Kansas Rural Water Association > TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE > Mapping
Monday, December 11, 2023

Maps. Who needs them?

Why don't we have them? Where can we get new maps made? How much will it cost? Our original maps are not correct? Why will our engineer not give us the maps we paid them to make?

These are the typical questions that cities and rural water districts have been asking for decades. Now newer technology holds promise of giving local utilities better options. These will be options that local systems can choose and make sure they -- the systems -- maintain control of their maps.

In November 2001, KRWA was awarded a demonstration contract through the Kansas Corporation Commission in conjunction with the Kansas Water Office, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, to provide resources to help local water systems gain access to methods to improve their utility mapping and map products. These new methods would employ Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.

KRWA has worked to develop this new program since early 2002. A variety of hardware and software options have been tested. The principal guideline utilized to regulate the process of developing the mapping technology and providing the technology to local systems was that it must be affordable and user friendly.

The priorities for the KRWA GPS mapping program are:

  • to provide improved notice of utilities to the Kansas One-Call Center

  • to provide more accurate map products of water and/or wastewater utilities

  • to provide methods that systems can learn to utilize these technologies

  • to provide methods and options to utilities allowing access to update utility maps as necessary

  • to allow the city or RWD to have complete control of their mapping products.

In other words, if you want to change engineers, you are no longer married to the folks who "have your maps" and data. KRWA will provide your data to you on a CD that you can hand to anyone. They don't need to spend time recreating the product. KRWA also maintains files in several locations for safekeeping.

Jesse Knight came down today and finished up the changes/corrections/additions in my map at RWD No. 2. He dropped me off at my house a little after 5:00 p.m., then went over to Brett's house to pour over the map for Cherokee County RWD 1, Crestline. He'll be with us tomorrow doing the same thing for No. 1 as he did for No. 2, today.

I can't say enough good about your mapping service. Instead of a having to deal with a bunch of ripped and torn, faded out pieces of paper and a few stained restaurant napkins, I now have all that information on one map in a single usable form. I have two copies of the map so I can haul one around in the truck to work with, and have a clean one for reference at the well house.

Jesse is very knowledgeable regarding GPS mapping and has a remarkable memory. As many districts as he has done, he not only remembered the problem areas in my district, he remembered exactly where the meters were located without the aid of the map. I'm impressed with him, but not only me, my wife appreciates him also. He's a fine young man and a good representative for KRWA. When you see how many middle and old aged people are in the water business today, it's a breath of fresh air to see someone as young and energetic as Jesse came on the scene. You certainly have the ability to seek out and hire the best personnel available.

Thank you.

JW Stephenson Operator/Manager
Cherokee County Rural Water District 2
Contract Operator, Cherokee RWD 1

On behalf of Greenwood RWD 1, I would like to extend my gratitude for the mapping assistance that Pete Koenig and KRWA have provided.

When the district was forced to join One Call we looked for a way to send them a map that would fulfill our requirements and reduce the number of locates our district would receive. Pete was so helpful in informing us that he could help set up a boundary file that "buffers" the waterlines in our district. We conducted a Crossloop session in which we were able to view his computer over an Internet connection and instruct him about where to draw the new buffer. This was an awesome technology experience! We also sent him maps with our lines drawn on them in the general area and Pete was able to define our boundary even more. We have refined the boundary file and Pete has sent it to Kansas One Call for use in their system. I am looking forward to the results. We couldn't have done this without Pete's help in this situation. Thank you for the wonderful service you provided us with our mapping needs.

Christina Harrison
Office Manager
Greenwood RWD 1