Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) provides water and sewerage services in the north east of England under the brand name Northumbrian Water and water services in the south east under the brand name Essex & Suffolk Water. It serves 2.7 million people in the north with water and sewerage services and 1.8 million people in the south with water services.
In 2011, the government transferred ownership of all private drains and sewers in England to local water companies. As a result, NWL assumed responsibility for an estimated 13,500 km of additional waste water pipes. Information on this historic infrastructure, however, was extremely limited.
Many of these transferred drains and sewers are in people’s back gardens and need an accurate location recording. This still had to be achieved in the most flexible and cost effective way possible.
An all-in-one handheld GNSS device would have proved inflexible and expensive as it couldn’t be used with existing kit, so Northumbrian Water consulted with MGISS about finding a possible solution to the problem.
A consultancy phase took place where Northumbrian Water took part in several workshops and trialled different options in the field.
They decided upon the Arrow 100 with ESRI Collector and began work with the kit in June 2016.
The Arrow 100 with ESRI Collector had a lot of advantages. The TDS team were already using tablets and smartphones to collect data and the ability for the device to connect by Bluetooth was advantageous because it meant it would work with the kit they were already using.
The Arrow also offered the option of having sub metre accuracy when the team needed it (which wasn’t for every recording) and gave a flexibility they wouldn’t have been able to achieve with an all in one handheld device.
When sub metre accuracy is required, the team can simply attach the Arrow to their tablet or smartphone and instantly have the level of accuracy needed without having cumbersome kit to carry around. Northumbrian Water even ordered them with backpacks so the surveyors could work hands free. The antenna was in the backpack.
This has resulted in a productive and more efficient data capture workflow.
Northumbrian Water has been using the kit for just over eight months.
Andy Hopkins Northumbrian Water’s GIS and Positioning Technical Consultant said:
“It feels like we’re working smarter. This is a constantly changing business so to some extent we’re always trying to think ahead as to what will be needed next or what regulatory legislation we will need to adhere to and whether this kit will meet these requirements. In future, we may need 10cm or even 1cm accuracy and that range is available to us with the various Arrow products.”
“The flexibility of this solution is key at the moment. Bluetooth allows it to connect to smartphones, tablets, all kit we already have, and as it can be carried in a backpack it is easy to transport and use when required.”
“We are testing new technology to make the data capture process much more productive, faster and accurate which could soon make hand drawing amendments a thing of the past. If we can accurately locate and record the position of our assets, then we are able to deal with problems quickly and efficiently.”
“This two-year project finishes in December, and we are already looking at different opportunities to utilise this approach for further GNSS Asset Data Capture within the business.”
“It makes perfect sense to roll this solution out to more teams in the business wherever they have a requirement for accurate positional data capture.”