FlowWorks is making waves once again. This time by being featured in the February/March 2012 issue of Municipal Sewer & Water. Ted J. Rulseh writes in the Technology Test Drive column about FlowWorks in an article titled, “All Flowing Together”. The article describes how FlowWorks can save both time and money by cutting down the tedium and unnecessary steps involved in data monitoring.
On page 58, Ted summarizes his observations by saying “It was easy to see how the graphic, reporting and calculation capabilities in FlowWorks could save engineers from significant amounts of tedious work. The various reporting and calculation functions appeared to be intuitive, at least for an engineer or other professional experienced in sewer system operations and planning”. Tim Hicks, president of FlowWorks, is also quoted in the article, saying of FlowWorks’ abilities, “Turn weeks of spreadsheet work into a couple of hours of FlowWorks work”.
An online version of the Technology Test Drive article featuring FlowWorks can be found here!
FlowWorks graphic data editing and QA/QC tools make it possible to edit any and all data, on a single secure web platform, from anywhere. Designed by power users from the FlowWorks community, the editing tools combine the game-changing FACE (FlowWorks Advanced Calculation Engine) with an intuitive interface designed to make short work of data editing. Using the tools, analysts and data managers can select data directly on graphs and tables to delete or modify it including applying offsets, interpolation and much more. A complete history of all edits is stored in the permanent record so reviewing data across multiple hardware platforms has never been easier.
The new FlowWorks Graphic Editing QA/QC tools make it easy to:
Quickly select data channels to edit
Select data points directly by drawing boxes on time-series graphs or scatter-graphs, using date range selection tools, or through direct entry of dates and times
Raw data is always protected from editing – editing tools make it easy to save edited data to new records
Find and replace missing data
Apply corrections to ranges of data, or to individual data points
Make quick work of simple operations such as nulling invalid data, applying constants and linearly varying ramps, and data substitution.
Automatically create and edit QA/QC flags
View and make direct edits in the tabular data display
Add notes to document your edits, which can be displayed on the graphical interface
One-stop data editing – all part of the power of FlowWorks.
The programmers have been really busy the last couple of weeks, and we have some very cool new features to share with you!
Quicklinks to Graphing Templates
Let’s say you are navigating around on the map view page, and you click on site. Now when the context box opens, if there are saved graphing templates that go with that site you can now select them directly from a new dropdown box! This allows you to quickly navigate to a pre-saved graph using the map view.
Global Graphing Templates
So you have just made a nice new graphing template, and you want to share it with other users that are allowed to see the site(s) that the template shows. Now, when you save the graph template there is a checkbox that let’s you do that!
If you check the “Share this graph with other authorized users?” box, anyone else that can see this site will also have access to the graph template you’ve created.
Did you know that you can connect your existing SCADA system to FlowWorks? Why would you want to do this? The first reaction that many people have is “we already have a SCADA system, why would we want to use FlowWorks?” Because FlowWorks is not just for dataloggers, and it does a lot more than just store and plot data. Think of some of the things you could be doing with your SCADA data if you used FlowWorks to do it…
If you are in the municipal business, odds are that you have a SCADA system. You probably also have some dataloggers and maybe some sewer flow meters. Wouldn’t it be nice to put all of that data into one place? Do you want to easily plot flow data from your treatment plant SCADA with rainfall data collected by your dataloggers? How about adding some laboratory measurement results along side? If you use FlowWorks, you can do this.
Plus, if you want, the data flow can go BACKWARDS from FlowWorks to your SCADA! What if you use FlowWorks to collect rainfall from some rain gauge dataloggers, but your SCADA also collects rainfall data? The two can give data to each other, so you and your users see the complete dataset! Core staff who use SCADA see valuable information, using the interface that they are used to. At the same time, data from SCADA (which is often difficult to distribute to users outside of the SCADA system) is made available to a larger set of users. No more having to deal with different data formats because some of your data came from the SCADA, some came datalogger brand X and yet other info came from Brand Y.
Setup Personal Alarms
Use the FlowWorks alarming system to setup notifications for other purposes that aren’t mission critical SCADA alarms…maybe you need to know when flows at a treatment plant reach a certain point so you can take a sample…or it’s time to photograph potential flooding at a drainage location…or maybe you want to know the next time a chlorine analyzer shows a low value so that you can go and take a sample to verify it. These are all things that you can do but might not have SCADA alarms setup for…with FlowWorks you can create your OWN notifications without requiring your SCADA staff to setup these alarms for you.
Your OWN Notifications
Yes, that’s what I said – this is a big deal. In FlowWorks, each user can customize their alarms and notifications, independent of anyone else. This can help you do your job more efficiently, the way you want to do it, and without extra corporate overhead that is so often required.
Use the reporting functions to produce tables for your reports…total water consumption, water quality reporting, rainfall summaries and statistics, pump run times, chemical injection summaries…if your SCADA system has been measuring it there is something that FlowWorks can do to make it more useful to you. Why record it if you can’t use it for anything?
SCADA Data Security and FlowWorks
FlowWorks provides data viewing and analysis tools only. There are no control functions that would be in a typical SCADA setup. This means that when you are viewing data sent to FlowWorks from your SCADA system, it is a mirrored COPY of the data rather than the original data itself. In this way the finite control details of your system are protected from the user, leaving your system and network ultimately secure.
Do you have information that you want to distribute to a larger group of users, but due to security concerns over your SCADA system you can’t do it? If your SCADA system is connected to FlowWorks then you get the best of both worlds…your SCADA system stays locked behind your corporate security, but the data that you want to distribute to others is made available. FlowWorks CANNOT be used to alter data or access your SCADA system and controls in any way.
In the meantime, you and other FlowWorks users within your organization enjoy simple, unlimited access to the information you need, from anywhere with an internet connection. Even if the only thing you use your SCADA system for is to graph data, I guarantee you that FlowWorks will do a better job than your SCADA graphing engine.
I have been doing QA/QC on hydrometric data for many years, and as part of my job I ensure that data being collected is as accurate as possible. This extends to the instruments collecting the data – today I’m going to talk about troubleshooting a tipping bucket rain gauge, and some of the tools I use within FlowWorks to do so.
If you use a tipping bucket rain gauge you may notice that from time to time the funnel can become clogged with dirt, mud, leaves and other forms of debris. Clearly a plugged rain gauge will not collect accurate rainfall or precipitation data!
The key is to be able to quickly identify a plugged rain gauge so it can be cleaned out without delay. There are two ways to do this – accessing your online data (like you could if you are a subscriber to FlowWorks), or manually checking the unit in the field. I’m going to review both of these options in this article.
Identifying A Plugged Rain Gauge Through Data Analysis
Identifying a plugged rain gauge can be easy when you know what to look for and if you have access to right analysis tools. If you are lucky enough to be receiving live data, you will be able to identify a plugged rain gauge as often as you check the data. Historical data is ok too because you will at least be able to identify data sets where the rain gauge was plugged and make sure to disregard that data during further analysis.
A Completely Plugged Rain Gauge
You can tell a rain gauge is completely plugged when there is no rainfall data being recorded when you clearly know that is raining. So if you are looking outside your window and its pouring rain and your live rain gauge isn’t showing any rainfall data, it is probably safe to assume that it’s plugged. Or if you can compare the data to another rain gauge in the same area they should show similar rainfall.
In the figure below, the data from two rain gauges located in close proximity are graphed using the FlowWorks graphing tool. The two rain gauges should show similar rainfall but during January 2, 2010, the top rain gauge basically became completely plugged.
Partially Plugged Rain Gauge
Sometimes a rain gauge is only partially plugged. If this is what has occurred then you would see ‘weird’ rainfall patterns. That is because during rainfall the gauge will start to fill with water and then the water will start to slowly trickle trough which looks like constant low rainfall and it will tend to continue long after the rainfall has stopped.
In the figure below, the data from two rain gauges located in close proximity are graphed using the FlowWorks graphing tool. The two rain gauges should show similar rainfall but during the last week of August 2008 the bottom rain gauge became partially plugged. The constant slow filtering of the rainfall is quite obvious and this is a common indicator that the rain gauge is plugged.
Identifying A Plugged Rain Gauge Through Inspection
The other way to check if a rain gauge is plugged is by pulling it apart on a site visit. You will either see the funnel clearly plugged or the collection cylinder may be full of water and not draining. Remove the cylinder to drain the water and make sure the funnel is completely clear of debris. If the cylinder is not full of water but you still have suspicion that it is plugged, you can pour some water slowly into the cylinder and if the water does not drain or drains very slowly then there may be a partial plug.
Watch this video to see how curve fitting works in the graphing engine.
Curve Fitting Function
This section explains how to use the curve fitting function inside the ‘Graphing’ functions. Begin by bringing up a graph showing two different series that you want to graph against each other. In this case level and flow form an AV meter have been selected for the ‘Last 7 Days’.
Under ‘Plot Method’ change from a ‘Time Series’ to a ‘Scatter Plot’ and click on the ‘Plot Data’ button.
You are given a scatter plot showing level and flow in this case.
To add a curve to this graph click on ‘Curve Fit’ on the top right corner of the screen.
Select ‘New Curve”.
Then select which type of curve you would like to pick. You can chose between ‘Linear’, ‘Polynomial’, ‘Exponential’, ‘Logrithmic’, ‘Power’ and you can also plot ‘Manning’ curves. Start by doing a ‘Polynomial’.
Select the polynomial order. In this case we will use the third degree. Chose ‘save’ and the information is stored for this curve fit.
If you want to plot the curve, select it and click on ‘OK’.
You see the curve that best fits through the data using a third order polynomial shown on the graph. At the bottom of the graph you can see the equation for the polynomial and the calculated R2.
If you want to try a different kind of curve simply click on ‘Curve Fit’ and define a new curve.
For the next example we can plot a fourth degree polynomial and save it.
The information is now saved for the fourth degree polynomial. You can chose to turn it on as well.
Although you can’t see the difference from a far, zooming in will show that there is in fact two curves.
You can turn on and off curves by checking or un-checking them in the curve fit box.
If you want to add a manning curve, simply chose the ‘Manning’ function and enter in the pipe diameter, in this case 0.3 meters, the hydraulic slope which in this case is 0.04 and the manning coefficient you want to display.
Chose save and then chose to display this curve.
You will see the manning curve plotted through the data.
It is important to note that the manning curve is not a curve fit through the data. It is simply the manning curve based on the coefficients that were entered.
With any curve, clicking on the curves shows the values under selected point. This allows you to look up values by simply clicking on the curve at different locations and reading the value underneath the graph.
You can display a family of manning curves by simply going to ‘Curve Fit’ and selecting another new curve. So in this case we will produce another manning curve with a manning coefficient of 0.015.
Save it and then chose to display it. This will display the second curve so you can show a series of curves on the graph.
Under curve fit, each curve type is shown along with the date range of data the curve was fit to and the x and y values that were used in the fit. This date range does not change. It you want to create another curve using different data, you have to create it using the ‘New Curve’.
To delete a curve simply select it and click on ‘delete’.