AWC GIS Consortium

Published on Dec 13, 2018

Case study: Improving asset management for a utility district

Contact: Andy Meyer

Client: Snoqualmie Pass Utility District
Location: King and Kittitas Counties, Washington

Snoqualmie Pass Utility District (SPUD) manages water and sewer utilities for the mountainous Snoqualmie Pass area, a popular outdoor recreation destination for the Seattle area.

With no existing SPUD GIS or workable asset management system in place, FLO Analytics (AWC’s GIS Consortium services partner and Consortium cofounder) was tasked with building a way to geographically track SPUD’s assets from scratch. To do that, FLO first had to capture highly accurate location points for their water and sewer assets. Accuracy of location was especially important to SPUD, as utility assets are often completely buried by the area’s heavy snowfall and ice in the winter. SPUD’s utility managers required highly accurate data to know exactly where to access assets that may not be visible, depending on the time of year.

Before heading out into the field to collect data, the FLO project team completed extensive historical research and data preparation to inform our field collection. SPUD and FLO collaborated to develop data collection routing and identify priority asset areas to help us stay organized and efficient in the field. SPUD and FLO also developed schemas for attribution of collected points, adhering to ESRI’s Local Government Information Model (LGIM). LGIM allows for the standardization of local government data, so now when SPUD works with other governments or contractors, their data will be in a familiar, globally compatible format.

With initial project planning and research complete, two FLO GIS technicians headed to the field, using the latest GPS technology to capture asset points down to 3″ accuracy. FLO used iPads with ArcGIS Online and Trimble Collector software for basemaps, planning, and verification. FLO ultimately mapped SPUD’s entire utility system in just three days.


Post-processing of the data collected in the field included:

  • Differentially correcting the data for the highest possible level of accuracy
  • Transferring GPS points and relevant attributes to the LGIM Water Utility Network schemas
  • Connecting points, including flow direction, to create water and sewer lines
  • Performing geometry checks on data
  • Developing unique IDs for all features
  • Creating an ArcGIS Online Web mapping system so that SPUD can easily view, manage, and add to their new GIS system
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