Le-Ax was formed in 1968 to provide safe drinking water to the Village of Albany and 250 families in the surrounding area. Le-Ax has 15 employees, maintains 400 miles of waterline, serves the Village of Albany, and 6,950 customers in 17 townships in 4 counties.
Travis Anderson is an engineer with Le-Ax Water District in Ohio. When Travis started as a district engineer in 2009, he equipped their maintenance crew with rugged handhelds and sent them out to mark locations. The crew struggled with the devices which left a negative impression of GIS within the district.
What really changed everyone’s attitudes toward GIS was the use smartphone and tablet devices. With iPads, they started creating a photo inventory of valves but knew they could do much more.
Travis said: “When Collector came out it was a no-brainer for me.”
They could now email staff in the field, retrieve information and take pictures. The iPads just had so much more capabilities than the traditional GPS handhelds. Once Collector had the ability to take maps offline, it became a matter of just getting an accurate external GPS receiver to work with the iPad.
They settled on the Eos Positioning System’s Arrow 100 and find it has been working well with the iPad and Collector. Plans are in place to buy another Arrow 100, that way their field crew will have one, and the two metre readers providing additional maintenance to the system will have one.
The maintenance crew mainly gather points on repairs and locates. If it’s a repair, they will log that with a GPS point and enter in the appropriate info in the fields (repair clamps, value, and more). They also use it to perform a locate (spot dig/call before you dig). Long term Travis wants to use this information for capital improvements project to their system.
Travis said: “Our system has been in the ground for about 45 years, is all PVC, and not many people cared about creating as-builds. So any additional info that we can gather to help us on locates is invaluable to us.”
With the meter readers time being used towards maintenance of the system, they gather points where they find something that wasn’t located previously. Travis would also like them to gather photos of each location and be able to fill out a standard form.
With Collector’s new capabilities, Travis can now set up a Location Provider that connects directly to the NMEA stream from the Eos receiver and a Correction Profile that transforms coordinates from the Ohio DOT RTK system into the projection of his web map so that every point they mark is accurate to within 8 cm.
Travis said, “If we can’t find a 15-inch meter pit lid from a point with 8 cm accuracy there’s something wrong with the human locator.”
Travis is using Collector connected to the Eos Arrow 100 receiver by Bluetooth connection and has both the iPad the Eos receiver and an external antenna mounted to a pole.