AllyCAD Showcase

Sewer Data for Buffalo City Municipality

Buffalo City Municipality

"The draughtsmen of today have it all too easy. I started draughting when I was eighteen years old and back then everything was done by hand under the watchful eye of our relentless teachers. Each line had to be drawn with painful precision and because it was all done by hand it was very frustrating. That was the price you had to pay to become a draughtsman," says Gail Claydon, GIS Information Analyst at Buffalo City Municipality.

Much of this story has since changed when Gail was first introduced to AllyCAD some twenty years ago. "Today I don't flinch when I make changes to a drawing. The program handles as many changes as you want and it's really easy to use. At one stage I lectured AllyCAD at the Municipality and this forced me to examine the program in great depth, providing the best learning experience ever."

Gail has the ominous task of capturing all the sewer data for Buffalo City Municipality and then transferring it into GIS. This time consuming and laborious job requires complete focus and a high attention to detail. "There's so much information that needs to be captured and accuracy is very important. My job for the last ten years has been to input all the services information and it is quite a challenge to capture GIS data because it takes forever."

"Our bosses in the Engineering department are not too concerned with attribute data. They want to know the position of sewers and connections. That is why we currently view the capture of CAD information to be more important than the capture of attribute data and there is a constant clash between the two divisions," notes Gail.

Gail has managed to perfect the data capture procedure with great success and has developed a good working system. "Once all the sewer information has been captured, it is exported as Shape Files. Each entity is then captured as a separate layer in AllyCAD, in this way you have sewer pipes on one layer and manholes in another. I then export each entity, layer for layer. Once we've managed to capture the bulk of the services, the next step will be to convert it to GIS."

Although Gail has made significant progress, there is still a substantial volume of data that needs to be captured. "The electrical data has been completed but the stormwater information is still ongoing and the waterworks content has been converted into an automated system. My responsibilities currently lie with the sewer records."
  "A few years ago we hired surveyors to help us record ground lying entities. In this way we could record things like lampposts, fences, sewer manholes etc. We then downloaded the information and overlaid our data onto those co-ordinates. We completed the whole of East London this way," explains Gail as she flicks through reams of designs in hard copy.

The sewerage department has recently acquired a GPS licence so that the plans can be checked against the GPS for accuracy. "I am the co-ordinator for these checks and it needs to be monitored quite strictly. One of our investigations is the flow recording of night flows into sewers. This is mostly caused by the ingress of water into the sewer system due to poor plumbing, illegal discharges and faulty pipe work. As a result, you have to request water reading information from the treasury database and import the data into Civil Designer's MAP. Erven with higher flows are then hatched so that it is easily identifiable on the plan. Stormwater ingress into sewers is another project that is dealt with on an ongoing basis."

Besides the capture of sewer data, Gail is also the acting Technician and has other responsibilities which include overseeing building plans, scanning, general office management and training. "It is a lot of varied tasks and I have recently undertaken design work for the East London, Beacon Bay, Mdantsane and King Williams Town areas."

There is a lot of work that goes into data capturing at Buffalo City Municipality, but according to Gail, the end result will be well worth it in the end. "It is a painstaking task but when this is all over historical records will be available at any time on request. I believe it is important to have this kind of data because it is impossible to plan a future without looking at past information. I am extremely privileged to be part of this bigger picture," says this remarkable woman of worth.

Block I, The Terraces, Steenberg Office Park, 1 Silverwood Close, Tokai 7945.
Tel: +27 +21 701-1850 Fax: +27 +21 701-1822
Web: Email: