Predicting water demand by collaborating between InfoWater Pro + Civil 3D, via the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS

Youssef Al Fahham Youssef Al Fahham June 13, 2024

4 min read

Predicting demand for water isn’t as simple as counting new construction units. It can become more difficult when two different professions do the forecasting, but the ArcGIS Online connection between InfoWater Pro and Civil 3D allows you to share the same data and approach. To show you how it works, we teamed up with Symetri Solutions Specialist Alex Alm, who helped us create a workflow video that demonstrates how Autodesk customers collaborate to predict water demand using the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS.

Drinking water is one the most essential elements to human health and economic prosperity. The constant availability of clean drinking water at the tap is a huge feat that began in the early days of the Assyrian aqueducts thousands of years ago. As societies advanced and populations grew, engineers have been constantly faced with the question: Can our present water system sustain future demands?

The role of technology in predicting water demand

Although increased water demand can be correlated to the construction of new developments, analyzing increased water demand and designing new developments are tasks carried out by two distinct professions, who usually leverage two distinct software solutions. For many of our customers, the site designer typically lays out the new development footprint and associated drinking water piping in Civil 3D, and then the hydraulic modeler analyzes the proposed piping in the context of the existing water system inside InfoWater Pro. It is an intertwined workflow that requires a steady stream of communication and data exchange.

The programmatic data exchange between InfoWater Pro and Civil 3D

Data exchange or data interoperability refers to the ability to transfer and share data between various software applications. This can be achieved manually, where users export and import data files, or more programmatically using APIs or connectors to transfer data between different applications. Fortunately, in the case of InfoWater Pro and Civil 3D, there is a programmatic data exchange workflow that can be achieved using the Connector for ArcGIS.

Alex and Youssef show you how it works.

How the workflow works

It all starts with having the existing InfoWater Pro network saved as a web layer to a common ArcGIS Online portal.

Next, the site designer can connect Civil 3D to ArcGIS Online using the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS. This will give the site designer access to the existing InfoWater Pro network and its associated pipe properties in Civil 3D to aid in the design process. The site designer can then lay out their proposed piping and associated properties to the existing system in Civil 3D, before saving that back to the shared ArcGIS Online layer.

From there, the hydraulic modeler can update their InfoWater Pro model using the GIS Gateway. This brings in the site designer’s proposed piping from Civil 3D into the hydraulic modeler’s existing model in InfoWater Pro for analysis. In this situation, as a hydraulic modeler, you should check for connectivity and node elevations in the proposed piping before running an analysis in InfoWater Pro. It is worth highlighting that InfoWater Pro has comprehensive features such as Fill Pipe Connectivity and Elevation Extractor to automate the link connectivity and node elevation assignment for the proposed piping.

At this point, our hydraulic modeler is just a click or two away from being able to analyze the level of service availability in the proposed development, and the corresponding flow and pressure impacts on the existing water distribution network.

For transparency, it’s a good idea for the hydraulic modeler to leverage InfoWater Pro’s GIS Gateway to push all corresponding hydraulic results back to Civil 3D using the common ArcGIS Online layer, thereby providing all hydraulic results from the analysis to the site designer in Civil 3D.

Are you familiar with the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS?

We think that having the hydraulic model be native to the ArcGIS environment is one of the 4 features that set InfoWater Pro apart as a GIS-based water distribution modeling platform. For Civil 3D, the Autodesk Connector for ArcGIS provides the means to connect Civil 3D to ArcGIS Online:

Do you use a workflow like this? If you try this workflow and have any ideas on how it could be enhanced, consider adding your ideas to our Autodesk Water feedback portal. We collect all the ideas our customer share with us, which informs our public Water Solutions Roadmap.

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