The City of Cluj, as well as other parts of Romania, face serious challenges due to the fact that in the last decade more than 50,000 apartments have disconnected from the system and switched to micro-heating units. That’s why Mihai Iepure from the Faculty of Geography at the University of Cluj-Napoca wanted to modernize the district heating network by implementing GIS Cloud technology.
The District Heating Maintenance and Upgrade, in charge of the supply of heating and hot water in the City of Cluj, was in need of improvements. To preserve the district heating infrastructure, it was important to make the system more efficient by improving its maintenance and monitoring. The main idea was to assist the citizens of Cluj-Napoca in managing their own district heating by helping them with an interactive overview of heating infrastructure.
It was essential to improve the overall efficiency of the district heating system, which includes upgrading the network, modernization of boilers, pipelines and insulation, in order to diminish the heat loss and improve the overall efficiency.
“If we were to look at the GIS implementation in local administration in Cluj-Napoca, the second largest city in Romania, there is not much to see. The institutions are not very eager to invest money in something they do not believe in. They see only the financial part of the investment, but not the results and benefits this new technology brings. The same thing goes with the Autonomous Administration for District Heating (AADH). At the moment, AADH does not use any GIS, even though large amounts of money have been invested in the development, modernization and keeping up-to-date the public heating network in Cluj-Napoca. Having this in mind, I thought why not create an application for everybody to use to ease somehow the “relationship” between the AADH, as the provider of service, and the population”
Mihai Iepure, University of Cluj-Napoca
The solution for heat network management
The best solution for this type of challenge is an interactive web-based map. So, it was essential to gather information about the district heating power plants, like the exact position (address, WGS84 and Stereo 70 coordinates), water temperatures, contact information in case of emergency, pipe types, isolation material used for the pipes and other types of data provided by the AADH.
The next step was to acquire the graphical database from a local cartography and GIS company, MicroMapper SRL. The dataset was then edited in a local ArcGIS environment and uploaded to the GIS Cloud platform. By using the GIS Cloud Publisher for ArcMap extension, the upload was fast, and most importantly, it didn’t alter the feature symbology. The map was further improved with the Map Editor.
You can see the results of the project here.
The project resulted in an interactive web map which was easy to access and navigate by any of the Cluj-Napocas residents. Now they could easily find the data they needed by simply searching their building by street address in the application, zoom in and get the info they needed. For example, if they had a failure of hot water or heating system, they could find out which is the station they are connected to and know who to call.
The project has a potential to be further utilized for district heating monitoring and maintenance. It could be used for an overview of infrastructure and technical parameters required for different types of operations – for example, the number of blocks or flats assigned to a power plant, technical info such as working temperatures, pressures, fuel type, modernization date and also contact info in case of emergency.
This project highlighted the benefits of implementation of cloud-based GIS technology, which are, in words of Mihai Iepure:
- facilitating access to information of public interest for citizens or access to project’s data to clients
- cloud-based platforms support having a large number of simultaneous users in applications
- system implementation costs are relatively low
- the introduction, maintenance and updating of data is centralized and in real-time