Finding the Gold: Sewer Software Delivers Valuable Insights

Posted by Allison Symonds on Jun 16, 2021

Every day, wastewater pros around the world leverage equipment and software to keep communities clean and healthy. Key to this task is collecting and analyzing data to plan maintenance, improve performance and achieve compliance. Video from crawlers and other visual assessment methods, in addition to laser profiling and sonar data, can provide a complete picture of underground infrastructure.

But understanding and applying this data requires more than just capable hardware. Sewer inspection software is necessary to organize footage and scans, identify operational pipes and flag those in need of repair, and display trends on a digital map. With GIS and other mapping tools, system operators can build color-coded visualizations and create heat maps. They can review data at the pipe level, zoom in on a specific area, or construct a thermocluster of the entire city to prioritize repairs. The result? Maximum efficiency.

Wastewater System Inspection Data Heat MapEnabling Cloud-based Analysis and Digital Workflows

Web-based sewer inspection software offers up the same capabilities, while making it even faster and easier to collect, distribute and analyze data. While desktop-based inspection software may depend on disks, emails, thumb drives or CD-ROM transfer data, cloud-based inspection software syncs information wirelessly. It allows users to automatically and instantly share data, maps and videos online while maintaining control over who has access to inspection data and protecting it with built-in redundancy—all of which facilitate efficient digital workflows. Within the cloud, users can assign inspections and prepopulate header data, validate data entry, speed classification for any observation with intuitive lookup tools, and transfer completed inspections automatically for secure, team-wide access in real time.

Collecting and Analyzing Data

Sewer Data Managed with WinCan

The data collection and analysis process associated with sewer inspections is a lot like mining for gold, says Mike Russin, who brings nearly two decades of industry experience to his role as general manager at WinCan, the industry’s leading sewer inspection software.

“The equipment—that’s the gold mining equipment, and you want to get gold out of the ground,” Russin says. “The gold is the data.”

We sat down with Russin recently to talk about where he sees the industry going—and the challenges municipalities and utility contractors face today. WinCan was the first company in the U.S. to provide sewer inspection capabilities online, and it continues to add new features based on industry trends and feedback from customers (it has an installed base of more than 8,500) and partners (which include Cityworks, CentralSquare, Categraph, Esri, IJ Robotics, and more).

“Our customers’ biggest pain point right now is the amount of data they have,” Russin says. “They are literally choking on data. Sewer inspection software lets us take all this data, get it into the cloud, then apply technology—specifically AI—to it to help them analyze it more quickly.

“And the quicker we can do all of that, the faster municipalities can make decisions using the data. Based on the severity of the defects we see in clusters, we can say, ‘here are the hot spots.’ If you have a million dollars for repairs, that’s not a lot of money—you have to go find your home runs right away.”

Integrating with Asset Management and GIS Tools

Choosing inspection software that offers flexibility and the ability to integrate with asset management and GIS tools enables you to work more efficiently. WinCan can integrate with any asset management system or GIS tool; out-of-the-box integrations include Cityworks, Lucity, Categraph, Innovyze, and Esri’s ArcGIS and newer ArcPro, among others.

The beauty of an integration, Russin says, is that it streamlines work and ensures data integrity. It also simplifies the job of the operator—rather than inputting data or confirming manhole numbers, operators can focus on what they’re good at … running an inspection.

Ready to see what WinCan can do for your wastewater system? Schedule a free demo with one of our experts.

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Topics: All Topics Workflow WinCan