The city of Fort Worth, Texas, features a storm water system covering 335 sq miles. With that much ground to cover, maintaining the system was proving to be difficult for city staff. This was especially true in older parts of the city, where sewer conditions often were poor at best. Fort Worth officials wanted some way to keep track of the entire system—open and enclosed—to ensure all parts of the community had adequate storm water protection.
The city turned to technology for the answer, selecting GIS to map out the storm water network. Cameras are sent down into the pipes, sending images to closed-circuit televisions so designers can define each fixture by shape, material and diameter. This technique has proven especially useful in areas where there are no blueprints or other information on what lies underground. The collected information will be digitally cataloged, along with surface photos and links to the plans for each asset when available.
“The end product will be a robust, model-ready data set that can help drive decisions, improve maintenance response and help protect people and property from dangerous storm water runoff,” said Elizabeth Young, project manager for the city.
Collecting the information by itself, however, is not enough, according to Young. Fort Worth will have to ensure data quality throughout the process, which began in 2008 and is ongoing. Part of that assurance will come from random data samples, subject to three layers of careful review. The GIS technology will help improve network connectivity, and the modeling software will help with accuracy as well.