areas of the network, selecting the right course of action for each area. “Once the data is easily accessible, you get a more truthful idea of the state of the network,” he says. “Justifying investments and estimating their impact becomes easier.” Being able to track the long-term effects of renovations and maintenance definitely helps there, too.
“Once the data is easily accessible, you get a more truthful idea of the state of the network,” he says. “Justifying investments and estimating their impact becomes easier.”
Changing Work Processes
Using the Smartvatten for Water Utilities service means digitalizing work processes and changing the way the company works. At Kuopion Vesi, they made sure to prepare for that, educating everyone on how to work with the collected data. “It was our goal in working with Smartvatten to make tacit knowledge visible, get concrete numbers for the status of our network,” says Koski, “and have the ability to easily see the locations of pumping stations on the map, understand each catchment area and where their pumping stations are getting their wastewater from.”
Getting automated alerts has already helped the company detect broken backflow valves, particularly with large inflows from rains. Overall, employees at the company have found the service easy to navigate and appreciates that the system is quick to load and fast to use. Smartvatten for Water Utilities has proven to be a valuable resource for Kuopion Vesi.
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