Customers may recall last year, the Board of Public Utilities contracted with Midland GIS Solutions to create an aerial image map of the primary electric system. Midland GIS Solutions, based out of Maryville, Missouri, is the largest full-service GIS firm in the Midwest. Using GPS, they were able to collect data to map the locations of all high voltage devices, such as power lines and poles. Midland GIS Solutions worked to update existing rural maps to display locations of electric meters.  This project has improved BPU’s electric system operations.

On January 4th, 2016 the BPU once again, began working with Midland GIS , however this time, it was to get the GPS coordinates the underground valves and hydrants in the water system.   Superintendent of Water Distribution, Allen Elsasser explained that doing this will make the underground water valves and hydrants in BPU’s water system easier to locate if, for some reason, their crews would need to access them for maintenance or repair.

Ryan Crowley with Midland GIS Solutions has been in McPherson since January 4th collecting data around town using his real-time kinematic (RTK), which he noted is one of the most advanced GPS systems available and can achieve performances in the range of an inch.   Customers can expect to see Ryan or someone from BPU around town and in some cases their yard locating underground valves and hydrants. During what Ryan calls his “initial sweep”, he marks an area in pink paint once he locates a valve or hydrant to alert BPU crews that his RTK picked up one of the assets in that vicinity. If Midland can not identify the location because the valves are not visible or buried, BPU crews are able to assist them with the aid of metal detectors to get their exact location and mark that spot with blue paint.  Midland will then go back over the water system for a “clean up sweep” and get the exact coordinates of that location for the records.

Upon completion of this project, BPU will evaluate the final result before deciding whether to map residential service and water meters.

For questions regarding this project, please contact the BPU Warehouse at (620) 245-2560.