Using InfoNet to Build InfoWorks ICM, CS and WS Models

Uses Of InfoNet and InfoWorks, and Data Transfer Between the Two

Use Of InfoNet

InfoNet is used for the long term planning of networks. It has a multi-user database with inbuilt data models for water, wastewater and storm water infrastructure. Its primary purpose is to maintain the most up-to-date information on the aforementioned network types, to this end it distinguishes between physical asset information and survey data.

At the very core of InfoNet, an important distinction is made between the physical objects or assets and surveys of these assets. InfoNet distinguishes between Survey Data and Network Object/Asset Data. This is an important point.

  • Asset data is the definition of the physical object.
  • Survey data is a record of the fact that an examination was undertaken of an asset and this was made at a specific time and date. A survey has spatial information due to the fact that the examination was made at a specific location.

The relationship between Assets and Surveys is one to many as there can be many surveys of the one Asset (Manhole, Pipe or Ancillary) but only the one Asset itself. InfoNet has the ability to store the data from the many surveys undertaken of an asset. Each survey is stored as a separate record and is associated with an asset, which is comprised of the most up to date survey data. Whenever any new survey data is entered into InfoNet the asset data is then updated with this latest survey data.

As InfoNet is the central data store for all assets and surveys in a system and contains the latest, most up-to-date information about the system’s current status, then information should thus flow from InfoNet into the modelling software, InfoWorks, to create and update hydraulic models.

Use Of InfoWorks ICM (Integrated Catchment Modelling)

InfoWorks ICM is a state-of-the-art, comprehensive, easy-to-use and flexible system for fully integrated catchment/basin modelling and the management of those models. It provides the ability to model the complete natural and engineered above and below ground drainage system including sewers, surface water, rivers and floodplains.

The system provides a master database for storing model and hydraulic data, with all the tools necessary to create, edit and manage that data. When the model has been created, InfoWorks ICM allows you to simulate the behavior of the catchment under a range of conditions.

In particular, InfoWorks ICM allows you to perform the following tasks:

  • Manage and maintain network models over a long time period rather than just for a particular modelling exercise.
  • Share model data among a workgroup of users with audit trails and security mechanisms designed with the modelling task in mind.
  • Import model data from other systems.
  • View a geographical representation of the network on screen, with the network displayed over the top of a detailed local map, in 2D and 3D, with comprehensive facilities to customise the network appearance.
  • Enter rainfall and other time-series or event data – both recorded and using an extensive library of synthetic rainfall models from around the world.
  • Perform hydraulic simulations to model the effects of a particular linked series of events.
  • Analyse the results using a wide variety of graphical, textual and statistical outputs.
  • InfoWorks ICM allows you to create and maintain many different models, so that both high-level and detailed reports can be generated.

Use Of InfoWorks CS (Collection Systems)

Through the use of a hydraulic simulation engine, InfoWorks CS can model networks of stormwater or wastewater drainage systems (or a combined stormwater and wastewater system). A network contains all the information needed to describe the drainage system. Each network is modelled as a collection of subcatchment areas that drain to nodes (manholes or grade breaks), which are joined by links (conduits, pumps etc.).

InfoWorks CS provides water utilities with a uniquely effective tool with which to undertake hydrological modeling of the complete urban water cycle. Essential for identifying and justifying cost effective infrastructure improvements, InfoWorks CS also provides a practical method for operational control, including real time control, of a wastewater network. Other applications include urban flooding and pollution prediction and the modelling of water quality and sediment transport throughout the network.

Some example applications of it’s use are, to undertake drainage and sewerage master planning or studies, assess the impact of climate change on urban drainage system, flooding and pollution prediction and infiltration and inflow assessments.

Use Of InfoWorks WS (Water Supply)

InfoWorks WS can model water distribution systems through the use of its pressurised pipe hydraulic simulation engine. The distribution system itself contains the information required to describe the physical network. Each network is again modelled as a collection of nodes joined by links.

InfoWorks WS can be used to resolve a variety of needs from the efficient and sustainable supply of high quality water to commercial, industrial and domestic users, at an acceptable pressure and with the minimum of loss through leakage which is a key objective for all water supply and distribution utilities.

This challenge is made all the more complex through a combination of extreme weather conditions, stringent regulatory environments, well-publicised security concerns and an increasingly aware consumer audience.

InfoWorks WS offers an effective way to achieve an accurate view of the performance of a network and meet various objectives. Water quality, the effective management of water supply during drought conditions, the identification of weaknesses in the network infrastructure and many other issues can all be monitored and remedies identified through the development and ongoing maintenance of a high quality all mains model.

Object Models in InfoNet and InfoWorks

The object model within InfoNet and InfoWorks refers to the data held within the software and how this data and data grouping represent different parts of physical reality or assets described and modelled by the software.

What are ‘assets’ in a collection and distribution system?

Assets are the physical objects found in a system. The representation of a network in InfoNet and InfoWorks contains the information needed to define and describe the pipes, manholes and ancillary/regulator structures that make up a wastewater, combined and stormwater collection systems, or water distribution system.

InfoNet and InfoWorks use two main types of graphical object to represent the various assets found in a network. These are:

  • Points to represent Nodes
  • Lines to represent Pipes and Ancillaries/Regulators

Collection Systems

A node represents a physical structure in the system; these structures include:

  • A manhole or other point at which water enters the collection system.
  • A storage structure such as a stormwater tank.
  • An outfall, where water leaves the system.

Nodes can also be added for other purposes: for instance, to represent the junction of two pipes.

Pipe objects are used to represent (possibly several) pipe segments joining nodes. All pipe objects must terminate at an upstream node and a downstream node in InfoWorks or can be left with no node at either or both ends in InfoNet, but a pipe cannot directly join another pipe.

An ancillary control represents a flow control structure such as a weir, flume, vortex or pump. Ancillary controls are assumed to have zero length but are defined as a link between two nodes.

The object model between InfoNet for collection systems and InfoWorks CS is similar. This is not the case for distribution systems. The following will try to highlight some of the difference between the two.

Distribution Systems

In a distribution system in InfoNet a node represents:

  • A pipe junction, as such these are fittings such a T, Y or X pieces.
  • A valve, meter, borehole, surface source, etc.

Whilst in InfoWorks WS they simply represent fittings.

Pipe objects are used to represent pipes in InfoNet whilst in InfoWorks WS these would represent the valves, meters etc. Unlike the collection system the distribution object models in InfoNet and InfoWorks WS differ.

Data Transfer between InfoNet and InfoWorks

It was previously commented that as InfoNet being the central data store for the most up-to-date asset and survey information, then data should flow from InfoNet into the modelling package InfoWorks whether it be to create the original model as well as keeping the model up to date.

The next section will outline the technical aspects of how the above is achieved and will define a methodology or work process, which if followed, will ease the model building and actualisation process.

InfoWorks ICM and InfoNet Relationship

InfoWorks ICM and InfoNet share the same database and Interface Client. There is inbuilt functionality when running InfoWorks ICM to view InfoNet Asset Groups as well as collection networks and other InfoNet files in the database. It is also possible to drag an InfoNet collection network on an ICM model network. This is achieved by dragging and dropping.

InfoNet Collection Network displayed on an InfoWorks ICM Model Network GeoPlan

InfoNet Collection Network displayed on an InfoWorks ICM Model Network GeoPlan

Using the InfoWorks ICM main menu > Network > Import > Update from Collection Network… will create a model. A few intermediate steps are required.

Import from Collection Network Dialog Box – Update Tab

Import from Collection Network Dialog Box – Update Tab

This stage is critical as it is the point where a choice is made whether the model is to remain synchronised with the asset register, InfoNet. On the Update Tab, it is possible to choose whether to import flags from the InfoNet network, thus the corresponding InfoWorks field inherits the flags applied to each field in InfoNet, or to set a user default flag on all of the imported data. Note that as default the imported data is given the #A flag. Flags are discussed in greater detail later on.

Import From Collection Network  Dialog Box – Mappings Tab

Import From Collection Network Dialog Box – Mappings Tab

Due to the user definable values for many of the fields in InfoNet a mapping from InfoNet into InfoWorks ICM has to be defined during importing and updating. This is because certain fields in InfoWorks recognise and accept only certain values. Thus the Mappings Tab, image above, the user has to set how various fields from InfoNet translate into valid InfoWorks values. It is also possible to choose how to deal with unrecognised values.

Once this is completed then InfoWorks will import the data from the InfoNet snapshot file and/or update the current InfoWorks network. InfoWorks finally displays a log of the update process.

InfoNet Snapshot Files

InfoWorks has been designed such that it is able to import the contents of InfoNet Collection and Distribution Networks via a proprietary file, the InfoNet Snapshot file, which have the extension .ISFC (Collection Network) and .ISFD (Distribution Network).

An export from a committed open collection or distribution network in InfoNet is first required to create the Snapshot File. This is achieved from within the InfoNet user interface by selecting main menu Network > Export > Snapshot file.

Export Of InfoNet Snapshot File

Export Of InfoNet Snapshot File

The file can be saved to a specific location using the ‘Export…’ button on the ‘Export Snapshot’ dialog box. The user is given various choices on what to export, be that a selection that is current or specific objects. It is perhaps best to export all objects be they assets, surveys, repairs etc. The import into the modelling software will import only the relevant objects. For model building it isn’t necessary to export image, video or other files, as these will be ignored by the modelling software.

Export Snapshot File Dialog Box

Export Snapshot File Dialog Box

Importing a Snapshot File into InfoWorks

Within the InfoWorks user interface it is necessary to have a network in a ‘checked out state’ such that it can receive the changes that will be made by importing a snapshot file.

Import Snapshot File into InfoWorks

Import Snapshot File into InfoWorks

Importing the snapshot file is achieved by selecting the main menu > Network > Import From InfoNet Snapshot. The user then navigates for the InfoNet Snapshot file at which point the Infonet Import Dialog box is displayed.

Import Snapshot File

Import Snapshot File

This allows for the selective import of objects, which is achieved by using the tick boxes, note that only the relevant objects for model building are displayed, i.e. the InfoNet assets and not the surveys, repairs etc. Clicking the ‘Import…’ button the reveals a subsequent ‘InfoNet Import’ dialog box.

InfoNet Import Dialog Box - Update Tab

InfoNet Import Dialog Box – Update Tab

This stage is critical as it is the point where a choice is made whether the model is to remain synchronised with the asset register, InfoNet. On the Update Tab, it is possible to choose whether to import flags from the InfoNet network, thus the corresponding InfoWorks field inherits the flags applied to each field in InfoNet, or to set a user default flag on all of the imported data. Note that as default the imported data is given the #A flag. Flags are discussed in greater detail later on.

InfoNet Import Dialog Box - Mappings Tab

InfoNet Import Dialog Box – Mappings Tab

Due to the user definable values for many of the fields in InfoNet a mapping from InfoNet into InfoWorks has to be defined during importing and updating. This is because certain fields in InfoWorks recognise and accept only certain values. Thus the Mappings Tab, image above, the user has to set how various fields from InfoNet translate into valid InfoWorks values. It is also possible to choose how to deal with unrecognised values.

Once this is completed then InfoWorks will import the data from the InfoNet snapshot file and/or update the current InfoWorks network. InfoWorks finally displays a log of the update process.

Use of Flags when Importing and Updating Model Data

Each item of data in both InfoNet and InfoWorks has a flag attached to it to allow you to determine the source or reliability of the data. By default, both systems have a limited number of flags to indicate that default values are being used, data has been imported and so on. It is possible to increase the number of flags to give a more comprehensive view of the data.

User Defined Flags are a tool to annotate the source and integrity of data in your model. Some types of InfoNet item, such as networks, support data flags for many of their data fields.

InfoNet and InfoWorks include several standard data flags. Please refer to the Help, Built In Flags for more details.

It is possible to add as many additional flags as required, possibly indicating any information about the data. For example, flag can be used for annotation of:

  • Source – asset database, survey
  • Accuracy – measured, estimated, length of time since surveyed

Recommended Usage Of Flags During Importing/Updating Data

It was noted earlier that the default flag when importing from InfoNet is #A. However the user has options to either import the InfoNet flags or set a user-defined flag, in turn bypassing the default method.

It is recommended that flags used in InfoNet not be imported into InfoWorks but rather it is best to allow that imported or modified data inherit the #A flag. This allows the user to control over which fields should be updated in future by changing the flag within InfoWorks. This means that any data in InfoWorks that has the #A flag will be update from subsequent InfoNet updates. The user can protect the data by changing away from the #A flag, this data will therefore not change when subsequently updating from InfoNet.

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    About Idris Nujjoo

    Idris is the Product Sector Leader for InfoNet and InfoMaster and has been working for Innovyze (and its earlier incarnations) since 2001 and specifically working on InfoNet and Asset Management for the past decade.
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