From the time of its establishment in 1882 as India’s first municipal corporation, numerous non-political groups, NGOs and organisations of citizens have worked closely with the civic body — Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) — in the fields of education, public health, creation of urban amenities, art and culture, heritage conservation, etc. MCGM is one of the largest local governments in the Asian continent.
That said, local governments, especially MCGM, have over the years typically managed their utility systems with hardcopy paper maps. These maps were being updated manually by the relevant civic departmental staff, or contractors. Now, MCGM is using a Mumbai Base Map digitised by the National Informatics Center (NIC) with ArcGIS systems to manage utilities.
MCGM departments realised that this map had to be updated from time to time using a real time system like GNSS. MCGM started researching ways to update its data and boost efficiency within its departments, and wanted a centralised system that could be accessed across all departments in the city.
The first department to plan to tackle these problems was the Sewerage Utility Management Centre (SUMC) team at MCGM. The existing methodology employed by the SUMC team at MCGM was outdated, and hence there was an urgent need for change to a more scientific process where data availability was faster and more accurate.
The following issues needed rectification:
1. Utility data collection using old methodology;
2. Isolated work flows of O&M activities;
3. History of maintenance not available to HoD readily;
4. Inadequate monitoring of SO works;
5. Lack of professional asset management;
6. Duplication data/info reporting.
History of Utility Mapping in MCGM
Before coming to the solution, it is essential to understand the old methodology which was being followed by SUMC at MCGM. Its salient characteristics were:
1. Typical paper mapping system using surveyor’s own experience and imagination;
2. Very old section maps;
3. Different versions with different Utility Attribute Number;
4. Marked on aerial photos and topographical sheets.
GIS Mapping Using Rovers
After planning the CORS locations, SUMC started the procedure for zeroing in on the high-end GNSS rovers to be used for collecting data. The steps it took to finalise the correct instrument and model were:
1. A study was done by MCGM engineers for the best handheld rovers in the industry;
2. Various manufactures or their local distributors did a pilot and demo for the handheld rovers for GIS mapping;
3. The same data was superimposed on the GIS base maps prepared by SUMC’s GIS Department;
4. After this extensive exercise, the panel decided to procure the best-suited CORS and hand-held rovers for the initial sewer mapping project.
In 2013, MCGM took the step of setting up a single reference system for all utility mapping within its jurisdiction. Thus, establishing of a CORS station was taken up. It was felt that an initial network of four stations was needed. The steps initiated were:
1. A study was done for pinpointing locations for a permanent CORS station in the MCGM area;
2. The first two locations selected for MCGM 24x7 CORS stations were Dadar and Jogeshwari;
3. The third location selected for a permanent reference station was at the IIT Campus in Powai;
4. The fourth station was to be used from the Aimil Ltd office located in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.
MCGM Approach Planned for Base Map preparation
SUMC took up the first step of creating correct base maps, as they rightly felt that this step was essential for laying the foundation for a sound sewerage management system. The steps outlined by them for the same were as follows:
1. ‘As-is’ study of present business process for data flow for MCGM utilities;
2. Business process reengineering for ongoing GIS data management;
3. Training and capacity building for GIS;
4. Procurement of skilled manpower services for GIS data management and administration;
5. Adoption of surveying techniques like GNSS survey for GIS data updation for utilities in MCGM;
6. Establishment of a CORS network within Mumbai at strategic locations;
7. Procurement of DGPS rovers.