Managing Assets Through GIS: Increased Efficiency, Increased Savings

April 17, 2018 | Asset Management, Blog
Written By: Justin Reynolds

In recent years, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has facilitated an industry-wide revolution for utility systems. The exponential advancement of this technology allows utility systems to provide more efficient asset management through better decision making. This saves money for the system and assists in providing better customer service.

As GIS technology advances, options for starting and maintaining a GIS program are becoming more affordable. Small utility systems now have several options for developing a customized GIS program that fulfills their operational and budgetary requirements.

Initiating a GIS program begins with data collection in the field.

Here is what you need:

  • Tablet/smartphone/traditional handheld
  • Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver for higher accuracy
  • Field software

There are many different options for this equipment. The primary difference in cost depends on your system’s desired level of accuracy. While handhelds are more traditional for data collection, there are apps that have been developed that now allow for high-accuracy data collection with a smartphone or tablet connected to an external GPS receiver.

Once the data is collected, it must be stored digitally. This can be done with office software and/or a cloud-based subscription.


Having a GIS program that includes all your system’s assets can provide multiple benefits such as the following:

  • Locate lines efficiently in the case of an emergency
  • Make immediate changes to digital data
  • Spend less time and fewer resources on locating assets
  • Use data with modeling software to analyze system
  • Share digital notices with customers
  • Customers can submit work orders via apps on mobile devices
  • Offers an interactive model of the system
  • Keep track of preventative maintenance measures

GIS is evolving into a primary resource for efficient asset management. This is more important than ever as we look towards developing more sustainable water systems. Also, keep in mind that there are many different options for GIS equipment available now. To determine what will work best for your system, contact a local RCAP GIS Specialist.


This article was submitted by Great Lakes RCAP. Learn more about this region here.