FlowWorks FACE – Creating A Phantom Site with Data from More Than One Site

So you have two pipes carrying storm water and they feed into a third pipe. You have instruments recording the flow in the third pipe and one of the feed pipes (we’ll say pipe 1). For the moment we will ignore gains and losses, as these are outside the arena of this demonstration.

Diagram A - Phantom Site

Thus we will proceed on the assumption that the “sum” of the two pipes feeding the third is the resulting flow from the two source pipes. We have instruments watching the “third” pipe and one of the two “source” pipes (Pipe 1). Given all of the assumptions we’ve stated, the difference between the sum (flow in Pipe 3) and that coming in via Pipe 1, has to be flow of Pipe 2. Trivial until someone actually wants a report printed, or even worse, a graph that includes the sum and both of the sources. Now you are going to have to fire up a spreadsheet, import some numbers, and figure out how to plot it all.

Or you can quickly take advantage of FlowWorks Advanced Calculation Engine’s (FACE) ability to work with multiple sites.

Log into FlowWorks. Click (or hover over) the management button in the FlowWorks menu bar and click on “FACE: Configure Sites” in the list of options that will appear. Click on the dropdown arrow in the select site box and scroll to one of the two sites at which you have instruments… we’ll say the “Pipe 3” Site.

Click on the “Create New Channel” command. We’ll name this channel something that indicates the storm facility, we’ll call it “Pipe 2” and give it your standard flow units. Leave the channel type “Calculated” and leave the check mark in the “Visible” box because we want to see and plot the virtual data with which we will “fill” this channel. Click “Save” and we’re done here.

FlowWorks will take us back to the site’s channel screen and we will click the drop down arrow in the select calculated channel box and scroll until we can select the calculated channel we’ve named “Pipe 2”. Then click “View Calculation.”

Since no calculation has been created, we are prompted to create one. Click “Create”.

Let’s call this calculation the name of the phantom site we’re creating – “Pipe 2” and in the description we’ll put “Computing the flow contributed to Pipe 3 by Pipe 2.” Leave “Formula” in the calculation type and ignore the start and end date options because we want this channel to be filled with data points for the entire data stream we have available.

So now we’re at the calculation source selections…

Source 1 is going to be the site we’re calling “Pipe 3”, click the dropdown arrow in the site box and scroll to and click on that site. Next, click on the dropdown arrow in the channel box and select the flow channel for that site. We could leave the variable name as “A”, but let’s think of this as the flow from Pipe 1 (A) plus the flow from Pipe 2 (B) equals the SUM (in Pipe 3), so click on the dropdown arrow in the variable box and then click on the “S”.

You will then click the “Add” button as we need a second source.

In Source 2, we are going to use site 1 (Pipe 1), so click on the dropdown arrow in the site box and click on Site 1 (Pipe 1). In the Channel box, click on the dropdown arrow and then click on the flow channel for that site. In the variable name box, select “B”.

If S = A + B, then B (the flow from the phantom site) will be equal to S – A.

We are creating the calculation that will produce the data points to fill the flow channel for this phantom site, and we do this by going to the equation box and entering in… S – A.

Click “Save”.

You can now go to graphing and select Site 1’s flow channel. Then select site 3’s phantom channel (Pipe 2) and site 3’s flow channel. Plot those for any time period you desire (you might have to play around a bit with the scaling) and you will see that you have two sources and one sum.

Diagram B - Phantom Site

While trivial (as we warned you), this demonstrates how you can use FACE with measurements from more than one site. You can hand off this report or graph without the need to explain yet again how come you have measurements from Pipe 1 and Pipe 3 but not Pipe 2. We won’t tell them how you did it if you don’t.

FACE Delta Time Function – Helping Find Missing Data Points

Integrity of your data is serious. You might be watching the level in a pump-well, where missing data may be almost as important as receiving an actual alarm indicator. Or you may be preparing a regulatory compliance report where missing data points can require an explanation.

The alarm and notification functions in FlowWorks can keep you informed on the pump-well, both the level itself and if for any reason that device fails to submit its data on time. [See www.flowworks.com/flowworks-the-manual#Alarms] But missing data for an annual report can cause a bit of a challenge.

Let’s say that you gather a data point every five minutes… in a year that is 105,120 data points. If for some reason your site did not capture data for a two hour period, you would be missing about 120 data points. That is only 1/10th of a percent of all the data. Manually locating such an outage in an annual stream of data points can be a major headache. It is even worse if your outage happened to be in three 30-minute losses. We all know that the quickest way the detractors have of torpedoing our reports is to point out gaps in our data steam for which we do not have an explanation readily available.

Well, FACE (FlowWorks Advanced Calculation Engine) can quickly find and alert you to all of the gaps in your data stream, providing you the opportunity to prepare the explanation (maintenance shutdown, etc.), with documentation, to quiet those detractors.

The FlowWorks FACE Function, Delta Time, can flag every missing data point in a data stream over whatever time period you choose. Simply build a virtual calculated channel for your data stream and fill that channel using the Delta Time Function [www.flowworks.com/flowworks-the-manual/face-delta-time-function]. Every gap in your data stream will generate a pulse in a plot of that channel.

FACE Delta Time Function

Here two gaps in the data for a rain gauge are quickly identifiable. While the first gap might be less significant, the second (a mere 125 minutes) is probably something that needs to be documented in your compliance report. A footnote in your report that the gauge failed and was replaced will save the embarrassment of having a regulator, with more time than you have, find the gap and send your report back with a question.

The FACE Function takes less than five minutes to configure and once configured, it is available for reuse. You just have to specify what time period to report and you won’t have to spend hours searching through the raw data.


FlowWorks FACE – Instrument Reporting In Wrong Units

Wrong Units? FlowWorks FACE Can Fix That

You may find that an instrument in the field is sending Imperial units when you need it in Metric, or vice versa. You could send a tech out to change the units the instrument is reporting in, if the instrument is capable of sending data in the desired measurements. But then you will have a stream of data that suddenly changes from one measurement standard to another.

Today we’ll look at creating a calculated channel and applying a conversion, to the correct units, without requiring a trip to the field. So if, for example, we have an instrument sending flow in gallons per minute, but we want the users to see the flow in liters per second…

1) We would go to management > FACE: Site Configuration

6.30 Face Post 8












2) Select our site and click on “Add New Channel”

6.30 FACE Post 1










3) Name the channel – something along the lines of “Flow l/s”, select the units of liters per second and save the new channel as a calculated channel.

6.30 FACE Post 2












4) Click on “View Calculated Channel”

6.30 FACE Post 3









5) There isn’t a calculation yet, so we click “Create Calculation”

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6) Fill in the name of the calculation, a little description like “converting gpm to lps”, leave the type as “Formula”, and leave the start/stop dates blank.

6.30 FACE Post 5

7) Make sure that our site name and the flow (in gpm) channel name are displayed in the source line. Then in the equation box, put A * 0.0630901964 [Note: Be sure to look up this conversion constant, as we can’t tell you what it is.]

6.30 Face Post 7

8) Click “Save”

Now when you report or graph the Flow l/s channel, your data will be in liters per second.

If you have users who might be confused by the presence of two “Flow” channels, you can go back to the FACE site configuration and select the site, then edit the original flow channel and remove the check mark from the visible box. Now your users will see only the liters per second data.

You may graph, report, alarm, etc., on this new channel, just as if that data were coming directly out of the instrument. No trip to the field, no data stream suddenly changing units, just one nice stream of data, all in the desired units.

If you have more than one raw channel of data coming in from the field, you would simply repeat these steps to correct the units of measurement.

Introduction to FlowWorks Advanced Calculation Engine

Many FlowWorks users have not ventured into the FlowWorks Advanced Calculation Engine (FACE), to discover its vast capabilities. The functions available in FACE can provide easy access to your data in ways that can drastically simplify your life.

Do you have an older logger that provides velocity and depth, but not flow? With velocity and depth, if you know the diameter of the pipe, FACE can calculate the flow.

Are your loggers limited to providing measurements in US units but you need metric, or is the data coming to you in metric units but you need US units? FACE can do the conversions for you, across your whole stream of data points… something that sending a tech out to adjust the specified logger will not fix.

Do you need to make an adjustment in a measurement, such as depth, because of an instrument’s installation but would then have a disjointed stream of data – before adjustment and after adjustment? FACE can either “adjust” the instrument for you, or it can provide a seamless stream of data points before and after adjusting the instrument.

Do you have weeks’, months’, or years’ worth of data and you need to quickly identify if there are any holes in the stream

of data points? FACE can do this for you without causing you to go cross-eyed searching through all of the data.

Do you spend hours with a spreadsheet, computing the rolling sum or rolling average of your data values, just to do it again next week? With FACE you can quickly set up a new channel that instantly reports or graphs these values. Once you save the channel, you will be able to run it however often you want with just a few simple clicks of the mouse.

Would providing better labeling for your data reduce the questions you answer, while providing your reports to your audience of users?

Resolving these and many more “problems” are just a few clicks away using the FACE functions available within FlowWorks.

Over the next several weeks we will go into more detail about how FACE can simplify your life by solving these, and other problems with its ability to manipulate your data streams.

It is as simple as creating a virtual (calculated) channel to display the results of one or more FACE functions. Once the channel is created, you will then create the calculation to fill that virtual channel with data points from data available in one or more of your sites.

Be sure to come back next week, as we will start a series of posts providing examples on how to utilize FACE to operate on your data. We’ll start with the simple “I have US units, but I need metric.” This same process can be used to “adjust” data due to the instrument reporting too much, or too little, depth.

As a FlowWorks user, these tools are part of the FlowWorks toolkit, and the time and hassle they can save will provide you with a significant return on your investment.

Private Climate Data Webinar

Join us on Tuesday, June 30th for our Webinar – Adding Private Climate Data Sites to Expand Your Network

Webinar Invite Calendar

Join us for this FREE webinar on how you can get the most out of FlowWorks and broaden your current network of climate data.

FlowWorks is currently running a special promotional offer to allow you to add private data sites to your current network for minimal cost. The webinar will provide simple steps to show you how easy it is to access and select local climate data for making better decisions.

During this short webinar, we will also go over key benefits to adding private data sites to your current network.

For those who register and attend the webinar, your organization will be eligible to receive a discount for bringing on 5 or more sites by July 31st, 2015.


Insight Into User Roles & Security Groups

User Roles and Security Groups:

A user’s permissions within FlowWorks are determined by their role(s), and the security group(s) to which they are assigned.

By configuring these roles and groups, the desired mix of access and capabilities can be provided to allow the new user to perform their assigned functions.

These assignments can be implemented to prevent certain users from accessing tools and features that they do not need.

User roles define the capabilities at their disposal – accessing only the demo sites, using the tools on your network of sites that their security group(s) permits access, or creating other new users.

Security groups address the breadth of your network and facilities, such as permitting access or restrictions to sites, channels, and capabilities. For example, adding or editing calculated channels, employing tools like the Rainfall Mass Balance or Inflow and Infiltration.

With the combination of these two attributes, a group administrator can closely control the access and abilities of the users within their network.

User Roles: FlowWorks provides three basic user roles

Demo: Demo users are limited to read only access which enables a limited set of the reporting and analysis tools. Although their capabilities are limited, it gives the user a chance to interact with the program first hand.

User: The role of a user is the default access level. They have full access to the reporting and analysis tools, and creating and configuring calculated channels. However, this access may be limited if the group administrator opts to restrict access and functions by the implementation of security groups.

Note: Unless otherwise restricted, users may see and modify calculated channels, but they are unable to modify raw channels.

Group Admin: A group administrator is typically the primary FlowWorks network contact and is responsible for one or more FlowWorks sites. They have the ability to manage and create user accounts, and can also control access to their sites through the administration tool. Additionally, they have the ability to configure their sites and channels, and through the use of security groups, they have the ability to limit user’s access to their sites and available tools.

Those with the power to create new users cannot create a user with more ability than they have themselves. Nor can they assign a new user to any security group(s) that they do not belong to. They may, however, create users with specified restrictions.

User roles DO NOT inherit the other roles. Hence the role of a group administrator does not automatically include the role of a user. These are separate functions and must be assigned to each necessary user. To be useful, those assigned as group administrators MUST also be given the additional role of a User.

Security Groups:

Once a user has been created, security groups may be used to further subdivide responsibility and access within a client’s domain. Security groups may be created to restrict which sites and to which channels, within those sites, the users have access to. Security groups may also restrict the list of tools the users has access to, such as FACE (the FlowWorks Advanced Calculation Engine), Rainfall Mass Balance, etc.

A user MUST be assigned to at least the parent group. This group describes the widest network of sites, channels, and tools to which the user might be permitted access. While security groups give the group administrator the power to create a very granular control over their network, it is possible to build a security structure that becomes cumbersome to manage and maintain. Hence the group administrator should invest a little time in mapping the necessity to permit or restrict access to sites, channels, and tools prior to creating security groups and assigning users thereto.