Recording Digital Data

CCTV inspection software has become a very powerful asset management tool for cities to use in maintaining their wastewater infrastructure. In many cases, it has also become troublesome to maintain that data. Since its inception, municipal closed circuit television inspection methods initially started out as a simple, handwritten log with still pictures. It then progressed through VCRs and DVDs and printed reports, taking up considerable and escalating physical space. This antiquated technology compromised video quality, making it difficult to accurately assess the conditions of a municipality’s pipelines. Now, with new computer technology, many options are available for the storage and dissemination of that information. Cities and towns across the world are currently using cutting-edge software to assess and plan the future work needed on their existing infrastructure and monitor their progress in real time.

However, not all cities have adapted to the newer software applications available for working with their own CCTV data in the office. Many are still are using older platforms to import data from the truck and storing them to network drives. With computer hard drives becoming significantly less expensive, users have begun storing every run they had ever completed to removable hard drives, also known as arrays or server drives, with many terabytes of storage. When they placed large amounts of CCTV data onto their network drives, it often created an unusable and disorganized jumble of information. We found when the database sizes began to grow, and multiple users had access to the data, some experienced major indexing and stability issues.

POSM Office (Server Edition), an asset management application, was designed for cities and large contractors in mind. It enables them to more effectively direct and disperse digital CCTV data collected in a large, database-driven, network environment. It provides a practical and concise approach to helping cities build their own sewer assessment program. This program helps cities increase efficiency with pipeline assessment productivity, as well as security and communication, across multiple levels.

All CCTV data is stored on a central network database and allows users to transmit and share files on the system at accelerated speeds. POSM Office (Server Edition) handles, in a secure fashion, immense data sets for cases where thousands of CCTV inspections can be archived to one place. It enables multiple users to easily access reports simultaneously while protecting against unauthorized access. The server software also has the ability to grant multiple users access to the POSM HTML CCTV inspection reports without purchasing or using additional software. This results in a significant savings because duplicate, redundant software applications will not have to be purchased for each computer in order to view the HTML inspection reports.

The HTML reports, which can be viewed on any computer’s Web browser, includes: a title page that explains specific project information; an observation (fault) page that shows pictures of the specific observations; a plot page that shows an overview of the pipeline with labeled observations with a severity indexing table (see Figure 1); a list of captured video that shows the entire inspection run in a digital video format; and a defect header and codes page that shows a NASSCO approved PACP and MACP header title page in addition to scoring information, along with various other reports.

Users no longer have to search for VHS tapes or DVDs, they simply search in POSM or click on an asset in ESRI ArcMap to view HTML reports (see Figure 2) or edit past inspections. Built-in indexing and post-inspection editing tools are proficient, reliable and easy to use for updating information once it’s on the server. In the office, the authorized user may easily view recorded digital video captured in the field, update reports from post-inspection editing, modify reports, search databases and import and export data from and to the inspection vehicle. While viewing the digital recorded video in the office (see Figure 3), the user can jump anywhere in the video or watch it up to 16 times faster than regular playback. The office user also has the ability to fix any mislabeled observations or to add new observations that were missed by the field operator. The new reports will reflect any changes made by the office user, making the job much easier and more accurate in justifying problematic pipeline areas that need to be addressed first.

Assessing pipeline conditions with POSM Office (Server Edition) is enhanced with ESRI ArcMap GIS integration. We provide a set of comprehensive pipeline risk assessment evaluation tools, as well as bifacial GIS importing/exporting to and from the inspection truck. POSM HTML inspection reports are linked to ESRI ArcMap and the process is simple. Once the inspection is completed, information from the truck synchronizes with the office database. Once synchronized, the process automatically updates ESRI ArcMap with the latest inspection while still archiving historical inspections. This is a vital tool for cities to demonstrate the progress of repairs their existing infrastructure.

POSM Office (Server Edition) also supports integration with other city management software programs: City Works, Hansen, GBA MS, RJN, and others. Furthermore, it does not matter what type of field data you have, POSM Office (Server Edition) is compatible with various types of industry standard data. Users will have the ability to store and edit multiple, PACP-certified, CCTV inspection data generated from other brands of software, besides POSM, to one place.

The POSM Office (Server Edition) was designed for cities to collaborate with existing software programs and to better systematize, communicate and interpret their CCTV data collected in a database network setting. The program is a SQL Server based application, and is the premier tool for managing vast amounts of data collected. The wastewater industry is quickly adapting to the digital era when administrating communication between multiple levels. It is astounding how cities are truly implementing this new technology, like POSM Office (Server Edition), to accomplish their tasks more effectively, thoroughly and efficiently than ever.

Noland Katter works in business development for POSM Software Inc.

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