The AzersuCIS Project: GIS for Infrastructure Management in Azerbaijan - Part 1

By Dr. Deniz Aydin, Samir Ganili

About Azerbaijan, Azersu OJSC and the AzersuCIS(GIS) Project

The Republic of Azerbaijan is the largest country in the Caucasus region located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe. It is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west and Iran to the south. The gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates observed in Azerbaijan during last few years made the country one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

Azersu OJSC is an organization in charge of state policy and strategy in the field of water supply, drinking water supply and sanitation services to consumers in a centralized manner. The Company makes necessary arrangements for the extraction of water from sources followed by treatment, transportation and sales. It also takes necessary actions for wastewater treatment. The Company engages in design, construction, operation and maintenance of intake structures, reservoirs, pumping stations, water pipelines and sewer collectors. Azersu OJSC supplies drinking water to 1.06 million subscribers across the country.

Since 2011, an important stage of restructuring the infrastructure system started to be carried out. Taking into consideration the entry of big oil revenues in the country, Azersu was ready to effectively transfer their financial resources to the strategic goals. As such, an infrastructure development strategy was initiated for the period 2011–2015. Far-reaching works of the infrastructure sector were conducted in the country. The main challenges were absence of enough experienced engineering staff and firms in design, operation and construction. In addition, associated with the broadening geographic distribution of projects and employees were an increasing number of non-Azersu entities. These included contractors, partners, suppliers and customers there were participating on integrated project teams. The result was a growing concern about security, confidentiality and data integrity.

Before water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure renovation and reconstruction works were started, large projects such as the Master Plan, SCADA and GIS development projects were launched.

At present, projects are being implemented for reconstruction of water supply and sewerage systems in urban and rural areas of the Republic of Azerbaijan. After completion of the projects, Azersu needed to gather and store infrastructure data in a GIS system for better operation and maintenance of the system. For this purpose, the AzersuCIS project was launched. The GIS project was also planned as a main collaboration platform for the Master Plan, SCADA and the other IT systems.

Figure 1

The environmental and community impact

Urban infrastructure has a great impact on human health, living organisms and the environment. Environmental damage based on pollution causes negative effects on social and economic condition of the city and country. The deficiencies of infrastructure in the cities cause pollution increases in cities, a decrease in health conditions, contamination of seas and other water resources. Due to the negative environmental impact of pollution, life quality standards in cities decline, disorder in nature are observed, and tourism income is impacted dramatically.
Most of the infrastructure and environmentally related institutions and municipalities are still working on to create its geographical information systems. These studies are done completely according to their individual needs, however coordination among studies and connection properties with other GIS systems are usually disregarded. Maps created by municipalities are used as the base for all engineering tasks and investments related to the terrain, in general. On the other hand, this information cannot be integrated with other terrain involved knowledge, so positional information systems cannot be composed. In consideration of different sourced data which are done by different authorities, and repetitions caused by the lack of coordination during data output studies trigger a great source loss.
The lack of geographical information effects city life adversely during new infrastructure construction or maintenance and repair of present plants. A weak GIS induces cost increases, and might be a reason for mortality and property loss.
Azersu carefully analyzed the drag points in the city, its infrastructure and environment information systems.” According to its “create once - use many” approach, Azersu aimed to “prevent the loss of time and production repetitions sometimes found in urban infrastructure management.”
In the light of this approach, the AzersuCIS project was launched. This project focused on an integrated management model including its experience piloted in whole Azerbaijan cities, infrastructure and environmental management fields. As a result of these R&D studies, integrated geographical information system named “Urban, Infrastructure and Environment - Integrated Management Model” was accomplished for city, infrastructure and environmental management.
This model is an open structured location-based relational spatial database which has user friendly data update interfaces and data production properties. It also has a powerful decision support system which can make advanced geographical
analysis and evaluations in a fast and visual way.
The main strategy of the AzersuCIS project was to supply all users with related engineering data sets for their planning and operational work. All Azersu staff are able to get direct online access to infrastructure information such as maps (vector/raster) and related engineering documents. This eliminates the need for additional correspondence, retrieving archived documents or any other conventional means. Instead, GeoSP@TIAList provides direct access to all information for the existing and planned infrastructure and other related engineering data sets.
In addition, the most advantageous side of the AzersuCIS might be that authorized users can edit and update all infrastructure data online without any correspondences or approvals among the departments. After any operational work on site, the system is updated instantly by users from different branches of Azersu. This update can be seen online by other users and web clients.
Additionally, once data input into AzersuCIS is accomplished, users can use these data in modeling or analyzing, reporting, in data warehouse projects, web publishing etc. without data conversion. This means the system gives you better decision support and it creates customer satisfaction.

Figure 2

Project goals and how they were achieved
The primary goal of the project was to be able to manage the entire infrastructure of Azerbaijan effectively and securely.  The main goals of the AzersuCIS project are given below:

Develop a Powerful Data Production and Update System
Practical and fast data input and update interfaces are vital and have a successful history for GIS systems. The AzersuCIS project was developed with this in mind and includes a data production and update system, which is powerful, flexible, modular, easy to use and easily managed.
Cost Optimization
AzersuCIS will give users the opportunity to take inventories related to the present infrastructure and superstructure assets, to estimate used systems, and to control cost performances feasibly. Having easy access to infrastructure and superstructure information will reduce time lost and labor costs as well as improper planning and investments. The expectation is that it will afford better cost optimization.
The AzersuCIS project is transparent and constantly in use, which will make the system open to all users with specified authorities rather than limiting users in a confined environment. This reform will make information available for all institutions and authorities using a common platform by converting limited users to a more open environment.
Service Quality Increment
Fast access to data will increase efficiency and performance and maintain a high quality of service to users by allowing access to information to those who are subscribers and in direct contact with other users.
The AzersuCIS Project was implemented in nine stages given below:

Figure 3 (click for larger image)

Figure 4


Published Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Written by Dr. Deniz Aydin, Samir Ganili